Rex Connor, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, resigned from the Whitlam ministry on October 14, 1975.
Connor’s resignation was sought by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam after revelations in the Melbourne Herald newspaper that Connor had continued to seek overseas loans through the Pakistani intermediary Tirath Khemlani.
Connor’s behaviour constituted misleading parliament. In doing so, Connor had caused Whitlam to also mislead parliament.
Connor’s demise provided the Opposition with the excuse it needed to block Supply. The reprehensible circumstances Fraser had referred to when he became Liberal Party leader in March 1975 were now at hand.
The Herald story, written by Peter Game, was published on October 6. The front page is shown below.
On October 8, Connor gave an interview to the ABC’s PM in which he denied communicating with Khemlani. Connor likened the media coverage to the “big lie” technique of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.
- Listen to Connor (7m)
Several weeks prior to his resignation, Connor spoke to Channel 9’s Michael Schildberger about his loan raising attempts.
- Listen to Connor and Schildberger (16m)