Archives for April 1974

Opposition Leader Billy Snedden’s 1974 Election Policy Speech

The Leader of the Opposition, Billy Snedden, delivered his 1974 federal election policy speech on behalf of the Liberal Party, in Sydney, on April 30, 1974.

SneddenSnedden was 47 when he gave this speech. He entered parliament in 1955 as the member for the eastern suburban Melbourne electorate of Bruce. Sir Robert Menzies appointed him Attorney-General in 1964. He subsequently became Minister for Immigration and then Minister for Labour and National Service. He became Treasurer when William McMahon became Prime Minister in 1971, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in August 1971 after John Gorton was sacked.

Following the Coalition’s defeat in 1972, Snedden became the Liberal Party’s 5th leader and the nation’s 18th Leader of the Opposition. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s 1974 Election Policy Speech

The Whitlam Labor Government faced the electorate on May 18, 1974, just 18 months after taking office, in a double dissolution election.

Whitlam delivered his policy speech at the Blacktown Civic Centre, calling for a “fair go” for his government and a chance to carry out “the program”.

  • Listen to Whitlam’s Policy Speech (30m)
  • Listen to ABC Radio’s AM report on the policy speech (7m)

Transcript of the Policy Speech delivered by the Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, at the Blacktown Civic Centre, NSW, on April 29, 1974.

Men and Women of Australia,

Just 17 months ago, I stood here, and from this place and from this city I asked you to choose for Australia a new team, a new program, a new drive for equality of opportunities. You gave us a clear mandate to go ahead with our program for the next 3 years. For 17 months we have driven ourselves to carry out your mandate, to carry out the program I placed before you. Now the government you elected for 3 years has been interrupted in mid-career. Our program has been brought to a halt in mid-stream. [Read more…]

Bill Snedden’s Address To The Nation

With the double dissolution election set for May 18, 1974, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Snedden, made a televised Address to the Nation.

Snedden appeared on ABC television on Tuesday, April 23, 1974, at 7.30pm, pushing back the start of the current affairs program, This Day Tonight.

In the address, Snedden outlined the reasons why the Opposition had forced the election by threatening to block Supply.

Whitlam had delivered an Address to the Nation the previous week.

  • Listen to Snedden’s Address (11m)

Article from The Australian, April 23, 1974.

Snedden

Transcript of Snedden’s Address, published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Snedden
Snedden
Snedden
Snedden

Address To The Nation: Gough Whitlam On Why The 1974 Election Was Called

Following the Gair Affair and the Opposition’s decision to block Supply, Whitlam called a double dissolution election for May 18, 1974. He had been in office for 17 months.

On Tuesday April 16, at 7.30pm, pre-empting the ABC’s nightly current affairs show, This Day Tonight (TDT), Whitlam made an Address to the Nation.

In it, he put the argument that his government was being frustrated by a Senate that was elected 3 and 6 years earlier. He quoted his Liberal predecessor, Sir Robert Menzies, and described this as “a falsification of democracy”. [Read more…]

Sir Paul Hasluck’s 1974 Proclamation Dissolving Parliament

The Twenty-Eighth Parliament was dissolved after only 18 months as a result of the controversy over the appointment of the DLP Senator Vince Gair as Australian Ambassador to Ireland.

The subsequent announcement by the Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Snedden, that the coalition parties would block the goverment’s Supply Bills in the Senate caused Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to respond by calling a double dissolution election for May 18, 1974.

  • Listen to the Governor-General’s Official Secretary, David Smith, read the dissolution proclamation on the steps of Parliament House at noon on April 11, 1974:

Governor-General’s Proclamation dissolving both Houses of Parliament on April 11, 1974.

PROCLAMATION
By PAUL HASLUCK, the
Governor-General of Australia

WHEREAS by section 57 of the Constitution it is provided that if the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously: [Read more…]

A Blow To Democracy: The Age

Following Whitlam’s announcement of the double dissolution, The Age decried the circumstances that had led to the election.

In particular, The Age saw that the Opposition tactics could put future governments at threat: “Now the way is open for majority Senate Oppositions in the future to attach Catch 22 conditions to any money bill, any time. Of course they will not refuse Supply. They will simply not deign to talk money until the Government hands in its resignation.” [Read more…]

Full Poll In May: Sun

The Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial’s front page report on Whitlam’s announcement of a May 18 double dissolution election.

74-04-11_full-poll-in-may-sun-p1

Whitlam Announces 1974 Double Dissolution Election

The debacle over the Gair Affair and the Coalition’s threat to block Supply led Gough Whitlam to call a double dissolution election for May 18, 1974.

The double dissolution superceded the half-Senate election that was due by June 30.

After a week of turmoil and speculation over the fate of the government’s Supply bills, Whitlam rose in the House of Representatives just before 8.30pm on April 10 to announce that the Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck, had agreed to a double dissolution. This is Hansard’s record of the announcement: [Read more…]

Amidst Gair Affair, Killen And Daly Debate The Appropriation Bill

In the aftermath of the Gair Affair, the Coalition opposition announced that they would block the passage of the Whitlam government’s appropriation bill in the Senate.

A half-Senate election had already been called for May 18 but on the evening of April 9 speculation centred on whether Whitlam would call a double dissolution election. He eventually announced a double dissolution on April 10.

In the House of Representatives on April 9, the Liberal Party’s Jim Killen jousted with the Minister for Administrative Affairs, Fred Daly, in the debate on the Appropriation Bill. [Read more…]

Liberal Party Announces It Will Block Supply; Whitlam Threatens Double Dissolution

History was made in Canberra on April 4, 1974 with the announcement by the Liberal opposition that they would block two of the Whitlam government’s Supply Bills.

The announcement came as Gough Whitlam’s ploy to appoint former DLP leader Senator Vince Gair as Ambassador to Ireland unravelled.

This is a selection of radio and television reports on the day’s events. [Read more…]