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Archives for 1973

Blue Poles: Would You Pay $1.3m For This?

Whitlam’s approval of a National Gallery decision to buy Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles for over a million dollars sent the media into a frenzy over wasteful spending.

By the 21st century, Blue Poles was estimated to be worth at least $40 million. It is one of the National Gallery’s most popular exhibits.

Herald, December 17, 1973

This Day Tonight Reviews 1973

In its final program for the year in 1973, the ABC’s nightly current affairs show, This Day Tonight, referred to as TDT, devoted itself to a review of Gough Whitlam’s first 12 months in government.

One of the items on TDT was Smacka Fitzgibbon singing The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam, a take-off of The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.

Note: I’m not absolutely sure what day this broadcast was shown but I believe it was Friday, December 14, 1973.

  • Listen to the complete TDT program (34m)
  • Listen to The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam (4m)
  • Watch an extract of The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam (82s)

 

Foreign Policy: Whitlam’s Washington Address

During the first year of his government, Whitlam was not only Prime Minister but also Minister for Foreign Affairs.

This speech, an address to the National Press Club, in Washington, provides an overview of Whitlam’s foreign policy principles, as well as his view of Australia’s position within the ANZUS alliance.

Text of an address by the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Gough Whitlam, to the National Press Club, Washington.

It is an honour for me to be asked to address representatives of the world’s greatest and most free press in the capital of the world’s greatest and most free democracy.

The strength of each is the strength of both.

In accepting your invitation I pay tribute to the manifest and enduring strength of both.

It’s been suggested that your chief interest today is to hear something about the changes in Australia’s policies as a result of the change in the Australian Government, changes affecting our international relations and particularly the relations between Australia and the United States. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s Address To The ALP National Conference

In July 1973, Whitlam’s Labor government had been in office for seven months.

Whitlam’s Address to the ALP National Conference provides an insight into his thinking, particularly his belief that the government had been elected with a clear mandate to implement the policies developed in Opposition at the three previous party conferences in 1967, 1969 and 1971.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s Address to the ALP National Conference.

We would have less than ordinary human failings if on this occasion we were not tempted to indulge in all the emotions from nostalgia to euphoria. And our best friends have never suggested that the Australian Labor Party was short on ordinary human failings. There is, nonetheless, a sort of symmetry which would move anybody with a sense of our Party’s history in the fact that we came back to Surfers Paradise for this first National Conference with our first National Government for nearly a quarter of a century. We met here seven years ago for the Special Conference of 1966 – that annus horribilis in the history of Australia and of the Australian Labor Party. We were at the nadir of our fortunes. Yet that Special Conference, held at a time when we were well on our way to the greatest debacle in our Party’s history, strangely enough contained the seeds of our resurgence and ultimate triumph in a way that none of us could have then discerned. We started on the road back then and here. [Read more…]

The Adventures Of Edward Gough Whitlam: Smacka Fitzgibbon

Just ten weeks after Whitlam was elected, the ABC’s This Day Tonight program telecast Smacka Fitzgibbon singing a song titled The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam.

The song was a take-off of The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, a hit movie of 1972 that starred Barry Crocker. The title song, sung by Fitzgibbon, reached Number 22 on the Australian Singles Chart.

Graham Francis (“Smacka”) Fitzgibbon was a well-known entertainer who opened Melbourne’s first jazz restaurant in Kew. He died of a cerebral haemorrhage on December 15, 1979 aged just 49.

  • Listen to The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam (3m)
  • Watch an extract of Fitzgibbon singing the song (82s)
  • Watch The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (3m)

Australia Day 1973: Whitlam Announces Search For New Anthem

Australia Day 1973 passed almost unnoticed, according to one radio news report, but Whitlam used his 53rd day as prime minister to announce a search for a new national anthem.

Whitlam’s announcement of a replacement for God Save the Queen came in his Australia Day address. He said: “We feel it is essential that Australians have an Anthem that fittingly embodies our national aspirations and reflects our status as an independent nation. We need an Anthem that uniquely identifies our country abroad, and recalls vividly to ourselves the distinctive qualities of Australian life and the character and traditions of our nation. These aims are particularly important to the Labor Government which I lead. It has been one of tile central ambitions of my administration to foster a fresh and distinctive reputation for Australia overseas, and to encourage in our domestic affairs a greater spirit of shared purpose and national unity. My Government does not believe that our present National Anthem is adequate for these purposes.”

Whitlam announced a competition for the new anthem, culminating in a public vote and a prize of $5000.00 to the winner. [Read more…]