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Posts published in “Year: 1974

Whitlam Announces 1974 Double Dissolution Election

The debacle over the Gair Affair and the Coalition’s threat to block Supply led Gough Whitlam to call a double dissolution election for May 18, 1974.

The double dissolution superceded the half-Senate election that was due by June 30.

After a week of turmoil and speculation over the fate of the government’s Supply bills, Whitlam rose in the House of Representatives just before 8.30pm on April 10 to announce that the Governor-General, Sir Paul Hasluck, had agreed to a double dissolution. This is Hansard’s record of the announcement:

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.

Liberal Party Announces It Will Block Supply; Whitlam Threatens Double Dissolution

History was made in Canberra on April 4, 1974 with the announcement by the Liberal opposition that they would block two of the Whitlam government’s Supply Bills.

The announcement came as Gough Whitlam’s ploy to appoint former DLP leader Senator Vince Gair as Ambassador to Ireland unravelled.

This is a selection of radio and television reports on the day’s events.

Whitlam Questioned On Gair Appointment

The appointment of the former DLP leader, Senator Vince Gair, as Ambassador to Ireland was broken in the Sun by Laurie Oakes on April 2, 1974.

CT

Gair had grown disgruntled with his colleagues. His appointment was based on the idea that his resignation from the Senate would create an additional vacancy in Queensland. With a half-Senate election scheduled for May 18, Whitlam’s hope was that the ALP could win 3 of the 6 vacancies and ease the government’s position in the Senate.