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Sir Garfield Barwick

Sir Garfield Barwick was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia at the time of the Whitlam Dismissal.

BarwickBarwick 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.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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