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Did The Earth Move For You Too, Dear…

This is one of the most loved of Peter Nicholson’s cartoons featuring the Whitlams.

Gough and Margaret Whitlam were in Tientsin, China, in 1977 when a severe earthquake struck. At first, the Whitlams’ whereabouts was not known. We now know that the earthquake was at that time one of the worst natural disasters ever. Officially, a quarter of a million people died, although the real figure could be much higher.

An article on Inside Story by Richard Whitington, a member of Whitlam’s staff, provides a detailed account of the earthquake.

Nicholson’s cartoons drew some criticism at the time for being in poor taste. As Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2014: “Gough bought the original, framed it and hung it over the marital bed. The Whitlams had a sense of humour. And Gough was entirely at home with great tectonic shifts.”

Nicholson


Bruce Petty Loans Affair Cartoon

As criticism of the Loans Affair rained down on Gough Whitlam, Bruce Petty looked at the credibility of European criticism.

The cartoon appeared in The Australian.

The Australian

Tanner Cartoon: Bass By-Election

This cartoon by Les Tanner appeared in The Age on July 1, 1975.

It followed Labor’s defeat in the Bass by-election on June 28.

Tanner

[Cartoon published by kind permission of the Les Tanner Estate]


The by-election was caused by the resignation of Lance Barnard, who had held the seat since 1954. Following the 1974 federal election, Barnard was replaced as deputy ALP leader and deputy prime minister by Dr. Jim Cairns. Whitlam appointed Barnard as Ambassador to Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The ALP suffered a two-party-preferred swing of 14.3% in the by-election and lost the seat to the Liberal Party’s Kevin Newman by 60.3% to 39.7%. The Labor candidate, John Macrostie, polled just 36.5% of the primary vote, a drop of 17.5%.

The by-election was evidence of severe voter dissatisfaction with the Whitlam government. It is widely regarded as contributing to Fraser’s decision to block the budget in October 1975.

Collette Cartoon: Bass By-Election

This cartoon by Collette appeared in the Melbourne Herald on June 30, 1975.

It appeared two days after Labor was defeated in the Bass by-election in Tasmania.

Collette