Centenary Of ALP Caucus 1901-2001: Whitlam Speech

This is the text of a speech given by Whitlam to a Federation Anniversary Dinner in Melbourne celebrating the centenary of the Federal ALP Caucus.

The event was part of the centenary celebrations of Federation. The first Commonwealth Parliament met in Melbourne on May 9, 1901.

Whitlam was 84 years old at the time he made this speech.

Text of Gough Whitlam’s speech to the ALP’s Federation Anniversary Dinner, May 8, 2001.

For once, Shakespeare got it wrong. His Henry V said: “Old men forget.” My problem is the multitude of vivid memories brought about by the grandeur of the occasion, the association with my birthplace, the presence of so many colleagues and your warm and enthusiastic welcome. Maintain your zeal and your enthusiasm through the coming campaign and until polling day.

The Caucus I joined in 1953 had as many Boer War veterans as men who had seen active service in World War 11, three from each. The Ministry appointed on 5 December 1972 was composed entirely of ex-servicemen: Lance Barnard and me. [Read more…]

Newspapers Report Whitlam’s Election As ALP Leader

Gough Whitlam was elected leader of the ALP, succeeding Arthur Calwell, at a Caucus meeting on Wednesday, February 8, 1967.

Whitlam had been deputy leader since March 7, 1960. He was first elected to the House of Representatives seat of Werriwa (NSW) on November 29, 1952.

Whitlam polled 32 Caucus votes on the first ballot. He faced four opponents for the leadership: Dr. Jim Cairns (15), Frank Crean (12), Fred Daly (6) and Kim Beazley (3).

Following the elimination of Beazley, Whitlam received 33 votes on the second ballot, with Cairns remaining on 15, Crean remaining on 12 and Daly on 8.

Following the elimination of Daly, Whitlam received 39 votes on the third ballot, an absolute majority against Cairns on 15 and Crean on 14. [Read more…]