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The towering, patrician Gough Whitlam, who has died aged 98, made his mark in a dynamic and chaotic era of Australian politics. His legacy is to some extent overshadowed by the dramatic nature of his dismissal as prime minister. Yet in three years in the role Whitlam managed to forge himself into the key figure in the shaping of modern Australia.
He pioneered reforms in Aboriginal rights, multiculturalism, university education and healthcare. And, though he had detractors in and outside Labor, Whitlam managed to turn a demoralised and divided party into a relevant political machine, preparing it for power not just during his tenure but in the 13 years of continuous Labor government from 1983.
On the day of Whitlam’s dismissal, 11 November 1975 – amid a bitter constitutional crisis which is still fiercely debated – he famously proclaimed: “Well may we say God save the Queen, because nothing will save the governor general.” The Queen’s official representative, the governor general, Sir John Kerr – whom Whitlam had appointed – had used his reserve powers to sack the government. True to Whitlam’s prediction, Kerr never recovered from the ignominy of the decision.
originally posted by: cuckooold
Gough Whitlam, possibly the greatest Prime Minister Australia has ever known
The Coalition of Fraser's Liberal Party of Australia and Doug Anthony's National Country Party secured government in its own right, winning the largest majority government in Australian history. Although Fraser had no need for the support of the National Country Party, the Coalition was retained. Labor suffered a 30-seat swing and saw its caucus cut almost in half, to 36 seats--fewer than it had when Whitlam became leader in the aftermath of the 1966 election.
He pioneered reforms in Aboriginal rights
Lucille Hughes21 hours ago
The 'tall man' was the great Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam - he died today and I will never forget what he did for all Australians
The extracts also reveal that Mr Kerr informed opposition leader Malcolm Fraser on October 17, 1975, the day after the budget was blocked, of his fear that he would be removed from office.
"He (Mr Fraser) said it was inconceivable," Mr Kerr wrote.
"His reaction was to say the Queen would never permit it."
a reply to: hellobruce
It also describes how Kerr took ''the extreme step'' of raising the possible dismissal of the Whitlam government with Prince Charles in September 1975, when they met in Port Moresby for an event to mark the transition to an
independent Papua New Guinea. ''Neither Kerr nor the palace ever revealed that, weeks before any action in the Senate had been taken [to block supply], the governor-general had already conferred with the palace on the possibility of the future dismissal of the prime minister, securing in advance the response of the palace to it,'' Hocking writes.
Read more: www.smh.com.au...