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Bob Ellicott Says Governor-General Has Power To Dismiss Whitlam

This is an interview with Liberal MP Bob Ellicott on Channel 9’s Federal File program on October 19, 1975.

EllicottEllicott, the member for Wentworth, was Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth before entering parliament. He was a cousin of the Chief Justice of the High Court and former Liberal MP, Sir Garfield Barwick.

Ellicott was interviewed by Channel 9’s Peter Harvey.

Ellicott argued that the Governor-General was entitled to dismiss the prime minister if “proper” advice was not given. He said there were certain circumstances in which the Governor-General should feel that he has a duty to dismiss his ministers.

Two days earlier, Ellicott submitted a legal opinion along these lines to the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. Five days earlier, he outlined his argument in a Sydney Morning Herald article.

The veteran political journalist Alan Reid comments on the interview at the end of the recording and predicts that Dr. H. V. Evatt’s interpretation of the vice-regal power would prevail.

The audio of the interview is clear but slightly muffled.

  • Listen to Ellicott’s interview (5m)