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Quotable Whitlam

Shortly after delivering his famous “Kerr’s Cur” speech, Whitlam and members of his staff listened to a re-broadcast on radio. Whitlam then rose trance-like and walked towards the door of the prime ministerial office. Gazing back at his colleagues, Whitlam asked, “Comrades, did I go too far?” – (Cohen, pp196-7)

On meeting the West Indian cricketer, Sir Garfield Sobers: “You’re the one Sir Garfield I will shake hands with.” – (Cohen, p203)

Launching his book on November 11, 1985, Whitlam said he had seen a headline that said “Sir John breaks his silence”.

“I thought,” Gough said after a long pause, “another hiccup!” (Cohen, p204)

Accused of poor taste because he had recounted Kerr’s interest in Elizabeth Reid, Whitlam said:

“What the Establishment may call poor taste I must, in the circumstances of 1974 and 1975, call the truth of the matter.

“The fact is, it has always been the Establishment’s first line of defence to raise the mealymouthed cry of poor taste whenever its interests or, in the case of people like Sir John Kerr and Sir Garfield Barwick, its tools are under attack.

“Let’s cut through the humbug on this matter. In the orchestration of the destruction of my Government, no rumour or innuendo, from moral turpitude to financial corruption, was deemed outside the rules of the game, because in this country the Establishment makes its own rules and sets its own canons of taste.” (Cohen, pp202-3)

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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