Lets give thanks for this remembrance of the dignity and elegance of language in Australian early politics as a jibe in the debate on an early Australian Constitution based on the big end on of SydneyTown.
A ‘Greg Hunt’ (i.e. Wikipedia) on the internet reveals that, known as ‘the boy orator’, Daniel Deniehy was an advocate of extended democracy in the emerging political systems of the Australian colonies. He joined the opposition to the 1853 New South Wales Constitution Bill, which would have created a powerful unelected upper house and limited the franchise for the lower house to those owning substantial property.
So much of his speech is ‘plus ca change’ in relation to the current Government’s attitude to the average citizenry at the moment with the Leader’s latest ‘captain’s call’ to re-establish royal honours.
And being in a figurative humour, he might endeavour to cause some of the proposed nobility to pass before the stage of our imagination as the ghost of Banquo walked in the vision of Macbeth, so that we might have a fair view of those harlequin aristocrats, those Australian magnificos. We will have them across the stage in all the pomp and circumstance of hereditary titles. Here they all knew that the common water-mole was transformed into the duck-billed platypus; and in some distant emulation of this degeneracy, he supposed they were to be favoured with a bunyip aristocracy. But though their weakness was ridiculous, he could assure them that these pigmies might work a great deal of mischief; they would bring contempt upon a country whose best interests he felt sure they all had at heart, until the meanest man that walked the streets would fling his gibe at the aristocrats of Botany Bay.
Perhaps we could create a modern designation for current and former politicians as an alternative to ‘, Lord or Sir as who can be the Best Count’. Daniel Deniehy’s headstone records a prescient message where old words are rewritten in the reading.
The vehement voice of the South Is loud where the journalist lies But calm hath encompassed his mouth, And sweet is the peace in his eyes.