Jim Cairns, Conscience Of Labor, Dies, 89

Dr. Jim Cairns, Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam Government, has died, aged 89, at his home in Melbourne.

Jim CairnsA former policeman, Cairns was a lecturer in Economics before entering Parliament as the Labor member for Yarra in 1955. He spent 17 years in Opposition before becoming a minister in the Whitlam Government in December 1972.

Cairns is best remembered for his opposition to Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1970 he organised and led a massive and peaceful Moratorium protest against the war.

He became Minister for Overseas Trade in the Whitlam Government’s first term. He replaced Lance Barnard as Deputy Prime Minister following the government’s re-election in 1974. His political influence rose further when he replaced Frank Crean, father of the current Labor leader, as Treasurer.

Cairns’ finest moment in government came with his handling of the destruction of Darwin by Cyclone Tracey on Christmas Day 1974. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s Press Conference Following Ministerial Reshuffle

Following a week of turmoil that ended in a ministerial reshuffle and the demotion of Jim Cairns and Clyde Cameron, Whitlam held a press conference and faced questions on the loans affair and other matters.

Whitlam made a brief statement (not included on the recording below) and then took questions. The full transcript is shown below.

The press conference took place on Tuesday, June 10, 1975, in Canberra. [Read more…]

Alan Ramsey: Hawke The Squawk

In June 1975, Whitlam conducted a reshuffle of his ministry.

Bill Hayden became Treasurer.

Dr. Jim Cairns was demoted to Environment minister, becoming the only Treasurer never to present a Budget.

The Loans Affair was about to erupt again.

Whitlam and Barnard would soon precipitate the disastrous Bass by-election.

And Alan Ramsey reported in Melbourne’s Sunday Press that Bob Hawke’s position as ALP President might be in jeopardy…

Sunday Press
Sunday Press
Sunday Press

Of course, the important news of the day was still on Page 1:

Sunday Press
Sunday Press

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…]