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SPEECH St Patrick’s Day Lunch, Queensland Cricketers’ Club Friday 14 March 2014 On the eve of the Tasmanian state election, Clive Palmer delivers a keynote address at a St Patrick’s Day lunch at the Queensland Cricketers’ Club and recounts tales of his Irish ancestry. It was a dark day in February 1847 when in the British parliament it was declared that fifteen thousand people a day were dying of starvation in Ireland. Queen Victoria was so concerned that she donated the princely sum of five pounds for Irish relief. So the Irish left Ireland for Australia and the United States. They left behind hearts and fields of a country determined to be free. St Patrick’s Day is as old in Australia as it is in Ireland. It’s a day to remember ancient wisdom, courage, survival against all odds and a new day for new nations in Australia and the United States. Patrick was born around 365AD in Scotland, probably in Kilpatrick. His parents were Romans living in Britain in charge of the colonies. Patrick preached for forty years and converted all of Ireland. It was Irish monks who saved Christendom during the dark ages. It was the Irish who preserved Christianity when it was most challenged. St Patrick’s Day is fondly remembered by many, Sean Morley recalls. “I come from an Irish family. St Patrick’s Day was our big holiday. The night before we’d hang up our stockings and in the morning they’d be full of beer.” I would like to talk to you today about some descendants of the Irish who settled in Australia and made Australia the country it is today. In Queensland TJ Ryan – premier of Queensland, deputy leader of the federal Labor Party and the nation’s treasurer – won an overwhelming election for the Labor Party that set Labor to rule Queensland for over 30 years. His public service is remembered and honoured at the University of Queensland. Paddy Hannah walked hundreds of miles from Perth to Kalgoorlie in the hot sun when there were no roads to discover Australia’s biggest gold field. Do you think he’d have walked that far in the hot sun if there’d been a mining tax? Four horsemen rode out of the heart of the range, Four horsemen with aspects forbidding and strange, They were booted and spurred, they were armed to the teeth, And they frowned as they looked at the valley beneath, As forward they rode through the rocks and the fern, Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne - Irish freedom fighters. The greatest Australian Irishman I was told was also a Queenslander. God bless the boys of 1916, God bless the boys. 2007 gave us an Irish Australian as prime minister; Kevin Rudd. Kevin remembers that famous statement about Irishmen; “In order to find his equal an Irishman has to talk to the Almighty.” So on this St Patrick’s Day let me urge you one final time to recall the heritage of the Irish. 240 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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