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Archives for 2005

1975 Cabinet Papers Released

The National Archives of Australia has tonight released Cabinet documents from 1975.

The documents cover the period of the Second Whitlam Government until its dismissal on November 11, 1975, and the First and Second Fraser Governments from November 11 and December 22.

A mass of documents is now available that will take some time to come to grips with. An early perusal shows that Treasurer Jim Cairns described the economic situation at the beginning of 1975 as “very bad” and said “there are no quick solutions”. Cairns advocated deficit reduction but not to the extent that it jeopardised the government’s program. Later in the year, the new Treasurer, Bill Hayden, also contemplated a rising deficit and said it was “as attractive as going to sleep in the snow”. [Read more…]

Cutler Advised Kerr To Warn Whitlam

A new allegation has surfaced that the then Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, discussed his intention to dismiss the Whitlam Government with the then Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler.

Sir Roden CutlerSir Roden’s nephew, David Tyrer, in a letter to Whitlam last November, claims that Kerr discussed his intentions with Cutler. Tyrer asserts that Cutler cautioned Kerr to advise Whitlam of his intentions.

The allegation is contained in an article by Alan Ramsey in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. Headed “Why that old Whitlam fire just won’t die”, Ramsey discusses the forthcoming release of the 1975 Cabinet Papers. A briefing for journalists was held by the National Archives last week but under the 30-year rule the cabinet papers are embargoed until midnight on January 1, 2006. [Read more…]

The Dismissal – 30th Anniversary

Thirty years after The Dismissal, it remained a subject of intense media scrutiny.

In the weeks leading up to November 11, 2005, the Australian media devoted considerable space to reminiscences and analyses. [Read more…]

Howard Defends Kerr

On the 30th anniversary of the dismissal of the Whitlam Government, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has again defended the actions of the then Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

Speaking on ABC radio, Howard said: “It was a product of the clash of political wills between two sides of politics and they knew that at the time and this retrospective attempt to paint John Kerr as the dark evil doer of terrible deeds has just been so unfair and one of the great historical distortions of my life.” [Read more…]

Philhellenes And Philologists: NSW Teachers Of Modern Greek

This is the text of a speech by Gough Whitlam to the NSW Teachers of Modern Greek Association, in Bankstown.

Philhellenes and philologists

The ancient Greek gods are alive and well. Athena and Phevos will make the awards at to-day’s ceremony in Bankstown. Last year their images presided over the splendid Olympics in Athens. Throughout Australia the Governor-General makes more and more appearances as Zeus to express his omnipotence. A generation ago a Governor-General whom I had chosen made an unforgettable appearance as Bacchus to present the Melbourne Cup at Flemington in Victoria.

The matters on which I should address you are (a) how important is the Greek language in Australia? (b) how important is Greek civilisation to Australia? [Read more…]

Graham Kennedy, The King, Dies, 71

The man acknowledged as a comic genius by his peers, Graham Kennedy, has died, aged 71, in Bowral, NSW.

Graham Kennedy - The KingKennedy compered In Melbourne Tonight (IMT) on Channel 9. Later, he compered the Drive program on Melbourne’s 3LO, now known as 774, with Richard Combe.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Kennedy hosted a game show, Blankety Blanks, and a late-night news program.

Kennedy also had a keen interest in politics. In 1972, the Whitlam government had appointed a Minister for the Media, Senator Doug McClelland, father of the current ALP shadow minister for Defence and Homeland Security, Robert McClelland. In a rare expression of political opinion, Kennedy launched into McClelland on April 17, 1975, calling for McClelland to be sacked and the portfolio to be dropped. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s Tribute To Mark Latham

Mark Latham resigned as leader of the ALP on January 18, 2005.

This is Gough Whitlam’s tribute to Latham.

Since his last days at school I have known Mark Latham as a person of outstanding character and capacity with a zest for public service.

As the Leader of the Australian Labor Party from February 1967 to December 1977 and the Member for Werriwa from November 1952 to July 1978 I am proud of Mark’s achievements in both positions I held.

It is tragic that his agonising ailment has prematurely ended his public career. Margaret and I shall always regard Mark and Janine and their children with great affection and admiration.