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…]

Sir Robert Menzies Supports The Blocking Of Supply

A few days after the constitutional crisis began, the former Prime Minister and founder of the Liberal Party, Sir Robert Menzies, issued a statement supporting Malcolm Fraser’s decision to block Supply.

MenziesMenzies said he was compelled to speak out because of the “nonsense” being talked about the constitutional position of the Senate.

Menzies said that powers of the Senate were expressly set out in the Constitution. “It would be absurd to suppose that the draftsmen of the constitution conferred these powers on the senate with a mental reservation that they should never be exercised.”

Whilst acknowledging that the Senate ought not exercise its power just because it objected to a particular financial measure, Menzies said: “But these are not the circumstances today. The government has, in the last 12 months, itself put up a record of unconstitutionality and, if it is not too strong a word, misconduct on a variety of occasions.”

Menzies was Australia’s longest-serving prime minister. He held office on two occasions, between 1939-41 and 1949-66, for just over 18 years in total. He initiated the formation of the Liberal Party in 1944.

Text of statement released by Sir Robert Menzies.

Statement by Sir Robert Menzies

As is well known, I have, for a long time abstained from entering into any current political controversy. But the circumstances today are such as to compel me to break that silence. For, quite simply, I think more nonsense is being talked about the constitutional position of the senate than I can comfortably listen to, or read. [Read more…]