Noel Pearson Summary

Noel Pearson Summary

Summary on Noel Pearson’s speech Noel Pearson’s ‘An Australian History for us all’ discusses his approach to trying to solve some of the most systemic problems facing Australian Aboriginals today. Through the uses of various language techniques and context, Pearson’s speech details the struggles of the relationship between the first European settlers and Aboriginal Australians.

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In Pearson’s speech, the criticism of John Howard, who was at the time the Prime Minister, throughout the speech shows the idea that the past Australian Governments had made a mistake in treating Aboriginal Australians in the past, and that modern day government is trying to forget that past because of the guilt and shame it had caused the Australian government in the past.

Pearson directly quotes comments made by John Howard during a radio interview, but uses these comments to emphasise his own key arguments rather than support those being made by Howard. By using quotes from other sources he broadens the scope of his argument and makes his own argument less of a personal crusade. Pearson also focuses on National Identity and determining “who we are”. Pearson acknowledges the current debate of National Identity by making reference to the “hot button issue” about “the guilt about Australia’s colonial Identity”.

The extended metaphor of button pressing and the cliche “You would not need to be a political genius” stresses the “great electoral resonance” of the National Identity debate. Another technique Pearson applies is the use of inclusive language in his speech. This is cleverly woven into the speech by repeated references to “our nation” and the action that “we” have to take to correct the injustices of the past.

This facilitates Pearson’s depiction of Aboriginal rights being a social, political, legal and religious concern for the nation as a whole and thus presents Pearson’s view on National Identity and the global perception of “who we are”. The past shows that Australia as a nation is not perfect, the governments of the past have made unethical actions towards the people that they lead, and that if people are willing to forgive what people have done in the past, then the people affected can move on knowing that there is closure in their lives.


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