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Arthur Calwell part one

In their own words

Recorded 1967

Arthur Calwell part one
Audio: 2 minutes

I’ve always been a – rather a volatile character in Australian politics. I blame all that on to my grandmothers. When the Welsh blood cooled down, the Irish blood warmed up and so I was never out of strife. But I have no regrets. I fought the good fight according to my own views, and I took some pretty heavy defeats. I have no regrets about those defeats, and I have no bitterness to anybody.

I don’t hate people, I hate ideologies, I hate evil but then it’s a tempered hate. I hate not with deep resentment the things that I don’t believe in but I hate them in a regretful way, that people act so foolishly as to try and implement ideas which I’m sure they would not be for the benefit of humanity.

I could never see any sense in atheistic communism. I don’t like communism because of its dictatorship principle, because of its authoritarianism, because of its denial of liberty of speech and liberty of thought, of the liberty of the press. But all that aside I can’t see why any economic system has to be tied to any religion or to a system of irreligion. I believe in the separation of church and state, I do not believe in any state-financed church, I do not believe in any state religion. I believe everybody has the right to be a believer or a non-believer, nobody has the right to restrict the rights or liberties of other people unless those other people are in their own way attempting to restrict the rights or privileges of others. This is a very ticklish question. When does liberty descend into licence, or when do people try to abuse liberty for themselves by wanting a licence to interfere with the liberty of others?

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Arthur Calwell is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Arthur Calwell

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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