This is the text of Gough Whitlam’s contribution to a debate at the Sydney Town Hall.
The Order in the House debate was on the topic: “That politicians have lost their sense of humour.”
Ma’am, Prime Minister, Men and Women of Australasia –
I unsuccessfully stood for the New South Wales Parliament in 1950. A year later a Labor MLA named Howard was caught in bed with another man’s wife. A private inquiry agent gave evidence that Howard was wearing only his sox. When Howard next spoke in the House there were constant interjections: “Why were you wearing sox for sex?” At last he replied “So I wouldn’t catch a social disease”. Immediately there were cries “What social disease did she have?” He replied “Tinea”. I couldn’t again stand for a Parliament where the humour was so vulgar. I should add that Howard’s conduct made him very popular in the cattle country he represented. He survived till 1968. His surname was Fowles. The judge who heard the case said he had barnyard morals.