Malcolm Fraser’s Whitlam Oration

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has delivered the 2012 Whitlam Oration to the Whitlam Institute in Sydney.

Malcolm Fraser

Nearly thirty-seven years after the Fraser-led coalition parties blocked the Budget and Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam government, Fraser remarked that in the 1970s “few people would have believed that Malcolm Fraser would be delivering a Gough Whitlam oration”.

Fraser, 82, spoke mainly about foreign policy and international politics, and issues concerning race, immigration and refugees. [Read more…]

Santamaria’s Role In The Dismissal

Bartholomew Augustine Santamaria wrote a speech justifying the blocking of Supply for then Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser in September 1975, according to The Australian newspaper.

B.A. SantamariaThe paper’s political editor, Dennis Shanahan, writes that the speech “is styled as if it were written by Mr. Fraser and says the Opposition should breach the conventions of the Constitution if not doing so “endangers the future of Australia”.

The speech, entitled “Govern or Get Out”, is contained in Santamaria’s papers, now held by the State Library of Victoria. The speech was sent to Fraser on September 18, 1975. [Read more…]

Has Malcolm Changed?

After years of being hated by the ALP and those on the Left of the political spectrum, Malcolm Fraser’s public persona underwent a significant change during the 1990s.

Fraser was a supporter of a Republic, a critic of globalisation, and urged scepticism towards our alliance with the United States. He joined with Gough Whitlam to oppose media ownership regulations.

Most notably, he became an active supporter of Aboriginal Reconciliation and Native Title, and a critic of the Howard government over issues such as Manadatory Sentencing, the Stolen Generations and Refugees.

Pilita Clark, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, analysed the changes in perceptions of Fraser.

[Extracts from “The Winter Of My Malcontent”, by Pilita Clark, January 5, 2002, Sydney Morning Herald.]

..We grew up amid the bucolic charms of south-west Victoria and for all of my formative years our local member was Malcolm Fraser.

I was reminded of this when I returned at Christmas to the family home, where one of my brothers was waiting to give me a highly singular gift. [Read more…]

20 Years On: Four Corners Remembers The Dismissal

Four Corners broadcast a 20-year anniversary program on The Dismissal in November 1995. [Read more…]

Whitlam: The Coup Twenty Years After

This is the text of Gough Whitlam’s Address to the National Press Club on the 20th anniversary of The Dismissal.

Mr President, Citizens

It’s always a great pleasure for me to return to the National Press Club, not only because of our long association but because of its importance as a forum. In my time, the party leaders wound up their campaigns here. Now, Labor Prime Ministers use the lunch to launch policies and Liberal leaders to launch themselves.

There must have been a certain inevitability in my being invited back around the time of the 20th anniversary of 11 November 1975. Media interest has been intense and I have had to limit my acceptance of requests for interviews and articles. One of the reasons, frankly, is that I am not preoccupied with the Dismissal. My chief interest in the events of October/November 1975, dramatic as they were, now lies in their relevance to the development of Australia as a Republic. That makes it doubly important that the Australian public should have an accurate understanding of those events and the motives of those who took part in them. [Read more…]

Ten Years On, Channel 9’s Sunday Program Remembers The Dismissal

Ten years after the Dismissal, Gough Whitlam returned to Australia to launch his new book on the Whitlam Government.

Sunday

Whitlam was on leave from his posting as Ambassador to UNESCO, the job he was given by the Hawke Labor government after it won the 1983 election.

As part of the media coverage of the 10th anniversary of the Dismissal, Channel 9’s Sunday program devoted an entire program to reviewing the Whitlam years. The complete video of the program is available on this page. [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…]

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…]

Fraser’s Acceptance Of A Caretaker Commission

Following Kerr’s dismissal of Whitlam, Fraser agreed to a number of conditions in return for being commissioned as prime minister.

The most important of these were his commitments to securing the passage of Supply and the recommendation of a double dissolution of the Parliament. He also agreed that his government would act as a caretaker government until elections were held.

Fraser was sworn in as prime minister at approximately 1.30pm.

Letter from Malcolm Fraser to Sir John Kerr on November 11, 1975.

Your Excellency,

You have intimated to me that it is Your Excellency’s pleasure that I should act as your Chief Adviser and Head of the Government.

In accepting your commission I confirm that I have given you an assurance that I shall immediately seek to secure the passage of the Appropriation Bills which are at present before the Senate, thus ensuring supply for the carrying on of the Public Service in all its branches. I further confirm that, upon the granting of supply, I shall immediately recommend to Your Excellency the dissolution of both Houses of the Parliament.

My government will act as a caretaker government and will make no appointments or dismissals or inititate new policies before a general election is held.

Yours sincerely,
(sgnd J. M. Fraser)

His Excellency the Honourable Sir John Kerr,
A.C., K.C.M.G., K.St.J., Q.C.

11 November 1975

Fraser Says Blocking Supply Is Justified By Economic Circumstances And Government Scandals

Like Whitlam, Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser did the rounds of the Sunday television shows on Sunday, October 19, 1975.

He defended the blocking of Supply on Channel 7’s This Week program. The program was hosted by Brian Naylor. The interview was conducted by Dan Webb and Tom Worland.

Fraser argued that economic circumstances and the Loans Affair scandals justified the blocking of Supply. [Read more…]