Archives for November 1975

Malcolm Fraser’s 1975 Election Policy Speech

Malcolm Fraser delivered the Liberal Party Policy Speech for the 1975 Federal Election in Melbourne on November 27.

The speech was delayed by two days due to Fraser being ill.

  • Listen to audio of Fraser’s televised speech (30m)

Transcript of Caretaker Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s 1975 Election Policy Speech.

FraserThe Australian people face a historic decision on December 13.

On that day, we will be deciding the future of our country.

Let us all as Australians determine to restore prosperity, defeat inflation and provide jobs for all.

Let us all as Australians decide to reward initiative and encourage achievement.

Let us decide to realise at last the aspirations of all Australians for security, self-respect and for freedom to control our own lives.

This election results from the dishonesty and incompetence of the Whitlam Labor Government. [Read more…]

Doug Anthony’s 1975 Country Party Policy Speech

This is the audio of Country Party leader Doug Anthony’s policy speech for the 1975 Federal Election.

Anthony was Deputy Prime Minister in the caretaker Fraser administration, appointed following the Dismissal of the Whitlam government on November 11. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s 1975 Election Policy Speech

Gough Whitlam delivered his policy speech for the 1975 election at Melbourne’s Festival Hall on Monday, November 24.

  • Listen to Whitlam’s speech in full
  • Listen to the crowd chant ‘We Want Gough’
  • Listen to Whitlam’s opening words

Men and Women of Australia,

The whole future of Australian democracy is in your hands.

The decision you make on 13 December goes far beyond who shall govern Australia for a few months or a few years. It goes to the heart of how Australia is to be governed into the Twenty-First Century.

Above all, Australia must be re-united – united about our basic faith in the value of Parliamentary democracy; as a means for change, and as a means for good government.

The shame of the past six weeks must be wiped away. In those shameful six weeks, a stacked Senate went on strike against a Budget vital to Australia’s welfare and the nation’s economy. The nation and the nation’s elected government were held to ransom. And by those means, the elected government in full command of the confidence of Parliament was deposed.

Is Australia to continue to be a Parliamentary democracy? Are we to have governments elected by the people, through the People’s House? Are elected governments to govern? [Read more…]

Letter From The Queen’s Private Secretary

Following the Dismissal, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gordon Scholes, wrote to the Queen, expressing concern about the Governor-General’s actions.

This letter is the response from the Queen’s Private Secretary.

I am commanded by The Queen to acknowledge your letter of 12th November about the recent political events in Australia. You ask that The Queen should act to restore Mr. Whitlam to office as Prime Minister.

As we understand the situation here, the Australian Constitution firmly places the prerogative powers of the Crown in the hands of the Governor-General as the representative of the Queen of Australia. The only person competent to commission an Australian Prime Minister is the Governor-General, and The Queen has no part in the decisions which the Governor-General must take in accordance with the Constitution. Her Majesty, as Queen of Australia, is watching events in Canberra with close interest and attention, but it would not be proper for her to intervene in person in matters which are so clearly placed within the jurisdiction of the Governor-General by the Constitution Act.

I understand that you have been good enough to send a copy of your letter to the Governor-General so I am writing to His Excellency to say that the text of your letter has been received her in London and has been laid before the The Queen.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Governor-General.

17 November 1975

Selected Audio Clips From The Constitutional Crisis

These audio clips cover some of the key moments of the constitutional crisis from October 15 through to November 12, 1975.

All of these clips appear on individual posts that provide more detailed information on the events in question.

The clips are provided here for quick access. [Read more…]

Vice-Regal Notice – November 11

In 1975, Government House prepared a Vice-Regal notice that major broadsheet newspapers would publish.

This is the notice that appeared on page 2 of the Canberra Times on November 12, 1975.

Vice-Regal

Text of the Vice-Regal notice published on November 12, 1975.

The Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, and Lady Kerr attended the Remembrance Day commemoration ceremony at the Australian War Memorial yesterday morning.

Later, Sir John received Mr Whitlam at Government House and determined his commission as Prime Minister.

Afterwards, he received Mr Fraser and administered the requisite oath of office as Prime Minister.

In the afternoon, Sir John received the Prime Minister, Mr Fraser, and Mr C. W. Harders, Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department, at Government House.

Later, he received the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Scholes, at Government House.

Cutting The Knot: Sydney Morning Herald Editorial

This is the the Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial on the morning after the dismissal of the Whitlam government.

Unlike The Age in Melbourne, the Herald supported Kerr’s decision.

The editorial appeared on page one of the newspaper. An image and the full text is shown below.

SMH Editorial

Text of editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, November 12, 1975.

Cutting the knot

It is for the people now to decide the issue which the two leaders have failed to settle – The Governor-General. [Read more…]

Peter Bowers: Bulldog Becomes The Underdog

This was the assessment of the events of November 11 by the Sydney Morning Herald’s political correspondent, Peter Bowers.

The article appeared on page 10 of the November 12, 1975 edition of the paper.

Bowers

Sir John Was Wrong: The Age

Decades on, the editorial in The Age newspaper on November 12, 1975, remains one of the clearest statements of the arguments against Sir John Kerr’s actions the previous day.

Age

Editorial, The Age, November 12, 1975.

Sir John was wrong

Yesterday was the most extraordinary in the political life of this nation. It was also one of the most regrettable. The decision of the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, to dismiss the Whitlam Government was, we believe, a triumph of narrow legalism over common sense and popular feeling. We do not deny that Sir John had been placed in an appallingly difficult position by two stubborn men. We accept that he had a legal power to do as he did, and that he acted in good faith. But we believe he was wrong. We are not convinced the decision he took was the only one open to him, or that it was necessary to take it now. He has certainly not explained himself adequately. [Read more…]

Gough Whitlam’s Post-Dismissal Press Conference

Whitlam was dismissed as Prime Minister at 1pm on November 11. The Parliament was dissolved at around 4.45pm.

After delivering his famous speech on the steps of Parliament House, Whitlam held a press conference.

WHITLAM: Clearly the great issue, almost the sole issue of this campaign will be whether the Government which the people elected with a majority in the House of Representatives will be allowed to govern from now on. The whole of this system is under challenge as we see. Now up till the very last division in the House of Representatives where, we have always believed, governments should be made and unmade. We won that division by a majority of ten votes; sixty-four for us, fifty-four for the others. And during this campaign the overwhelming issue will be, are we to have three year Governments in Australia; is the Party which gets a majority in the House of Representatives to be allowed to govern? That is, it’s the future of Parliamentary democracy as we have known it. [Read more…]