Gough Whitlam's biographer, Jenny Hocking, has revealed hitherto unknown details of the role played by High Court Justice Sir Anthony Mason in the Whitlam dismissal. She discusses Mason's involvement in a video posted on Fairfax websites.
Posts published in “Documents”
Gough Whitlam commented in detail on Sir Garfield Barwick’s letter to Sir John Kerr in a speech to The Sydney Institute in 1997.
On November 10, 1975, Barwick tendered legal advice to Sir John Kerr that approved of Kerr’s intention to dismiss Whitlam.
Text of Gough Whitlam’s speech to The Sydney Institute.
I am doubly indebted to Gerard Henderson; first, for inviting me to address the Sydney Institute; and secondly, for providing me, albeit unwittingly, with the text for these introductory remarks.
More than that, Gerard has set down one of the main reasons why I chose to spend a considerable part of the past couple of years writing a book.
Text of a letter from the Queen's Private Secretary to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gordon Scholes.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gordon Scholes, wrote to the Queen on November 12 expressing alarm about the actions of the Governor-General. Scholes was the ALP member for Corio, in Victoria. He was first elected at a by-election on July 22, 1967, following the retirement of the Liberal…
Image and full text of the Vice-Regal notice published on November 12, 1975.
At 4.45pm on November 11, 1975, nearly four hours after Whitlam’s dismissal, the Governor-General’s Official Secretary, David Smith, read this proclamation on the steps of Parliament House.
This audio clip of Smith and Whitlam is the first ever broadcast by the ABC shortly after 5pm on November 11. It starts at the end of Smith’s reading of the proclamation and includes Whitlam’s famous words about Kerr and Fraser.
- Listen to Smith and Whitlam
By His Excellency, the
Governor-General of Australia
Text of Malcolm Fraser's letter to Governor-General Sir John Kerr accepting his commission as prime minister.
Following his dismissal of Gough Whitlam on November 11, 1975, the Governor-General released this document outlining his reasons.
Full text of Sir John Kerr’s Statement of Reasons for the dismissal of Gough Whitlam, issued by Government House on November 11, 1975.
I have given careful consideration to the constitutional crisis and have made some decisions which I wish to explain.
This is the official letter handed to Whitlam by Kerr in the Governor-General’s study at Yarralumla at approximately 1.00pm on Tuesday, November 11, 1975.
Text of Sir John Kerr’s letter of dismissal, handed to Gough Whitlam on November 11, 1975.
On Sunday, November 9, 1975, two days before he dismissed Gough Whitlam, the Governor-General met with the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick.
On November 10, Barwick, a former Liberal Party minister under Menzies, tendered this advice to Kerr about his constitutional powers.
Text of High Court Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick’s advice to the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.
Dear Sir John,
In response to Your Excellency’s invitation I attended this day at Admiralty House. In our conversations I indicated that I considered myself, as Chief Justice of Australia, free, on Your Excellency’s request, to offer you legal advice as to Your Excellency’s constitutional rights and duties in relation to an existing situation which, of its nature, was unlikely to come before the Court. We both clearly understood that I was not in any way concerned with matters of a purely political kind, or with any political consequences of the advice I might give.
In response to Your Excellency’s request for my legal advice as to whether a course on which you had determined was consistent with your constitutional authority on duty, I respectfully offer the following.