Flat White

Farewell speeches

26 November 2017

8:18 AM

26 November 2017

8:18 AM

The Zimbabweans spoke and that old tyrant Mugabe was forced to listen. His resignation speech stated that his decision to resign was voluntary, arising from his concern for the welfare of Zimbabweans and his desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power. (Cue broad grins on faces of the Zim military high command).

It says a lot about national character about how leaders being forced out choose to act.

Julius Caesar was assassinated by, according to historians, 60 conspirators but his last reproach, “Et tu, Brute?” was for his old comrade in arms.

Caesar’s one-time lover, Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, facing capture by Octavian Caesar, ended her life with an asp (though Egyptologists now believe it was more likely an Indian cobra). No one now knows what Cleopatra said in her last moments, but Shakespeare gave her some of his most stirring lines, “Give me my robe, put on my crown, I have immortal longings in me…” etc.

Fast forward. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister for eleven and a half years, fell short in a challenge from Michael Heseltine (who subsequently disappeared into oblivion).

Thankfully, the Iron Lady was neither assassinated nor forced to an unpleasant end but instead appointed to the House of Lords. She was dignified and measured as she stepped down, no doubt regretting she had listened to policy advice on the unpopular poll tax.

Here at home, we should be grateful to Peter Fitzsimons, for the reporting a speech by his old rugby coach, Tony Abbott and former PM. Abbott called it his ‘Toast to the Backs’ Reported Fitzsimons, ‘After reminiscing on his own rugby days, mostly with Sydney Uni Second Grade, front row, [Abbott] finished thus: “Then, I went to play a different game, I rose through the ranks and eventually became the team captain. Two years ago I was put on the bench, and I am so keen to get back on the field, that I would even play as a back. So would you all you forwards please be upstanding, I give you, the backs!” Fitzsimons said the speech brought down the house.

Now with all the furore over dual citizenship – the latest to fall being the NXT’s Skye Kakoschke-Moore resignation speeches are well and truly being written and rehearsed.

As a journalist once asked, speaking of British Labour prime minister James Callaghan, “Has he got a resignation in him?”

With Malcolm Turnbull, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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