Passers-by, 2012

Passers-by highlights, 2012

The full videos of all the passers-by are below:

A passer-by discusses the stimulus package.

This passer-by, a spirited debater, explains why a government’s stimulus policy won’t work.

A passer-by visits Sydney.

Passer by

Click here to hear how a woman changed this man’s perspective.



For Christmas, David wants to ditch wasteful consumerism and replace it with charity. Click here.

Bill Browne


A young man stepped up onto The Ladder of Knowledge and argued that chimpanzees should be given human rights, and what an extraordinary job he did. Peter, the heckler, gave him a run for his money and the discussion between them was interesting and amenable. William George is always welcome at Speakers’ Corner. (Plus, look out for the man wearing spooky golden glasses.)



Joseph took two years off work to study the masters of wisdom and happiness, and can now help you become the person you want to be. Part of the answer, it seems, is to reprogram our thinking.
Good old Mirko had no intentions of letting a first-timer speak freely (in, ironically, the very place which allows free speech), but Joseph coped well with the interference. He stuck to his guns and didn’t allow Mirko to change the topic. In short, Joseph did an outstanding job, and is welcome at Speakers’ Corner any time.

A lass.


This lass made an interesting suggestion regarding the parking meters at the Domain. Do you agree?

Michael doesn’t like the banks.


If only Michael were running the Federal Reserve! Click here to hear him speak.

Carlos and Yvonne.

Click here to see a little romance at Speakers’ Corner!


It’s no exaggeration – the dinosaurs are dead, and this earnest young man explains how they died.



If you could change the world, what would you do?‘ was the question asked of young Mia, and the budding town planner was up to the challenge. Her ideas were thoughtful and a touch unexpected.  Click here to hear the gentle wisdom of a child.



Kate talked about bullying, and in her sights were the bullying practices of politicians, nations, homophobes, bible bashers and internet trolls. And it is fair to say that she is not Tony Abbott’s biggest fan. She was clear and vocal, and is welcome at Speakers’ Corner any time.  Click here to hear Kate serve it up.

Miss Reticent.

Miss Reticent

One of the world’s greatest intellects, Mr Ed the talking horse, never spoke unless he had something to say. The lass who visited Speakers’ Corner adopted the same wise habit. (Let’s hope some of the hecklers follow her example.) Listen to the few words she did utter by clicking here.



Heckler Michael chose to say a few words about religious believers who don’t know the history behind their faith.

Lauren does not recite ‘Bloody Shakespeare’


 Lauren brings to life social activist Elizabeth Stanton‘s fiery and inspiring address of 1861. Given that it was a speech written by Elizabeth to promote the cause of Womanhood, it is ironic that the speech was heckled by Angela, a woman obsessive about the subject.  (Angela appears at the bottom of this post.) Had Angela actually listened, she might have remained silent.
Then again, probably not.
It is astonishing that two of Speakers’ Corner’s hecklers, Tony and Angela, don’t let even first-timers perform without interruption. Honestly, they’d heckle a dying man’s last words. Indeed, if there was a gasp from a corpse in a coffin, they’d heckle that too.



Expert orator Rupert gave lucky listeners a taste of how orators did it in the 1940s. In a few stirring words we discover the ideals of the Australian Labor Party from the point of view of Australia’s 16th Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. Compare Chifley’s speech with today’s parliamentary speeches, and with today’s eight second sound bites, and see what you think.



Here’s a character who believes in cold fusion and energy too cheap to meter. Hear what he says.

Mark Jago.

Mark Jago

 Mark gives an intriguing but plausible  explanation of how the story of an ancient Egyptian god, Horus, came to be the story of Jesus. ‘The son of God’ is actually ‘The sun of God’, 3,500 years BC.

Joanne Lin, from China.

Joanne Lin

A Chinese tourist gave Speakers’ Corner a go. Well done! We don’t know what she said, but it sounds charming.

 (And Tony strikes again).


An astonishing talk by a talented young man. Timothy speaks about Stickman, that universal figure drawn when a pencil is shoved into a young hand. Stickman is the precursor to all forms of Art, explains Timothy, and if it weren’t for Stickman we wouldn’t have the art of Da Vinci and Picasso.
And he’s probably right.
Now, would the pest of Speakers’ Corner, Tony (a stickman himself), heckle a 12 year old boy? You betcha. Without fully understanding Timothy’s point, Tony gets stuck into the lad, demanding ‘Where’s your evidence?! Where’s your evidence!’

Philip Feinstein of Smokenders


Philip Feinstein spoke about his ‘Smokenders’ program, which is designed to help people give up smoking. Listen to him by clicking here. He explained why people have trouble giving up smoking, and he suggested novel solutions. For example, he reckons that once a person has decided to give up smoking  they should consciously smoke for another five weeks! It is refreshing and provocative views like this which are at the heart of Speakers’ Corner. Thank you, Philip Feinstein!



In the old days politics was a common subject at Speakers’ Corner, and generated a lot of emotion. Nowadays it rarely gets a mention, but today Laurence has a few unkind words to say about the two current main political parties.


Diana is visiting Sydney and felt the need to thank all those who helped make it possible. One gains the impression she is practising for when the day she will be accepting an Academy Award.


In 1878 legislation was passed allowing free speech in the Domain. So, for example, if you stood on the ground and criticised Queen Victoria you were committing an offence, but if you stood on a box and criticised her, you weren’t committing an offence. Therefore, if someone wanted to officially declare a controversial point of view, they did so at Speakers’ Corner, on a box. And today Karen made an official declaration to her daughter, in just nine words.
Mind you, her daughter didn’t take her mother’s declaration too seriously.


Wanted: Someone to take on Tony!

When Clarence stepped onto the Ladder of Knowledge Tony the heckler quickly directed the young man towards his own pet interest: criticising religion. Clarence displayed no interest in the subject but that didn’t stop relentless Tony. Clarence quite rightly ignored Tony’s persistent questions, but being unable to speak under the barrage, understandably gave up trying to speak. To his credit, Clarence kept his cool and his patience, and left the Ladder of Knowledge still in good spirits.
(The good news: Clarence left a message on this blog to say he might try to speak again sometime, and adds, ‘Say hello to Tony for me!‘.)

But jeepers, is there someone out there who can put Tony in his place?



Chris was another passer-by who chose to give it a go by advocating the legalisation of gay marriage. Unfortunately, heckler Tony was within earshot. Although Chris’s points were well received by an appreciative audience, Tony’s interruptions were as welcome as the proverbial fart in a space suit. Mind you, Tony agreed with homosexual marriage provided it remains platonic. (For goodness sake.) From there his arguments went downhill. But thankfully, Chris presented a thoughtful view.

At times the banter did sound like a tree full of cockatoos, but Chris kept the discussion upbeat, interesting, and good-natured with his patience and persistence. His compassionate view won the audience, and when he concluded he received a round of applause.

The search is now on for a way to throw Tony back into the twentieth century.

(Warning: if you wish to avoid being offended by a heckler’s unenlightened view, avoid this video.)


Superman had just saved the planet from almost certain destruction, and to celebrate he  said a few words on the Ladder of Knowledge. He gives a novel but plausible reason why there is so much injustice and inequity in the world, and suggests a solution. With aplomb he deals with the hecklers daring to interrupt him.

(As you know, Superman is indestructible. Bullets just bounce off him. Why then, does he duck when a gun is thrown at him?  (at 50 secs))

Rui Cao

Rui 2

Rui discussed the nature of Art, and obligingly answered questions from the interested public. She was a popular speaker with some fresh ideas.


John requires evidence before he believes anything. But what evidence does he require, precisely?  John explains why he is an agnostic.


Angela gave it a go by talking about men and domestic violence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s