Sir John Kerr’s Letter Of Dismissal

This is the official letter handed to Whitlam by Kerr in the Governor-General’s study at Yarralumla at approximately 1.00pm on Tuesday November 11, 1975.

Kerr's Letter of Dismissal, 11-11-75

Text of Sir John Kerr’s letter of dismissal, handed to Gough Whitlam on November 11, 1975.

Dear Mr. Whitlam,

In accordance with section 64 of the Constitution I hereby determine your appointment as my Chief Adviser and Head of the Government. It follows that I also hereby determine the appointments of all the Ministers in your Government.

You have previously told me that you would never resign or advise an election of the House of Representatives or a double dissolution and that the only way in which such an election could be obtained would be by my dismissal of you and your ministerial colleagues. As it appeared likely that you would today persist in this attitude I decided that, if you did, I would determine your commission and state my reasons for doing so. You have persisted in your attitude and I have accordingly acted as indicated. I attach a statement of my reasons which I intend to publish immediately.

It is with a great deal of regret that I have taken this step both in respect of yourself and your colleagues.

I propose to send for the Leader of the Opposition and to commission him to form a new caretaker government until an election can be held.

Yours sincerely,
(sgnd John R. Kerr)

The Honourable E. G. Whitlam, QC, M.P.
11 November 1975

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