Gough Whitlam’s Eulogy For Sir James Killen

Gough Whitlam has delivered the eulogy for Sir James Killen at his funeral service at St. John’s Cathedral, Brisbane.

Killen died last week at the age of 81. A Member of Parliament for the House of Representatives Division of Moreton from 1955 until 1983, Killen served as Defence Minister in the Fraser Government.

In his eulogy, Whitlam said: “Jim Killen was a proud Australian parliamentarian and a great one. In his career Parliament was as significant as the ministerial offices he held with distinction. His influence, his abiding interest in the great affairs of our country, his fascination with the intricate interplay of the political machinery, his knowledge of and respect for the Constitution, all came from his love of Parliament. He understood completely the indispensable role of strong political parties as the mainstay of our parliamentary democracy.”

This is the text of the Eulogy delivered by Gough Whitlam at the state funeral of Sir James Killen, at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane.

Denis James KillenThe last time I spoke in public about Jim Killen was at the Irish Club on 19 November 2005, his 80th birthday.

The last Jim spoke in public about me was in Sydney last July, my 90th birthday.

Between those two public occasions, we spoke to each other by phone, regularly and almost religiously, usually Sunday, as indeed we had done for more than a decade, and were to do almost to the end. [Read more…]

Whitlam’s Message To The Liberal Party’s Killen Dinner

Jim Killen served in the House of Representatives as the Liberal member for Moreton from 1955 until 1983.

Killen was famous for having won his seat on Communist Party preferences at the 1961 election, saving the Menzies government from defeat. He invented a famous story that Robert Menzies told him: “Killen, you’re magnificent.”

Killen was Minister for Navy in the Gorton government from 1969 until 1971, and Minister for Defence in the Fraser government from 1975 until 1982.

Throughout their parliamentary careers, Whitlam and Killen maintained a jocular friendship, that is reflected in the message shown below. [Read more…]

That Politicians Have Lost Their Sense Of Humour

This is the text of Gough Whitlam’s contribution to a debate at the Sydney Town Hall.

The Order in the House debate was on the topic: “That politicians have lost their sense of humour.”

Ma’am, Prime Minister, Men and Women of Australasia –

I unsuccessfully stood for the New South Wales Parliament in 1950. A year later a Labor MLA named Howard was caught in bed with another man’s wife. A private inquiry agent gave evidence that Howard was wearing only his sox. When Howard next spoke in the House there were constant interjections: “Why were you wearing sox for sex?” At last he replied “So I wouldn’t catch a social disease”. Immediately there were cries “What social disease did she have?” He replied “Tinea”. I couldn’t again stand for a Parliament where the humour was so vulgar. I should add that Howard’s conduct made him very popular in the cattle country he represented. He survived till 1968. His surname was Fowles. The judge who heard the case said he had barnyard morals. [Read more…]

Amidst Gair Affair, Killen And Daly Debate The Appropriation Bill

In the aftermath of the Gair Affair, the Coalition opposition announced that they would block the passage of the Whitlam government’s appropriation bill in the Senate.

A half-Senate election had already been called for May 18 but on the evening of April 9 speculation centred on whether Whitlam would call a double dissolution election. He eventually announced a double dissolution on April 10.

In the House of Representatives on April 9, the Liberal Party’s Jim Killen jousted with the Minister for Administrative Affairs, Fred Daly, in the debate on the Appropriation Bill. [Read more…]