Gough Whitlam’s Eulogy For Lance Barnard: “My Oldest And Best Mate”

Lance Barnard died on August 6, 1997, at the age of 78.

Barnard, the member for the Tasmanian seat of Bass (1954-75), was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence during the first term of the Whitlam government. Barnard also served in the two-man ministry, with Whitlam between December 3-19, 1972. He held 14 portfolios in the interim administration, one more than Whitlam.

Barnard had been deputy to Whitlam since their election on February 8, 1967. Following the 1974 election, Barnard was replaced as deputy by Dr. Jim Cairns. Shortly afterwards, Whitlam appointed Barnard as Ambassador to Sweden, Norway and Finland.

In the ensuing by-election in Bass, there was a 14.3% swing against the ALP and the seat was won by the Liberal Party’s Kevin Newman. The by-election signalled the unpopularity of the Whitlam government and probably emboldened the Coalition to block Supply a few months later. [Read more…]

Tanner Cartoon: Bass By-Election

This cartoon by Les Tanner appeared in The Age on July 1, 1975.

It followed Labor’s defeat in the Bass by-election on June 28.

Tanner

[Cartoon published by kind permission of the Les Tanner Estate]


The by-election was caused by the resignation of Lance Barnard, who had held the seat since 1954. Following the 1974 federal election, Barnard was replaced as deputy ALP leader and deputy prime minister by Dr. Jim Cairns. Whitlam appointed Barnard as Ambassador to Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The ALP suffered a two-party-preferred swing of 14.3% in the by-election and lost the seat to the Liberal Party’s Kevin Newman by 60.3% to 39.7%. The Labor candidate, John Macrostie, polled just 36.5% of the primary vote, a drop of 17.5%.

The by-election was evidence of severe voter dissatisfaction with the Whitlam government. It is widely regarded as contributing to Fraser’s decision to block the budget in October 1975.

Australian Editorial: Bass Thumps Whitlam

This is an editorial from The Australian, published on June 30, 1975, the Monday after the Bass by-election.

Australian


Sunday Observer: Get Out Gough

This is the front page of Melbourne’s Sunday Observer on Sunday, June 29, 1975, following the ALP’s defeat in the Bass by-election.

Observer


Bass By-Election: Labor In Need Of A Miracle

Labor was annihilated in the Bass by-election on June 28, 1975.

This is the “Politically Speaking” column by Laurie Oakes in the Melbourne Sun on the morning of the by-election.

The by-election was caused by the resignation of Whitlam’s first deputy prime minister, Lance Barnard.

Oakes

 

PM, Teacher Clash At Bass Meeting

“You are a disgrace to your profession,” Mr. Whitlam told the Launceston school teacher.

The Age