Great Leadership Interviews & Speeches

Great Australian Leaders in Focus

This initiative has been created by Our Community to highlight community leadership in Australia.

Interviews with some of Australia's greatest community leaders appear in Our Community Matters, a free monthly community sector newsletter that is distributed to tens of thousands of community organisations across Australia.

Each interview is designed to excite and stimulate discussion on the important elements of leadership as well as providing some personal insights that can serve as lessons or guides for other younger and emerging leaders.

Leadership - like any other skill for a community leader - is about constant improvement and a constant search for new and better ways to be able to guide your community organisation or to be able to get a message across to a wider audience.

We are very grateful for the many Australian community leaders who have agreed to take part in this series and we hope it enlivens discussion, debate and directions on what is the true meaning of community leadership.

Read their views on leadership here:

  • Jacqui Katona
  • Prof Neville Norman
  • Marcus Godinho
  • Morry Schwartz
  • Jane Schwager
  • Vici Funnell
  • John Dalziel
  • Dr Simon Longstaff AO
  • Fiona Smith
  • David Morgan
  • Stephanie Alexander
  • Justice Paul Stein
  • Dr Jim Varghese
  • Professor Allan Fels AO
  • Molly Harriss Olson
  • Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG
  • Ian Kiernan AO
  • Professor Fiona Stanley AC
  • Sir Gustav Nossal
  • John Eales
  • Peter Garrett
  • Petrina Dorrington
  • Dr Jim Cavaye
  • Debbie Kilroy OAM
  • Robbie Macpherson
  • John Roskam
  • Dr Anne Summers AO
  • Carol Schwartz AM
  • The Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser, AC, CH
  • The Hon Joan Kirner AC
  • James Demetriou
  • Hutch Hussein

  • Great Leadership Speeches

    Great speeches have the power to not only inform, but to inspire and to move people to action. Here is a selection of some of the best.

    In April 2007 the Australian people delivered their verdict on what they believe to be the top 10 leadership speeches of all time via an ABC survey.

    Here are the ones that made the final cut.

    1. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. I Have A Dream. Washington, 1963
    2. Jesus of Nazareth. Sermon on the Mount, c27
    3. Prime Minister Paul Keating. Redfern address. Sydney, 1992
    4. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. We Shall Fight on the Beaches. House of Commons, 1940
    5. President Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg Address, 1863
    6. President John F Kennedy. Inaugural Address, Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Washington, 1961
    7. Earl Spencer. Funeral oration for Princess Diana. London, 1997
    8. Henry V. St Crispins Day speech before the 1415 Battle of Agincourt. William Shakespeare, 1599
    9. Gough Whitlam. The Dismissal. Canberra, 1975 - Voice Recording
    10. Queen Elizabeth I. I have the heart and stomach of a king. Address to troops as Spanish Armada approached Britain, 1588

    Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration

    Named in honour of The Hon Joan Kirner AC (1938-2015)

    Courageous, ceaseless, clever, compassionate - over many years, and in many theatres, The Hon. Joan Kirner AC fought for community, equality and social justice.

    Joan was perhaps best known for her work as the front-woman for the grassroots campaign for educational reform in Victoria in the 1970s, and later as that state's first female Premier.

    She was also prominent in the nation-changing struggles for social inclusion, women's equality, environmental protection, and community-driven community development.

    Having played an integral role in the development of the social fabric of Australia, Joan remained to her final days an enduring community activist and champion for the forgotten and the downtrodden.

    The Joan Kirner Social Justice Orations are always a highlight of the Communities in Control conference each year, and each are strong leadership speeches.

    You can learn more about Joan and the speeches she was personally involved in, here.