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Speech US Chamber of Commerce Speech Speaker Palmer, Clive, MP It was a young Thomas Jefferson, 32 years of age, who helped write the US Constitution. All men are created equal, he wrote. It was the Great Republic that has defended the rights of men and women around the world and which offered the best hopes for mankind. The graves of young Americans who have given their lives for freedom circle the globe. One of the hardest things in life is perseverance, the ability to stay with it when times get tough, to keep the ship of freedom on a steady course, to know that each generation takes up the standard of the generation which has gone before, that all of us are on a journey and now more than ever we must extend hands across the Pacific and not waver in difficult times, but to remember who we are and where we come from. The common values we stand for as Australians were there in World War I, Australians acted as military advisers to every US officer fighting in Europe, Australian sergeants stood in the trenches with their US brothers and it’s been that way ever since. In the 19th century, from all the nations of Europe they came seeking a better life, seeking to express themselves, seeking light out of the darkness of repression and dreaming of a better future, a better life, a chance to be as man was meant to be, free and independent. They came seeking a new world to Ellis Island. From there they went to the great cities of the East and pursued western frontiers, making their own luck building a citadel which became the United States of America we know today. Their dream became the American Dream and the American Dream has become the best hope for mankind. Early in the late 1840’s, it was announced in the House of Commons in England that 15,000 people had died in a day in Ireland. Queen Victoria was so moved that she donated £5 to the Irish relief fund. The Irish voted with their feet and left to find a new future, a new beginning in the United States. My ancestors who had been transported to Tasmania years earlier would have been sent to the hulks in New York and Boston harbor if it wasn’t for an extraordinary man named George Washington. When we think of Washington, we remember someone who knows that the power of the Great Republic rested not with the President but the people of the United States. A person who saw service as paramount and history as his only reward. A British aristocrat sometime after the revolutionary war of Independence was to entertain the US Ambassador in England. He had a portrait of George Washington and he said to his guests he would upset the US Ambassador by placing the portrait of George Washington in the toilet. So when the US Ambassador arrived and asked where the toilet was, he was quietly directed to it. The British laughed and wondered what the US Ambassador’s reaction would be. When he returned, they asked him what he thought of having the portrait of General Washington hanging on the wall of the toilet. The US Ambassador said: excellent, I can’t think of anything that would make an Englishman defecate quicker than a portrait of General Washington. My association with the United States began in 1963 when as a nine year old I sailed up the Hudson River to New York. 252 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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