Legendary Lange Speech Published For First Time
October 15, 2004
Legendary Lange Speech Published For The First Time
David Lange's legendary speech in the 1985 Oxford Union debate has been published in full on the Internet for the first time.
The publication marks the launch of Great New Zealand Argument, a new ‘historical blog’ on the award-winning New Zealand weblog site Public Address.
On March 1, 1985 the New Zealand Prime Minister led a team that successfully argued the proposition that "All nuclear weapons are morally indefensible".
The opposing team was led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority and an influential confidant of the Reagan White House.
"Like most New Zealanders, I remember the televised debate in 1985 - and the mixture of pride and astonishment at the fact that our new Prime Minister was arguing New Zealand's corner on the international stage," says Public Address founder Russell Brown.
"One of the most remarkable features of the debate was the standing ovation Lange received from both sides of the house as he approached the dispatch box. That appears to have been almost unprecedented in the union's history.
"It seemed an ideal way to launch Great New Zealand Argument, which will bring notable speeches, essays, editorials and pamphlets from our past into a contemporary context by placing them alongside the daily comment on Public Address."
Brown says the first step was securing the consent of Mr Lange for the publication.
"We then acquired his speech notes from the Parliamentary library, but Lange being the speaker that he was, the real magic was in the speech as he delivered it. You can hardly publish that speech without including his 'I can smell the uranium on your breath' ad-lib."
Great New Zealand Argument has been made possible by Karajoz Coffee Company, which is sponsoring the new historical blog.
“Traditionally, coffee houses are a space where opinion and comment are freely given. The Great New Zealand Argument blog on Public Address follows in this tradition.
“In fact the term Karajoz dates from the ancient coffee houses of the Middle East when Karajoz puppets parodied the political figures of the time,” says Karajoz Coffee Company managing director Derek Townsend.
Public Address also gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Infofind and Radio New Zealand Sound Archive in publishing the transcript.
Great New Zealand Argument will be published fortnightly at publicaddress.net/gnza.
Public Address was named Best Weblog Site in the 2003 NetGuide Web Awards.