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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.

The ABC’s PM program ran a special lunchtime edition at 1.00pm to cover what appeared to be the most significant development in the three-week constitutional crisis.

Sometime before 2pm, word began to filter through that Whitlam had been dismissed. People listening to PM were already way behind the real news.

  • Listen to PM (28m)