Cate Blanchett was invited to speak at Gough Whitlam’s memorial service at Sydney Town Hall earlier today. If the thinking was that she’d be a harmless, crowd-pleasing celebrity guest, old m8 Cate didn’t get the memo; she came out swinging but good.
Right off the bat, she highlighted free education and healthcare as two of the things she wouldn’t have succeeded without, which most of the crowd loved and made for some pretty fantastic shots of various government ministers looking deeply unimpressed.
“When I heard that Gough Whitlam had died, I was filled with an inordinate sadness, a great sorrow.
“The loss I felt came down to something very deep and very simple: I am the beneficiary of free tertiary education.
“When I went to university, I could explore different courses and engage with the student union in extra-curricular activities. It was through that that I discovered acting.
“I am the beneficiary of good, free healthcare that meant that the little I earned after tax and rent could go towards seeing shows, bands, and living inside my generation’s expression.
“I am the product of an Australia that engages with the globe, and engages honestly with its history and its Indigenous peoples.
“I am a small part of Australia’s coming of age, and so many of those initiatives were enacted when I was three.
Tony Abbott’s whole row just kind of sat awkwardly during that bit while everyone else clapped. It was great.
I doubt Sir Tony listened, or could even appreciate the wisdom Cate was speaking.
Those who are so needy for there to be class division, like too many middle class people ‘need’ – won’t care.
There are counties in Europe who have free tertiary education – and their economies are flourishing. Far more wise in their wisdom and social/emotionalintelligence/political development.