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Clive Palmer, former Prime Minster Kevin Rudd and former Queensland Premiers Anna Bligh and Campbell Newmann at the Irish club for St Patricks Day Clive Palmer addresses the Irish Club on St Patrick’s Day Yesterday I returned from Tasmania, a land where many Irish descendants still live. A place where 170 years ago my ancestor was transported for starting a revolution against the British during the potato famine. When he was arrested at the age of 24 he was sentenced to 15 years transportation to Tasmania. His fiancé, who had never been in trouble, went to a store in Dublin and stole some material and waited outside the store to be arrested. When she was brought before the magistrate and asked why she had taken it she stated she wanted to follow her fiancé to Tasmania. She had a sympathetic judge who gave her what she wanted and was sentenced to 15 years transportation to Tasmania. His ship had left and when he arrived in Hobart he was sent to Port Arthur for the next 10 years. It wasn’t until he was released some 10 years that he met his fiancé from Ireland on the streets of Hobart. They married and had eight children; I’m happy they did. Today in Tasmania 20,000 families earn less than $23,000 a year. Some families have intergenerational unemployment. Mum and dad have never worked and now their children can’t find work. When I visit Tasmania today I think of how Ireland must have been in 1847 and we all have to do all we can in this Commonwealth of Australia to ensure our country becomes all it can be. Tomorrow Tasmania goes to the polls to elect a new state government. I've been there all week and we have candidates running in every seat. I will be there tomorrow and I will see you all if you tune into the tally room after 7.00pm. You will be able to see me but I won’t be able to see you. In late 2012 I was at the John F Kennedy Library in Boston. I am a member of the board of the library and I was there with President Kennedy’s nephew, Stephen Smith. Michael Higgins, the president of Ireland was coming as well. President Obama had arranged for him to be presented with a bust of John F Kennedy when he visited the library and John Kerry, the Senator of Massachusetts, was to make the speech and present the bust. I don’t know what happened but as I was the only director of the library and the senator’s plane was snowed in, I was asked to host Michael Higgins and present the bust of JFK. I was handed the speech; it was about the brave Irish fighting in revolutionary wars and the fighting Irish in the civil war from New York. It was about the boys of 1916 who fought for Irish freedom. It was about Dde Valera who survived the civil war to become president of Ireland. President Kennedy said when he visited Ireland in 1962 that if de Valera had stayed in Brooklyn and President Kennedy’s grandfather had stayed in New Ross, de Valera could have been president of the United States and Kennedy could have been president of Ireland. It’s true the Irish family extends around the world. As President Kennedy said in 1962; “We are all mortal. We all live on this one small planet. We all breathe the same air and we all want a good future for our children.” It seems whether we are Irish or not the things that bring us together are stronger than the things that keep us apart. We need more love in this world. We need more forgiveness. We need a spirit of service. We need to think about what we can do for each other; what we can all do for the world. Let us hold our hands out to those who struggle for freedom today at home and abroad as Ireland struggled for a thousand years. Let us not leave them to be sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky. Let us show them we have not forgotten the constancy of the faith and the hope of the Irish. The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 241


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