Marise Payne’s inaugural speech to the Senate parliament – poetry!

Marise Payne’s inaugural speech to the Senate – poetry!

“Madam President, there are few good things written about politicians but many challenges issued to us. The great Australian writer Patrick White issued this challenge in his poem Nine Thoughts from Sydney, an appropriate selection perhaps for a senator from New South Wales. He wrote:

Where is the politician who will flower like the leptospermum citrata,
Who will sound like the surf out of the Antarctic.
Who has in his hands the knots of coolibah,
And in his soul the tears of migrants landing from Piraeus?”

Marise Payne is Australia’s first female Minister for Defence.

But keep in mind Auden’s warning: “The poetic imagination is not at all a desirable quality in a statesman. In a war or revolution, a poet may do very well as a guerrilla fighter or a spy, but it is unlikely that he will make a good regular soldier, or, in peacetime, a conscientious member of a parliamentary committee.” ‘The Poet & the City’, 1948 in The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays


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