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”.

During the constitutional crisis precipitated by the Opposition’s use of its Senate numbers to defer the Supply Bills in October, the Whitlam Cabinet took a decision not to provide funds for government Christmas cards. The Cabinet documents also reveal the detail of the government’s attempts to make alternative arrangements to pay public servants, contractors, etc.

The National Archives has highlighted a number of Cabinet papers – all PDF, will open in new window:

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