The task

You have a choice of two options

  1. Old Parliament House has identified six significant speeches as the focus of the Speech is of Time special category. Your task is to select one of these and explore its importance in shaping our own history.
  2. Alternatively, you may select your own speech. If you choose this option, then you must make sure that this speech was delivered by an Australian Prime Minister during his term in office.

Your entry will take the form of a research essay which should take the following into consideration:

  • Context: Who made the speech? Why? When and where was it delivered?
  • Content: What is the issue/subject of the speech? What is the line of argument? What evidence is used to support it? Is the reasoning clear, logical and convincing?
  • What does the speech tell us about the personal values of the Prime Minister?
  • If you were on the Opposition side, and disagreed with the speech, what points of objection would you make?
  • Style: How is language used to convey the message and persuade audiences?
  • Relevance of the speech in its time: What was its impact on Australian society? How was it received? What were the outcomes and implications?
  • Relevance of the speech today: What important lessons does it teach us? What bearing does it have on present-day Australian politics, culture, society?

You may choose to illustrate your essay with relevant visual material. Your selection of images must support the argument of the essay. Make sure that you label these images with the appropriate titles or captions and cite their sources. There is a limit of five pictures.

Information about the word length, presentation criteria, referencing and registration can be found at

I loved history because to me, history was like watching a movie.

-Quentin Tarantino

The Museum of Australian Democracy’s Australian Prime Ministers Centre sponsored this category in the 2007 National History Challenge. Find out more about the latest National History Challenge.

The National History Challenge is a research-based competition for students. More information is available on the National History Challenge site.