Graham Freudenberg Donation

He is one Australia's greatest speechwriters and most trusted political advisors, and now for the first time, Graham Freudenberg has donated items from his personal archive to the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection, which is housed at the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney.


As speechwriter and confidante to Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Neville Wran and Bob Carr among others, Graham Freudenberg has been one of Australia's most erudite and influential political insiders, shaping and articulating political thought for generations.


He witnessed the rise and fall of the Whitlam Government at close quarters, and has been an active player in some of the most significant speeches of the modern political era - including the historic 'It's Time' speech of 1972, which helped sweep Gough Whitlam and the ALP to victory.


Among the boxes of historical material Mr Freudenberg has generously donated to the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection are:


* An original proposal for the 1972 'It's Time' campaign, from the agency Hansen-Rubensohn-McCann-Erickson. There were only ten copies of the proposal in existence at the time, and as far as the Whitlam Institute is aware, this is the only publicly-available copy in Australia.


* A letter dated 22 February 1974 from Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to then NSW Premier Sir Robert Askin seeking consent to construct a federally-funded metropolitan railway line that "will radiate from Parramatta to Hoxton Park, Castle Hill and through Carlingford to Epping." The proposal offers "the best contemporary signalling practices and carriage sets", to "be constructed and operated without cost to your Government."


* A draft speech with handwritten notes by Gough Whitlam, which was delivered after the double dissolution election of May 1974.


* A 1985 handwritten Christmas card to Mr Freudenberg from Gough and Margaret, despatched while the Whitlam's were based in Paris following Gough Whitlam's appointment as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO in 1983.


Many more documents will gradually be digitised and made available to access through the online Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection


Watch a video package of Eric Sidoti, Director of the Whitlam Institute talking about the donation on-air with Fran Kelly on Radio National Breakfast:




On April 13, 2011 the Whitlam Institute together with Gleebooks hosted an 'In Conversation' event, in which Mr Freudenberg discussed his experiences with Rodney Cavalier, former Minister for Education in the Wran and Unsworth Governments. This was a rare opportunity to hear Graham Freudenberg speak about his experience as a speechwriter during some of the most exciting and dramatic moments in Australian political history, and to also hear about the items he has donated to the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney.


Background information Graham Freudenberg was born in Brisbane in 1934. A journalist in Sydney and Melbourne, he was appointed press secretary to the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Arthur Calwell, in 1961. In that capacity, he developed his best-known role as speechwriter to a succession of Labor leaders, including Gough Whitlam (1967-77); New South Wales premiers Neville Wran (1976-86), Barrie Unsworth (1986-88) and Bob Carr (1991-2003); and Prime Minister Bob Hawke (1983-1991). His principal publications are 'A Certain Grandeur' (1977), 'A Figure of Speech: A Political Memoir' (2005) and his latest, 'Churchill and Australia' (2008).

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