- An Australian politics reporter noticed similarities between a speech by an Australian Parliament member and lines delivered by “The West Wing” fictional President Jed Bartlet.
- Victorian Labour Party MP Will Fowles said though he was a fan of the show, using any similar phrases was unintentional, reporter James Talia told a radio show.
- Talia told the outlet Fowles called the similarities an “unconscious homage” to the show’s creator Aaron Sorkin, who he “described as one of the greatest speechwriters we’ve ever seen.”
- Bartlet’s speechwriters Toby Ziegler and Sam Seaborn could not be reached for comment because they’re fictional.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
An Australian Parliament member was caught on Tuesday after seeming to lift parts of a speech from Aaron Sorkin’s popular political drama “The West Wing.”
In a speech delivered Monday, Victorian Labour Party MP Will Fowles included three phrases from the fictional President Jed Bartlet’s iconic “20 hours in America” speech, Australian political reporter James Talia first noticed.
During the speech addressing two bombs that exploded at a university, President Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen, said: “We did not expect, nor did we invite, this confrontation with evil.”
On Tuesday, in a 90-second statement about Victoria’s response to the coronavirus, Fowles said: “We did not expect, nor did we invite, this confrontation with a ferocious and feckless enemy.”
He also said, of healthcare workers, “If we think we have reached the limit of our resolve, we need only to look to these heroes and decide that our resolve may well be limitless.”
This phrase, too, is similar to one in Bartlet’s speech, where he said: “Every time we think we’ve measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless.”
Talia told a local radio station that he noticed the similarities because he is a fan of the show.
“I had it on in the background and there were a couple of phrases that jumped out at me as being very familiar, as a big fan of ‘The West Wing’ as I am,” Talia said. “He appeared in a couple of places to have lifted some of the great words of the fictional president Jed Bartlet.”
Talia said when he confronted Fowles about the language, the lawmaker admitted to being a fan of the show and the phrases might have been “lodged in his brain,” but using them was not a conscious decision.
He called the similarities an “unconscious homage” to the show’s creator Aaron Sorkin, who he “described as one of the greatest speechwriters we’ve ever seen,” Talia told the outlet.
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