The subjects of this book are five fascinating prime ministersandmdash;Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howardandmdash;and how they view Australia. Until the 1960s, our nation believed itself to be British. Then, during a decade of momentous change, this concept of our national identity collapsed. It was buried by the forces of cultural and political renewal; by disturbing and exciting developments in Asia; and by a dawning recognition that the global era of colonial power was over. The result was a crisis of national meaning reflected in public debates about multiculturalism, Australia's relationships with its Asian neighbours, the dispossession of indigenous Australians, and the nation's involvement in war. In recent years, our political leaders have played a conspicuous role in the controversy. In The Power of Speech, James Curran explores the end of the idea of British Australia, and how successive prime ministers have attempted to assert personal, and often competing, visions of Australian nationalism in its place. This highly original study of prime ministerial rhetoric exposes the sources of our most powerful leaders' beliefs about Australia.