Sir Garfield Barwick was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia at the time of the Whitlam Dismissal.
Barwick provided formal written advice to Sir John Kerr, supporting his decision to dismiss Whitlam.
It is now known that another High Court Judge, Sir Anthony Mason, played an even more significant role in the events leading up to November 11. Indeed, Mason was active in advising Kerr on the day itself.
Barwick was a successful barrister. In the late 1940s, he successfully represented the banks in their application to the High Court to invalidate the Chifley Labor government’s bank nationalisation legislation.
In 1958, Barwick entered the House of Representatives as the Liberal member for Parramatta. He served as Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs until he was appointed Chief Justice of the High Court in 1964.
Barwick was a cousin of Robert Ellicott, the Liberal MP and former Solicitor-General, who was one of the first to argue for a vice-regal dismissal of Whitlam.
In his retirement, Barwick wrote a book supporting the actions of Sir John Kerr. It was titled: Sir John Did His Duty.
He died in 1997, at the age of 94.
Archived posts on Sir Garfield Barwick
- October 14, 1975: Ellicott Says The Governor-General Will Have To Dismiss Whitlam If Supply Is Blocked
- November 10, 1975: Sir Garfield Barwick’s Advice To Sir John Kerr
- November 11, 1995: Twentieth Anniversary: Maintain Your Rage And Enthusiasm
- November 11, 1995: 20 Years On: Four Corners Remembers The Dismissal
- July 8, 1997: Whitlam Comments On Barwick’s Letter To Kerr
- August 24, 2012: Mason: The Third Man In Whitlam’s Downfall
- August 27, 2012: Mason Disputes Details But Largely Confirms Kerr’s Account Of Their Discussions