Whitlam Comments On Barwick’s Letter To Kerr

Gough Whitlam commented in detail on Sir Garfield Barwick’s letter to Sir John Kerr in a speech to The Sydney Institute in 1997.

On November 10, 1975, Barwick tendered legal advice to Sir John Kerr that approved of Kerr’s intention to dismiss Whitlam.

Text of Gough Whitlam’s speech to The Sydney Institute.

I am doubly indebted to Gerard Henderson; first, for inviting me to address the Sydney Institute; and secondly, for providing me, albeit unwittingly, with the text for these introductory remarks.

More than that, Gerard has set down one of the main reasons why I chose to spend a considerable part of the past couple of years writing a book. [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…]

Twentieth Anniversary: Maintain Your Rage And Enthusiasm

On the 20th anniversary of the Dismissal, Whitlam spoke at a commemorative dinner at the now Old Parliament House in Canberra.

The speech deals with many of the constitutional and political issues raised by the Dismissal, including the role played by the High Court Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick.

“Maintain your rage and your enthusiasm through the campaign for the election now to be held and until polling day.”

Ladies and gentlemen,

I refer emphatically to the next Federal election.

The ultimate answer to those who sought to deny the legitimacy of a Labor Government, not just in November 1975, but from the beginning, after December 1972, will be a Labor victory in 1996.

In quoting myself from my impromptu remarks out there on the steps, I want to be understood in a thoroughly contemporary sense. [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…]

Sir Garfield Barwick’s Advice To Sir John Kerr

On Sunday, November 9, 1975, two days before he dismissed Gough Whitlam, the Governor-General met with the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick.

On November 10, Barwick, a former Liberal Party minister under Menzies, tendered this advice to Kerr about his constitutional powers.

Text of High Court Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick’s advice to the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

Dear Sir John,

In response to Your Excellency’s invitation I attended this day at Admiralty House. In our conversations I indicated that I considered myself, as Chief Justice of Australia, free, on Your Excellency’s request, to offer you legal advice as to Your Excellency’s constitutional rights and duties in relation to an existing situation which, of its nature, was unlikely to come before the Court. We both clearly understood that I was not in any way concerned with matters of a purely political kind, or with any political consequences of the advice I might give.

In response to Your Excellency’s request for my legal advice as to whether a course on which you had determined was consistent with your constitutional authority on duty, I respectfully offer the following. [Read more…]