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Deakin Quotes

Alfred Deakin writes in his account of Federal cause "The Federal Story"  1900

“The fortunes of Federalism have visibly trembled in the balance twenty times during the past ten years”

“Any one of a thousand minor incidents might have deferred it for years or generations. To those who watched its inner workings, followed its fortunes as if their own, and lived the life of devotion to it day by day, its actual accomplishment must always appear to have been secured by a series of miracles.”

Alfred Deakin writes after his first Government lost. 24th April 1904

“I have no special ambitions for the future and am content to take whatever place is allotted to me, however different”

Attorney General Alfred Deakin, Federal Parliament, Melbourne, 19 June, 1901

“We lay it down that advancement is to depend upon efficiency and aptitude and not upon length of service the time a man has sat upon an office stool, the time he has driven a quill, the number of pages he has filled with his writing. It is his efficiency in the discharge of his duties that will lead to his promotion.”

Alfred Deakin 1905

“Jesus Christ is the life of the present, the light of the future and the hope of the world”

Alfred Deakin letter to his children 7th September 1890 

“Our whole civilisation is saturated with Christian feeling and governed ostensibly by its principles; the best features it possesses are largely to be credited to Christian effort and teaching and the indebtedness should be frankly acknowledged.


Christ himself is the central figure of humanity and marks the greatest height yet attained in moral insight in religious feeling …. No character in history no founder of a religion, no moral philosopher, no religious teacher, can be placed beside him.”

Attorney-General Alfred Deakin, House of Representatives, Melbourne, 12 September, 1901.

“It is not the bad qualities, but the good qualities of these alien races that makes them dangerous to us”

Alfred Deakin-  ( NLA ref  1540/5/29)

“I now establish within every atom of my Being, a consciousness that I am Spirit Life complete in God."


"Oh Thou infinite eternal omnipetent life, Thou from whom all energy proceeds. I am living and moving in Thee, and in Thee I have my Being”

Alfred Deakin-  ( NLA ref  1540/5/29) When he had problems sleeping.

“If I cant sleep say over and over again "I am resting in God"" 

Alfred Deakin

“What is Liberalism? The question which separates us is whether the development of Australia on the lines of private enterprise is the right method of development, or whether the development of Australia along the lines of state control is the proper”

Alfred Deakin- found happiness, as he observed in 1910, in the immersion in books

“the inner life of speculation…my only true being…this is my “self”…This is my real life, and joy—far more real than the other.”

Alfred Deakin- 1904

“I act alone, live alone and think alone.”

Alfred Deakin at the Adelaide Federation Convention 1897. In responce to the convention President warning the crowd that they were getting too excited about Mr Deakins empassioned speach. Reported by Adelaide Advertiser 

“Rather than that any word of mine should have chilled or have deterred any of those who have come here in the hope that by mutual concessions an acceptable Constitution may be framed, I would that my tongue should have been withered at its roots. If any word of mine can have brought discord where there should be harmony, or can have repelled when it should have attracted, it is my bitter misfortune; it has been farthest from my intention.


The Constitution we seek to prepare is worthy of any and every personal sacrifice, for it is no ordinary measure, and must exercise no short lived influence, since it preludes the advent of a nation. Awed as I feel by the fact that we come from, that we speak to, and that we act for a great constituency, awed as I feel in the presence of those who sent us here. I am more awed by the thought of the constituency which is not visible, but which awaits the results of our labors. We are trustees for posterity, for the unborn millions, unknown and unnumbered, whose aspirations we may help to fulfil and whose destinies we may assist to determine.”

Alfred Deakin- 15 October 1911, Deakin tried to recall some lines of poetry:

“This morning waking in the peace of a Sunday it took me some time before I could recollect to whom I was indebted for the exquisite and apposite fragment of verse that floated into my consciousness ‘The peace that man did not make and cannot mar’—that was all I could recover even when I remembered Arnold’s ‘In Kensington Gardens’ as the source. Such a hopeless wreck is my immediately effective memory.”

Alfred Deakin- 5 October 1898, Speaking on Bill for religious instruction in State Schools.

“Is not religious teaching an essential element in all culture, the source and sanction of inspiration, the foundation of morality, the basis of society and the bond of human brotherhood.”

Alfred Deakin- 17 March 1898, Speaking at Australian Federation Conference in Melbourne (Hansard page 2509)

“It will be a union with strong foundations set deep in justice, a union which will endure from age to age, a bulwark against aggression and a perpetual security for the peace, freedom, and progress of the people of Australia, giving to them and to their children and to their children's children through all generations the priceless heritage of a happy and united land.”

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