Front page of the Melbourne Herald - one of the first newspaper reports to draw attention to the $1.3 million spent to purchase Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles.
Posts published in “Whitlam Government”
Audio of the final edition of This Day Tonight in December 1973. A review of the events of the Whitlam Government's first year, it includes Smacka Fitzgibbon singing The Adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam.
During the first year of his government, Whitlam was not only Prime Minister but also Minister for Foreign Affairs.
This speech, an address to the National Press Club, in Washington, provides an overview of Whitlam’s foreign policy principles, as well as his view of Australia’s position within the ANZUS alliance.
Text of an address by the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Gough Whitlam, to the National Press Club, Washington.
It is an honour for me to be asked to address representatives of the world’s greatest and most free press in the capital of the world’s greatest and most free democracy.
The strength of each is the strength of both.
In accepting your invitation I pay tribute to the manifest and enduring strength of both.
It’s been suggested that your chief interest today is to hear something about the changes in Australia’s policies as a result of the change in the Australian Government, changes affecting our international relations and particularly the relations between Australia and the United States.
In July 1973, Whitlam’s Labor government had been in office for seven months.
Whitlam’s Address to the ALP National Conference provides an insight into his thinking, particularly his belief that the government had been elected with a clear mandate to implement the policies developed in Opposition at the three previous party conferences in 1967, 1969 and 1971.
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s Address to the ALP National Conference.
We would have less than ordinary human failings if on this occasion we were not tempted to indulge in all the emotions from nostalgia to euphoria. And our best friends have never suggested that the Australian Labor Party was short on ordinary human failings. There is, nonetheless, a sort of symmetry which would move anybody with a sense of our Party’s history in the fact that we came back to Surfers Paradise for this first National Conference with our first National Government for nearly a quarter of a century. We met here seven years ago for the Special Conference of 1966 – that annus horribilis in the history of Australia and of the Australian Labor Party. We were at the nadir of our fortunes. Yet that Special Conference, held at a time when we were well on our way to the greatest debacle in our Party’s history, strangely enough contained the seeds of our resurgence and ultimate triumph in a way that none of us could have then discerned. We started on the road back then and here.
The pattern is the same every time a government changes. After six months, there is a spate of commentary on their performance. The usual assortment…
The first legislative act of the Whitlam government was a bill to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1973 was introduced by the Minister for Services and Property, Fred Daly, in the House of Representatives, around 3.00pm, on February 28, 1973.
Australia Day 1973 passed almost unnoticed, according to one radio news report, but Whitlam used his 53rd day as prime minister to announce a search for a new national anthem.
Whitlam’s announcement of a replacement for God Save the Queen came in his Australia Day address. He said: “We feel it is essential that Australians have an Anthem that fittingly embodies our national aspirations and reflects our status as an independent nation. We need an Anthem that uniquely identifies our country abroad, and recalls vividly to ourselves the distinctive qualities of Australian life and the character and traditions of our nation. These aims are particularly important to the Labor Government which I lead. It has been one of tile central ambitions of my administration to foster a fresh and distinctive reputation for Australia overseas, and to encourage in our domestic affairs a greater spirit of shared purpose and national unity. My Government does not believe that our present National Anthem is adequate for these purposes.”
Whitlam announced a competition for the new anthem, culminating in a public vote and a prize of $5000.00 to the winner.
Gough Whitlam and Lance Barnard governed as a duumvirate from December 5-19, 1972.
On December 19, the full Whitlam ministry was sworn in.
To mark the occasion, Whitlam addressed the nation on television on December 20, 1972.
Audio of Prime Minister William McMahon conceding defeat in the 1972 election.
In a front page editorial, on December 1, 1972, The Australian newspaper, endorsed the election of Gough Whitlam and the ALP.
It was the second front-page editorial in a week that advocated a change of government.
Titled The party for the times, the paper said Whitlam offered a “coherent programme of action over a wide range of areas which the present Government has either neglected or only belatedly taken an interest”.
Comparing Whitlam with Liberal Prime Minister William McMahon, the paper said: “Certainly there must be an element of risk in voting the Labor Party into power after 23 years. But in view of his performance over the past 20 months, surely there would be more risk returning Mr McMahon.