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sing your life

26 April, 2012
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Searching through the Hansard archives for various keywords this morning eventually reminded me of an oft-mentioned contribution that hadn’t featured here previously, which took place at the end of 2000 (we haven’t regularly reached that far back in our archival posts): the valedictory speech of Ernie Bridge, former member for Kimberley.

The speech is notable not only for its form – it concludes in a song (always favoured by this site) – but also in its use of accompaniment, as Bridge played guitar while singing. Of course, Hansard cannot show the full spectacle (or the Parliament’s response), but an episode of Message Stick about Mr. Bridge, broadcast on the ABC in July last year, does provide some footage (the valedictory speech-specific section starts at 18’58).


Still from Message Stick.

MR BRIDGE (Kimberley) [10.47 am]: I have been a member of Parliament for almost 21 years. During that time, things have not improved all that much. Last night it was planned that I would speak at about 11.30 am. Consequently, I planned for my family to be here for that time. I find that I am now speaking without their being present. However, I will not hold up the proceedings of the Parliament.

[…]

My hope, as I conclude my time in Parliament, is that those of you who remain, and those who enter Parliament at the next election, will remember to keep Australia as it is, and keep Australia for Australians. I will conclude with a song –

I’m a dinky-di Australian, and I sing an Aussie song
I sing about this country, the land where I belong
I don’t sing that Yankee stuff, with its southern drawl
I sing good old Australian, and let that music roll

Just take the song about this pub and the spider on the seat
The helicopter ringer and many similar beats
We don’t sing that Yankee stuff, with its southern drawl
We sing good old Australian, and let that music roll

I’m a dinky-di Australian, and I sing an Aussie song
I sing about this country, the land where I belong
I don’t sing that Yankee stuff, with its southern drawl
We sing good old Australian, and let that music roll

I went up to Tamworth, and at the judges’ panel sat
And the few that sang Australian style, to you I lift my hat
At least you tried to be yourself, of that you must be proud
The rest were half-baked rockers, and their music far too loud

I’m a dinky-di Australian, and I sing an Aussie song
I sing about this country, the land where I belong
I don’t sing that Yankee stuff, with its southern drawl
I sing good old Australian, and let that music roll
Yeh, I sing good old Australian, and let that music roll

MR GRILL (Eyre) [11.04 am]: Life is so unfair. Why do I have to follow the member for Kimberley?

Subject: Members of Parliament, Valedictory Speeches [Legislative Assembly – Motion]

Date: 23 November 2000

Hansard reference: pp. 3832-3834 [online (pdf)]

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