Lunchtime On November 11: The Media Reacts To The Calling Of A Half Senate Election

Following his dismissal, Whitlam returned to The Lodge and ate a steak for lunch. It was just after 1pm.

The media was covering what it believed to be the calling of a half-Senate election.

The half-Senate election had to be held by around May 1976. New senators would not take their seats until July 1, 1976. However, the new Territory senators would take their places immediately. Whilst no-one seriously believed the election would alter the balance of numbers in the Senate, Whitlam’s strategy was to put pressure on the Opposition to pass the Budget bills. [Read more…]

The First Day Of The Constitutional Crisis

The first full day of the constitutional crisis saw debates and votes in parliament and a developing protest movement outside parliament.

Whitlam initiated a confidence motion in his government in the House of Representatives that was passed by 62 votes to 57.

The former Liberal prime minister, John Gorton, crossed the floor to vote with the Labor government. Gorton was a bitter foe of Malcolm Fraser, stemming from the 1971 conflict which saw Fraser resign from Gorton’s cabinet, precipitating Gorton’s downfall and replacement by William McMahon. [Read more…]