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…]

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 In His Own Words

SBS Television has broadcast a significant interview with Gough Whitlam.

The interview, conducted by the ALP Senate Leader, John Faulkner, was an 84-minute production culled from over 20 hours of discussion conducted over 3 days.

The interview came on the eve of three anniversaries: [Read more…]

Keating On Kerr

Sir John Kerr died in Sydney on April 7, 1991.

During the Condolence motion in the House of Representatives, the then Treasurer, Paul Keating, intervened in the debate after hearing the Opposition Leader, Dr. John Hewson, speak. [Read more…]

Whitlam Addresses The National Press Club On The Dismissal’s 10th Anniversary

Gough Whitlam addressed the National Press Club on November 11, 1985, ten years to the day since he was dismissed from office by Sir John Kerr.

WhitlamThe occasion also coincided with the launch of Whitlam’s new book, The Whitlam Government 1972-1975.

Whitlam had returned to Australia, on leave from his position in Paris as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO, the post to which he had been appointed by the Hawke government in 1983.

In his speech, Whitlam canvassed a wide range of issues, including the constitutional crisis of 1975. He damned Kerr for hid handling of what Whitlam said was a “political crisis” that was likely to resolve itself within days, if not hours.

The video of this National Press Club appearance is notable for its portrayal of Whitlam ten years after his government ended and seven years after he left parliament. [Read more…]

Il Dismissale: Max Gillies On The Dismissal

The Gillies Report was a golden moment on Australian television in the 1980s.

This is Il Dismissale, the segment satirising the Whitlam Dismissal. It was first broadcast in 1983.

The main roles are all played by Max Gillies, but look for John Clarke, Wendy Harmer, Patrick Cook and others. [Read more…]

Five Years After The Dismissal, Whitlam Speaks To Derryn Hinch

This is an interview Gough Whitlam gave to Derryn Hinch on Melbourne radio station 3AW on November 11, 1980.

It was five years to the day since Whitlam was dismissed. After leading the ALP to another election defeat in December 1977, Whitlam left Parliament in 1978.

Hinch began the interview by discussing reports of US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) involvement in the Dismissal but Whitlam preferred to focus on Sir John Kerr’s contact with Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick and an unnamed “intermediary” between Kerr and Fraser.

Whitlam was 64 years old at the time of the interview. [Read more…]

Whitlam And McClelland Speak At NSW Labor Lawyers Dinner

Gough Whitlam and former Senator Jim McClelland both addressed the NSW Labor Lawyers at a dinner in Sydney on July 4, 1980.

Following the 1974 federal election, McClelland was Whitlam’s Minister for Manufacturing Industry and then Minister for Labour and Immigration. First elected to the Senate in 1970, McClelland had retired on July 21, 1978, just ten days before Whitlam also resigned.

McClelland was appointed by the NSW Wran Labor government as the first Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court. He would go on to head the 1984 Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests. He died in 1999 at the age of 83. [Read more…]

Whitlam Launches “The Truth Of The Matter”

Whitlam appeared at the National Press Club to launch his book on the dismissal, The Truth of the Matter.

It was a classic Whitlam appearance, replete with witticisms and barbs at his opponents. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s T.J. Ryan Memorial Lecture: “Reform During Recession – The Way Ahead”

On April 28, 1978, four months after giving up the ALP leadership and three months before resigning from the Parliament, Whitlam delivered the Inaugural T.J. Ryan Memorial Lecture at the University of Queensland.

BookletThe lecture was hosted by the University’s ALP Club. They published the speech in booklet form, a PDF copy of which can be downloaded below.

Whitlam was introduced by Dr. Denis Murphy, an academic at the University of Queensland. Murphy was a Labor historian and biographer. In 1975, he published a biography of T.J. Ryan. Elected as the member for Stafford in the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1983, Murphy died of cancer in 1984, at age 47. He died without ever making a parliamentary speech.

Thomas Joseph Ryan’s life had also been cut short, at the age of 45, in 1921. Elected as the Labor member for Barcoo in the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1909, he became leader of the ALP in 1912 and Premier of Queensland in 1915. He was re-elected in 1918 and entered the Commonwealth Parliament in 1919 as the member for West Sydney, following an unprecedented resolution of a Special Federal Conference of the party requesting him to nominate. [Read more…]