Speechwriting 101 with Kate Chaney

Kate Chaney, the latest in an impressive line of Chaneys to take a seat in the federal parliament, is our next member of the Class of ‘22. Running as one of the teal independents, Kate took the very safe Liberal seat of Curtin – named for former Prime Minister John Curtin – and turned it teal.

Kate’s speech talks a lot about her family’s political legacy. Both her grandfather and her uncle – Fred Jnr and Fred Snr – were elected members in the federal parliament. Even with that history, Kate talks about how challenging it was for her to choose to stand in the seat of Curtin. 

But it’s the wise counsel of her Uncle Fred that forms the basis of this speech snippet and seems to have nudged her in this direction.

“My very wise uncle Fred, who’s an inspiration to me, advised me to listen to Hal Wootten, an Australian judge, who said: 

I believe it is not just judges, but every man and woman who, in everything they do, can give the world little nudges that, in conjunction with all its other little nudges, can affect where the world goes.”

It’s a great quote but Kate does it true justice by then using the language of Judge Wootten in her following sentences.

“As I join the 1,240 people who have served in this House since Federation, I will apply little nudges in the direction that’s consistent with my values and the values of my community in Curtin.”

To do this in your own speeches:

  • Mirror the language of the quote in your speech. It shows how that quote is relevant to you and/or the topic and why you’ve included it. It’s also quite poetic and that is a very good thing!
  • Make sure your quote has a purpose. If it’s just a random quote to fill space, it’ll fall flat. Don’t give away the storytelling to other people!
  • Triple check the quote and make sure it’s accurate. Check they’re the right words, said by the right person and in the right context. The internet is fully of shady crap…do your research!

Give it a try for yourself and let me know how you go.

If you need more help, download my free guide to writing ovation-worthy speeches here.

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