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…]

Australia Needs A New Flag

This is an extract from Gough Whitlam’s speech at the ALP Annual Dinner in Melbourne.

On the question of national identity, I come to an even more emotive topic, the Flag. Australians need a flag which is recognisable in all other countries and is acceptable to everyone in this country. When the Flags Act was passed in 1953 the only members of the UN and the Commonwealth which included the Union Jack in their flags were the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. At that time the Union Jack was also included in the flags of six UN trust territories, including New Guinea. None of them included it in the national flags which they adopted on independence.

Today the only members of the UN which include the Union Jack in their flags are the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and the only members of the Commonwealth which do so are the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Tuvalu. Canada is the oldest member of the Commonwealth and South Africa has been readmitted to it. The flag of neither country now includes the Union Jack. [Read more…]

Gough Whitlam’s Post-Dismissal Press Conference

Whitlam was dismissed as Prime Minister at 1pm on November 11. The Parliament was dissolved at around 4.45pm.

After delivering his famous speech on the steps of Parliament House, Whitlam held a press conference.

WHITLAM: Clearly the great issue, almost the sole issue of this campaign will be whether the Government which the people elected with a majority in the House of Representatives will be allowed to govern from now on. The whole of this system is under challenge as we see. Now up till the very last division in the House of Representatives where, we have always believed, governments should be made and unmade. We won that division by a majority of ten votes; sixty-four for us, fifty-four for the others. And during this campaign the overwhelming issue will be, are we to have three year Governments in Australia; is the Party which gets a majority in the House of Representatives to be allowed to govern? That is, it’s the future of Parliamentary democracy as we have known it. [Read more…]