OPPOSITION assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh will be in Ballarat on Tuesday night to deliver a speech at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.
The event, co-hosted by the Ballarat Trades Hall and Ballarat Labor, will focus on the role Eureka’s history should play in our national mythology.
Dr Leigh is an ardent supporter of Eureka’s history and a long-time advocate of increasing the role it plays in education.
“I’m pretty passionate about the Eureka story,” Dr Leigh said. “I think it’s a story that should be taught more in schools and it speaks down the centuries to all Australians.”
In a book co-authored by Dr Leigh in 2004, he argued: “When we become a republic – as we surely some day must – what better flag to choose than the Eureka flag?”
Aside from that, he has championed greater recognition of the rebellion and its profound effect on Australian democracy in Canberra.
“Eureka is an enormously important national legend, that’s why I moved a motion in parliament last year to recognise Eureka and it was supported on both sides,” he said.
He said the Eureka legend gave inspiration to both sides of politics, with the left able to draw on its themes of egalitarianism and the right identifying with the
rejection of oppressive taxation.
This year Ballarat is playing host to a range of activities including M.A.D.E family day on Sunday, and free entry to the museum on Tuesday, but Dr Leigh said there was still room for greater recognition in the city in which Australian democracy was born.
“I think the 150th anniversary – which saw the Eureka flag flying from the Sydney Harbour Bridge – was a reminder of how important this national legend is to people all around Australia,” he said.
The Eureka Day lecture will be delivered in the auditorium at M.A.D.E with a $25-a-head dinner available at the museum afterwards.