Tag Archives: Gough Whitlam

Dancing with Speeches #22 Noel Pearson

It is National Reconciliation Week and this week’s dance is with Noel Pearson’s Eulogy for former Australian PM Gough Whitlam.

Reconciliation Week and my attention always turns to those who know what it is to turn around, not turn away. Whitlam continues to inspire me by his sheer audacity and speed of reform and at his funeral Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson took our breaths away with his eulogy. Pearson gave a litany of reform born from Whitlam and stated eloquently that reform always trumps management.  There is no reconciliation without action.  Action that is pointed and unlocks possibilities, builds equity and shines a light on the assumptions on why reform is necessary.

This is the kind of reconciliation I want: acts of restoration, accountability that brings together what was broken and torn apart and in the healing what is made new is more beautiful than what it was before it was broken.

The Japanese art of kintsukuroi where the broken vase is melded together with threads of gold and silver to be more beautiful is the gift of reconciliation complete. No denying of the broken pieces in the first place and deep recognition that healing happens in the crucible of heat and flame where the craftsmen and women are required to apply their science and their art to bring together the pieces. This is re-form. The form has been restored and it is made new. It is not just a case of managing and handling all the pieces so that they fit together again. It is a recognition of where the edges are; and instead of hiding them with some invisible glue, making those edges glow and shine and enabling them to be the strength to binds and make whole.

The alchemy of bringing together the elements is the gift of the artisan. The reformer works with their hands and their words are their tools. There are no mechanics although moving bits start to emerge as a movement is built. There are high quality ingredients and fidelity to integrity, for without these, there is no authenticity – only management.

Noel Pearson Delivering Whitlam Eulogy

Yes Noel, I agree “Reform trumps management” so let us re-form and with the artisans of democracy bring about justice and equity so reconciliation makes us all whole.


I have written about kintsukuroi previously:

Good Friday 2014

November 2014 : Made by Disappointment