The Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP, Prime Minister of Australia, addresses
student political think-tank, the Fabian Society
The Fabian Society and the University of Sydney Union (USU), played host to the Hon. Kevin Rudd, MP, Prime Minister of Australia, on 11 September 2008 at the annual Gough Whitlam dinner, held in the Refectory of the University of Sydney Union.
The Prime Minister addressed students on the topic of education and paying a tribute to Gough Whitlam, and answered a number of questions from the floor on a range of subjects including some very emotional questions about Government support for Australian Universities. Perhaps the most poignant point made by the Prime Minister in his speech was that he had enjoyed a free university education but there was no going back to those days.
The crowd, mainly made up of students, were hopeful that the great University experience for which Sydney University is renowned could be supported by the Federal Government renouncing an end to Voluntary Student Unionism, or new legislation to help Universities support a rich student experience at all Australian Universities.
“Co-curricular student experience programs, such as the Fabian Society, are vital in contributing to a world class university education. Students who participate in co-curricular programs at university are well equipped for challenges in the market place, and the Fabian Society is an outstanding example of students who are aware, educated, mindful citizens,” said the USU President, Ruchir Punjabi.
The Fabian Society is the University of Sydney branch of Australia's oldest left-leaning political think tank. The Society is at the forefront of research and debate into progressive political ideas and public policy reform. Former Prime Ministers, the Hon. Gough Whitlam AC QC, the Hon. Paul Keating, and the Hon. Bob Hawke AC OAM, have all featured as prominent members of the Fabian Society.
The USU Fabian Society is funded by the University of Sydney Union, the oldest and largest student organisation in Australia, which was founded as a university debating society in 1874. From this beginning, USU has grown in strength and scope to promote leadership and intellectual challenge outside the classroom. More than 200 registered clubs and societies are funded and supported by the USU.
Download: Speech mp3 (14.2MB) | Transcript (doc)