April 7th, 2019

Gough Whitlam: His life and times

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Gough Whitlam, right, with his father, Fred, mother, Martha and sister, Freda, circa 1924. Gough Whitlam, right, with his father, Fred, mother, Martha and sister, Freda, circa 1924.

Gough Whitlam marries Margaret Dovey at St Michael’s Vaucluce in 1942. Photo: Fairfax Library

Gough Whitlam, centre, with members of his RAAF bomber aircrew.

The new Member for the Federal seat of Werriwa.

Leader of the Labor Party Arthur Calwell, left, with his new deputy, Gough Whitlam in 1960. Photo: F. BURKE

Meets Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, inset, far right, in Peking.

Gough Whitlam wins the 1972 general election.

Gough Whitlam meets US President Mr Richard Nixon in 1973.

Gough Whitlam meets Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1973.

Campaigning during the 1974 election. Photo: The Age

Gough Whitlam with Lionel Murphy in 1974. Photo: R. Rice

Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Photo: Peter Wells

The Whitlams attend a farewell dinner at the Blacktown Civic Centre in 1978. Photo: W. Gibson

Gough and Margaret Whitlam Photo: Rick Stevens

1916, July 11: Born in Kew, Victoria.

1921: The Whitlam family moved to Sydney where young Gough attended Knox Grammar.

1926: The family relocated to Canberra and the following year Gough enrolled at Telopea Park Intermediate High before moving to Canberra Grammar.

1938: Educated at the University of Sydney (B.A., 1938; LL.B., 1946).

1938-41: At university he participated in rowing, debating and amatuer dramatics. He edited the college journal, The Pauline and the student magazine Hermes.

April 22, 1942: Married Margaret Elaine Dovey in Vaucluse, Sydney. They have four children: Anthony (1944); Nicholas (1945); Stephen (1950); Catherine (1954).

 1942-1945: Served in the Royal Australian Air Force.

1945: Joined the Australian Labor Party.

1947: Admitted to the NSW Bar.

November 29, 1952: Elected to the House of Representatives for Werriwa, NSW, at by-election following the death of H.P. (Bert) Lazzarini.

1953: Attacked French policies in Indo-China, arguing for self-determination for the Viet Minh.

August 12, 1954: Argued for the recognition of China and its admission to the United Nations.

March 7, 1960 – February 8, 1967: Deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party under Arthur Calwell.

1962: Appointed Queen’s Counsel.

February 8, 1967 – December 5, 1972:  Leader of the Australian Labor Party with Lance Barnard winning the position of deputy leader.

July 1971: Visited Peking and met  Chinese leader Zhou Enlai.

November 13, 1972:  Delivered the famous “It’s Time” speech for the Australian Labor Party at the Blacktown Civic Centre, in Sydney beginning with the Whitlam’s trademark words, “Men and Women of Australia!”

December 5, 1972: Elected as Australia’s 21st prime minister. The ALP won the election and formed the first Labor government in 23 years. Whitlam and his deputy, Lance Barnard, governed as a duumvirate during this first Whitlam Ministry until December 19. They were the only two-man government in Australia’s federal political history. Whitlam held 13 portfolios and Barnard, held 14. Barnard announces immediate end of national service call-up.

December 11, 1972: Announced the withdrawal of the Australian Army from Vietnam, leaving only an embassy guard.

December 15, 1972: The Whitlam Government announced a judicial inquiry as the first move towards the legal recognition of Aboriginal rights in land, with the appointment of Mr Justice Woodward as the Commissioner to conduct the inquiry.

December 1972: The Equal Pay case for  women, which was supported strongly by the Whitlam Government, continues to dominate public debate during this period. The Womens Electoral Lobby (WEL), which was formed in 1972 just before the Federal election, was a driving force in this debate – and strongly supported the Whitlam Government, which was seen by activist feminists as the only public policy force for reform for women.

December 19, 1972: The second Whitlam Ministry was sworn into office, containing 27 ministers. New Department of Aboriginal Affairs established. This decision upgrades the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to ministerial level. Other new departments were established, including the Department of Education, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of the Media, Department of Minerals and Energy, Department of Northern Development, Department of Social Security, Department of Urban and Regional Development.

January 9, 1973: Cabinet acts on 10 election pledges and authorises preparations to abolish the death penalty in Federal territories; remove excise on wine; remove sales tax on contraceptives; provide contraceptive pills as pharmaceutical benefits; provide social service benefits to people overseas; improve Commonwealth employees compensation provisions; extend Aboriginal secondary grants scheme to include all children of Aboriginal descent attending secondary schools; provide maternity leave (a total of 12 weeks) to Commonwealth employees; legislate to lower the voting age to 18, and the age of candidates to 18.

October 31, 1973: Whitlam became the first prime minister to visit the People’s Republic of China. In January 1973 had Australia re-opened the Australian Embassy in Peking, resuming diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

January 1, 1974: Tuition fees for students at tertiary institutions were abolished; the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme was abolished and replaced by the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme.

April 8, 1974: Advance Australia Fair replaced God Save the Queen as Australia’s national anthem.

May 18, 1974: Election of Federal Parliament. The Whitlam government was re-elected, an election so frequently ignored that Whitlam termed it “the election that never was”.

August, 1974: After a long political battle and a historic Joint Sitting of both Houses of Parliament, legislation was passed establishing the Health Insurance Commission.

December 14, 1974: A meeting of Whitlam, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, Rex Connor, Treasurer Dr Jim Cairns, and Senator Lionel Murphy to raise an overseas loan of $4 billion was set to become the political scandal called the “Overseas Loans Affair”.

February, 1975: Whitlam appoints Attorney-General Senator Lionel Murphy to the High Court of Australia.

July 1, 1975: Medibank started operating in Australia.

November 11, 1975:  Dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr and both houses of parliament were dissolved. Kerr appointed Malcolm Fraser as “caretaker” prime minister. Whitlam remains the only Australian Prime Minister to have been dismissed from office.


December 13, 1975:  Election for Federal Parliament. ALP suffered its greatest electoral defeat under Whitlam. Liberal-Country party coalition formed government.

January 27, 1976 – December 22, 1977: Whitlam was leader of the Australian Labor Party.

July 31, 1978: Whitlam resigned his parliamentary seat.

1978: Made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

1979: Published his own account of the events of 1975 entitled The Truth of the Matter.

1980-1981: First  National Fellow of the Australian National University.

1983-1986: Australian Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris.

1986-1991: Chairman of the Australia-China Council.

1987-1990: Chairman, National Gallery of Australia.

1997: Named a National Living Treasure by the National Trust.

2000: The Whitlam Institute was established within the University of Western Sydney to foster the development of public policy through scholarship and debate and inquiry into the grand themes championed by Whitlam.

March 17, 2012: Margaret Whitlam died in Sydney.

October 21, 2014: Gough Whitlam died, aged 98.

Compiled by Fairfax Research Library

April 7th, 2019

New Bitcoin exchange launches in Sydney

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The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart

The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart

The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart

The hype around digital currency Bitcoins continues to defy the expectations of investment professionals as another Australian-based exchange opens today, promising to give investors faster trading access than ever before.

Bitcoin company, Independent Reserve, has launched the country’s newest exchange, based in Sydney. It is understood there are now two in Australia.

Unlike the two main Australian-based stock exchanges, Independent Reserve is not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which means the company has had to take investor protection into their own hands.

“Price Waterhouse Coppers are auditing all of our finances,” said the company’s chief executive Adam Tepper.

“We are trying to mitigate risks to ensure people think their money is safe and secure. We have done everything we could possibly do to minimise risk to our clients,” he said.

The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction.

Independent Reserve said it will not charge GST on the funds sold through its exchange.

Wild fluctuations in the price of a Bitcoin – which is currently trading at $US380 and was once as high as $US1000 – as well as heightened level of risk and lack of formal regulation are often cited by professional investors as the reasons why they will not invest in the digital currency.

Among the skeptics on Bitcoin include legendary investor Warren Buffett and Peter Schiff, who have questioned its value. Mr Schiff however recently announced that he would partner bitcoin payment processor BitPay to allow investors to buy and sell gold and silver.

Attitudes do appear to be changing and more and more entrepreneurs like Mr Tepper are eager to find new ways of tapping into demand for Bitcoins and the opportunities attached.

“Other exchanges I have looked at have taken two or three months to create an account, but more stereotypical is one week. I think that is a long time so I think what people will notice when they use Independent Reserve is that they can be up and trading in a matter of a few minutes, which is great,” he said.

Melbourne-based Bitcoin Group is hoping to be the first Bitcoin company to list on the Australian Securities Exchange in November.

It comes as a Senate inquiry into the regulation of Bitcoin chaired by senator Sam Dastyari opens for submissions to develop a regulatory framework around the cryptocurrency.

“In Australia, Bitcoin is classified as a digital asset. I think we will probably see a change in the attitude towards Bitcoin. I think after this Senate inquiry I think we should probably see more in the Bitcoin space,” said Mr Tepper.

This week, London-based Bitcoin company Coinfloor and also the biggest Bitcoin-to-sterling exchange in terms of volume of currency traded, will launch a wider range of currencies, according to the Financial Times.

It will also raise money from its investors to launch a bitcoin fund next month, taking the company’s value up to £8million.

In Japan, Bitcoin exchange Kraken will start operating by the end of this month, and will become the latest crypto-currency service to launch in the country since the collapse of Mt. Gox – which was previously one of the world’s biggest crypto-currency market places.

Mt. Gox went bust at the start of this year and lost half a billion dollars’ worth of bitcoin belonging to 120,000 creditors.

Technology giants like Apple have been increasingly looking at Bitcoin as an alternative payments system.

Independent Reserve said that its servers are securely located at two Tier 3 data centres in Sydney, allowing for synchronous replication of all data across both locations in real-time to ensure zero data loss.

The exchange will charge a flat fee of 0.5 per cent on all trades, however Mr Tepper said the company is open to negotiation with market makers and heavy volume traders.

April 7th, 2019

Qantas engineers reach pay deal, agree to 18-month pay freeze

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More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt

More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt

More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Aircraft engineers represented by one of the Qantas unions at the centre of the 2011 industrial dispute that grounded the airline have agreed to a new four-year wage deal that includes a pay freeze for the first 18 months.

The settlement is a major step towards achieving the goal of Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce to freeze pay across the company as part of efforts to strip $2 billion in costs from the business within three years.

More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent.

About 1500 Qantas licenced engineers are covered by the agreement. As part of a side deal, about 50 engineers who were forced to take redundancy this year will have the chance to return to Qantas. The number was initially higher but some of the engineers have since decided to take voluntary redundancy.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has also agreed to drop legal action in the Federal Court against Qantas for allegedly breaching the consultation provisions of the Fair Work Act.

Steve Purvinas, the federal secretary of the engineers’ union, said he hoped the settlement signalled a new era of co-operation between the engineers and the airline management “where our contribution is valued”.

“Our members are pleased that over the life of their agreement none of them will be retrenched so long as others have outstanding leave,” he said. “It means leave will be taken before anyone is sacked.”

The airline’s engineers have on average about six months of accrued leave.

Qantas said in a statement that the agreement was “fair and reasonable, giving more certainty to both the business and our employees over the next four years”.

The engineers union last month told its members that they could fight for a pay rise but “we expect that the government would intervene again and order us to Fair Work Australia for them to determine our pay outcome”.

Qantas’ short-haul pilots have also begun voting on whether to accept a new agreement which will result in them giving up 18 months of back pay. It would count as an effective pay freeze similar to that for other parts of the airline’s workforce, including the engineers.

Unlike the wage deal with the engineers, a number of short-haul pilots doubt their in-principle agreement will gain approval. Voting for the short-haul pilots’ deal closes on October 31.

Despite the settlement with the engineers, talks with the Transport Workers Union, which represents about 2000 Qantas ground staff whose three-year agreement expired on July 1, are showing no signs of an early resolution.

April 7th, 2019

Ice: A Shoalhaven mother’s story

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ADDICTION: Ice, also known as crystal meth, is a new menace in regional areas like Shoalhaven, posing challenges for law enforcement and mental health services, while wreaking havoc in the lives of those who fall into its grip.

Eighteen months ago, he was a hardworking, respectful and loving son with a steady girlfriend and a good job.

Today, the young man in his early 20s is unemployed, living from couch to car and, his mother can only guess, associating mostly with criminals and addicts.

The changes in the life of this young man are a result of the frightening new drug on our streets, ice or methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth.

The young man’s mother has spoken about the nightmare ice has wrought on her family in the hope that other parents may spot the signs of addiction in their children and be able to intervene before it’s too late.

She is also pushing for a crack-down on the number of ice affected drivers on the road and lobbying for better access to rehab facilities for Shoalhaven users who have become addicted to this insidious drug.


The first changes in the behaviourof the normally quiet and friendly young man could probably only ever have been detected by a mother’s eye.

Ice: A Shoalhaven mother’s story “We can’t put our head in the sand and hope it goes away – it won’t.“This drug has a detrimental effect not only on the user and their families – it is far reaching and has massive impacts on communities as a whole.”Shoalhaven Police Inspector Steve Johnson

“One of the big problems with ice is kids can die from a single dose and they die a horrible death over a few days. “It’s a poison. It gets to me when people call it a drug overdose, it’s not, there is no safe dose.”Shoalhaven Paramedic, Susan Gow,

“Crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘ice’ seems to be the drug of choice at the moment. A lot of the crime we deal with in regards to theft, break and enter and robberies can be attributed to the drug.”Retired Shoalhaven police inspector John Behrendt

“One in three men applying for treatment (at Oolong House) are addicted to ice. It’s frightening, the increase in this drug. It is just so prevalent in the local area, especially in Nowra.”Ivern Ardler, Chief Executive Oolong House

TweetFacebookMy son, who was a deeply caring, empathetic person has become someone who is very cold.

“Naively, I never thought about ice, even though I’d heard about how bad it was,” she said.

Finally, after weeks of sleepless nights and worry, her son opened up to her.

“He came in and sat down and said ‘Mum, I’ve been taking ice’.

“He was crying and very upset. He said he needed help.

“At the time I thought, OK, so we know now so we can do something about it.

“But once I knew it became apparent to me that he was taking it every day, in his car, at home or when he was out.

“I did a fair bit of research and realised the addictive nature of it. That really scared me. He told me he was taking it as soon as he got up in the morning. Every single cent of his pay was going on it.”

But finding help for her son proved to be much harder than she thought.

After two failed stints at rehab in Wollongong, she became convinced that a facility closer to home which allowed more contact with family may have been more successful for him.

The first time he was sent home for breaking two of the strict house rules of the facility.

On the second attempt, he was one day away from being allowed to have his first contact with family when he broke down and said he couldn’t cope anymore and left the facility.

“He’d never really been away from his family before, and he found himself the youngest one in there with hard core drug addicts. It was very tough.”

She also believes that his own disappointment in himself after every failed attempt refuelled his need to take the drug to erase the pain.

“He’ll talk sometimes about his disappointment in himself and how he wants to stop. He will talk for half an hour but then go out and get high.”

As he sank back into familiar patterns, his mother’s greatest fear was that he was driving under the influence of ice.

“There had been times when I found him asleep behind the wheel of his car,” she said.

The trauma of his addiction has reverberated throughout the whole family, with his mother in a constant state of anxiety about his future.

“I stopped being able to sleep. I was always worried about him.

“Would the police come knocking on my door because he was in an accident or had been found lying dead somewhere?

“I’m frightened he’s going to end up in jail. I’m frightened he’s going to kill himself.

“It got to the point where I was always cranky with other family members because I was always worried about him. I became depressed.”

Eighteen months since her son started using, she says she has no idea what the future holds, and her son’s personality has completely changed.

“He was a naïve young man with a very big heart. He was used to a close family and mates he’d had from school.

“Now he has become very detached. He’s unemotional and dismissive.

“My son, who was a deeply caring, empathetic person has become someone who is very cold.

“I never thought I would be in this situation.

“I’m told it’s freely available and that ice wasn’t even in Shoalhaven four years ago, and now it’s everywhere.”

Source: South Coast Register

April 7th, 2019

When a late-night Macca’s run turns into a life and death experience

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It was the Macca’s run that turned ugly for three Wagga friends who were threatened with knives and had their ute stolen from the car park of the fast food chain’s Fox Street store at the weekend. File photo”HE ASKED us ‘do you want to die?’ and I said no, not really”.

It was the Macca’s run that turned ugly for three Wagga friends who were threatened with knives and had their ute stolen from the car park of the fast food chain’s Fox Street store in Wagga Wagga at the weekend.

Just hours before the horrific ordeal unfolded, about 12.15am on Sunday, the trio had celebrated a friend’s 20th birthday and visited the Victoria Hotel for a couple of drinks.

The designated driver of the Holden Rodeo ute had stopped so they could to grab some food when three figures were seen lurking around the Edward Street side of the car park.

The silhouettes, first thought to be McDonald’s employees, suddenly surrounded the ute.

Inside, 18-year-old Jade, 20-year-old Justin and Nick, 21 – whose surnames have been withheld – feared for their lives as weapons were produced and demands were made for them to get out and hand over the keys.

“They all had one,” Jade said when asked about the knife police say was used to threaten them.There were three shadows in the dark … they came over and asked us if we were being racist.

“I had no idea who they were.They dragged Nick out, but me and the other bloke stepped out of the ute.

“He (one of the men) asked us ‘do you want to die?’ and I said no, not really.

“He told me to get out.”

Jade’s mother, Marg, said she was disappointed with how the situation was handled by McDonald’s staff.

Marg claims staff didn’t assist Jade when he ran to the closed fast food outlet for assistance.

Jade, a former McDonald’s employee, was reportedly escorted from the store.

“What would have happened if one of them had been stabbed?” Marg said.”Inside McDonald’s would have been the safest place for them to be, not in the car park.

“It happened in the car park, he went in there and was thrown out.

“They didn’t even get a chance to explain why he went in there.”

Jade said he knew the manager, but it didn’t make any difference.

“He was more worried about me being in the store … than what was going on outside,” he said.”He just kicked me straight out.”

In the minutes that followed, Jade frantically tried to get help.

“I whistled out to them (passing police) and tried to wave them down and they turned around,” he said.

Marg described the shock of what happened and warned others to take care.

“Wagga’s not safe anymore for kids,” she said.”I’d expect that (the armed robbery) to be done in Sydney or Melbourne, not in Wagga.”

The ute was stopped by police near Yass, where four people were arrested.

Two 18-year-old men and another, 19, were charged and granted conditional bail, to appear in Wagga Local Court on December 3.

The fourth was released pending further inquiries.

STAFF of the Fox Street McDonald’s at the centre of Sunday’s armed robbery were simply following procedures, the owner/operator of the Wagga fast food chains says.

Tony Aichinger said employees had acted by the book when they refused a victim of the ordeal entry to the store.

For safety reasons, staff aren’t permitted to allow anyone into the restaurant after it has closed, Mr Aichinger said.

“At that time, the police had already been called and the offenders had already gone,” he said.”McDonald’s safety and security procedures were maintained to ensure the safety of our staff.”

Mr Aichinger said Jade’s mother, Marg, met with the store manager about the matter yesterday and staff had also been spoken to.

Source: Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga

March 5th, 2019

Gough Whitlam kiss stays fresh in Helensburgh cafe wall clippings

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The clipping of former prime minister Gough Whitlam giving Helensbugh local Pat Teudt a kiss with husband Harry Teudt in the background. Picture: KIRK GILMOURFormer prime minister Gough Whitlam dead at 98In1972, Pat Teudt had no idea her embrace with Prime MinisterGough Whitlamwould be shared with strangers in a Helensburgh cafe more than 40 years later.

Mrs Teudt (pictured below), watched by husband Harry, was among the supporters at Helensburgh Workers Club who Mr Whitlam thanked for helping to sweep him to power.

It is one of the moments captured on the wall of a new Helensburgh cafe, Chikki Burgh, that tells the story of the town’s development, through the eyes of Mercury journalists and photographers.

“My in-laws were active members of the local ALP branch and knew Gough personally – in fact he attended Pat’s funeral in the early ’90s,” said Suzanne Teudt, who still lives in Helensburgh.

Suzanne Teudt who is daughter-in-law of Pat and Harry Teudt holds a napkin signed by Prime minister Gough Whitlam to her husband Stan Teudt. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Mr Teudt accompanied Mr Whitlam on his first door-knock campaign when he was seeking pre-selection as an ALP candidate for the seat of Werriwa in the early ’50s. And afterwards Mrs Teudt served him morning tea, according to the article.

Cafe part-owner Charlie Daoud said he first wanted just images on the wall, but after a day sifting through Wollongong Library’s Mercury archives, he decided the articles and advertisements were far more interesting.

“I grew up in the Sutherland Shire, so this was a good lesson in local history for me and many others who view it,” he said.

At a time when news pages like this all over the world are giving way to digital platforms, Mr Daoud recognises that the wall decoration will become more of a novelty.

“We’ve found a lot of the customers who are waiting on food and coffee like to browse the articles,” he said.

One such customer, Russell Penton from Caringbah, said the wall “made good reading” while he was having lunch.

“It’s great, but I would have liked a bit more sport,” he said.

The print pages go back to 1900 when the Mercury cost one penny and the front page was covered in classified advertising about wonder pills and grocery bargains such as “grateful, comforting Epps’s cocoa”.

Mr Daoud said he planned to use the many articles he had accumulated on a second feature wall a little later.

March 5th, 2019

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam dead at 98

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Gough Whitlam: his life in photos Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Gough Whitlam, right, with his father, Fred, mother, Martha and sister, Freda, circa 1924.

Gough Whitlam, centre, with members of his RAAF bomber aircrew.

Gough Whitlam marries Margaret Dovey at St Michael’s Vaucluce in 1942. Photo: Fairfax Library

The new Member for the Federal seat of Werriwa in 1952.

Leader of the Labor Party Arthur Calwell, left, with his new deputy, Gough Whitlam in 1960. Photo: F. BURKE

Gough Whitlam meets US President Mr Richard Nixon in 1973.

Gough Whitlam meets Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1973.

Campaigning during the 1974 election. Photo: The Age

Gough Whitlam with Lionel Murphy in 1974. Photo: R. Rice

Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Photo: Peter Wells

Gough Whitlam in 1986.

Gough Whitlam, as federal opposition leader, and then ACTU president Bob Hawke relax on the banks of the Yarra River after a rally in the City Square


Whitlam on the Shum Chun River bridge – Hong Kong/China Border.

Mick Young, Tom Burns, Stephen FitzGerald, Gough Whitlam, Rex Patterson, Graham Freudenberg 1971 visit to China.

Joe Riordan with Gough Whitlam.

Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke having a beer at the Trade Hall Hotel in 1974. Picture: RICK STEVENS

Gough Whitlam after 1972 election.

Gough and Margaret Whitlam in 1972.

Former Prime Minister Mr Gough Whitlam launching Micahels Cooiper’s book “Encounters with The Australian Constitution” at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Picture: ROBERT PEARCE

Alexander Whitlam 5, sits on his grandfather Gough Whitlam’s shoulders in 1975.

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam dressed in a toga and gold leaf garland announcing the travelling exhibition of antiquities from the British National Museum to come to the Australian National Gallery.

Gough Whitlam addresses a crowd in Sydney after winning the 1972 Federal election on 2 December 1972.

Gough Whitlam 1975.

The Whitlams attend a farewell dinner at the Blacktown Civic Centre in 1978. Photo: W. Gibson

Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke on stage at Hurstville Civic Centre, circa 1976.

Gough Whitlam and Margaret Whitlam at the opening of the Nelson Meers Foundation Heritage Collection in 2003.

Former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam at the Australian Labor Party Campaign launch at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane 2007.

Photo: Getty Images

Gough and Margaret Whitlam Photo: Rick Stevens

The Opening Night Of Musical ‘Hair’ In Sydney 2003. By: Patrick Riviere

TweetFacebookDid you meet Gough Whitlam? Do you have a photograph with him? Send your Gough photos to [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m.au for inclusion in our gallery.

March 5th, 2019

Gough Whitlam dead: Obituary for the Prime Minister who was a martyr for a moment, hero for a lifetime

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Whitlam in 1975. Gough Whitlam dies aged 98

“With all my reservations,” Gough Whitlam said on his 80th birthday, “I do admit I seem eternal.” He warned, however: “Dying will happen sometime. As you know, I plan for the ages, not just for this life.” Whitlam defied these intimations of mortality for another 18years before dying happened. What were his plans for the next age, his afterlife? “You can be sure of one thing,” he said of a possible meeting with his maker, “I shall treat Him as an equal.”

Those who admired and respected the former prime minister loved the jokes. Those who disliked him were not amused, even if they realised that the self-mockery kept the hubris in check. People liked Whitlam or disliked him. It was impossible to feel indifference. Yet even his enemies respected his intellect, powers of advocacy and larger-than-life presence.

Bitter opponents warmed somewhat after he left parliament. They had borne grudges. After 23 years of non-Labor government, they were reluctant to concede that the government he led in 1972 had a right to govern. Their tactics of obstruction led him to call an election after 18 months, which he won. They tried again 18 months later, this time with the help of Sir John Kerr, the governor-general, and shambolic behaviour by some government ministers. The propriety of their actions remains open for debate, but Kerr dismissed Whitlam in 1975 and Labor lost the ensuing election overwhelmingly.

[Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government.]

Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government.Photo: Peter Wells

The manner of his defeat has confused the Whitlam legacy. He is remembered as much for his going, which made him a martyr for many Australians, as for his achievements and the new sense of identity he brought the nation.

Senator John Faulkner asked in 2002: “Are you comfortable being an icon and elder statesman?”. Whitlam replied: “Well, I hope this is not just because I was a martyr. The fact is I was an achiever.” He could point to achievements and reforms such as recognising China, abolishing conscription, establishing Medibank, introducing needs-based school funding, extending tertiary education, reforming family law, boosting the arts, indexing pensions, and moving to equal pay for women, voting at 18, one vote-one value and Aboriginal land rights. He removed sales tax on contraceptives. He broke the cultural cringe, introduced an Australian honours system and a new national anthem, made relations with Asia a priority and ended Australia’s involvement with imperialism, later revived in Iraq.

Edward Gough Whitlam was born on July 11, 1916, in Kew, Melbourne, when Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund Barton, still lived. He lived during the lifetimes of all 27 other Australian prime ministers, to Tony Abbott. He contributed to the national debate from 1944, when he campaigned for a referendum seeking federal powers for post-war reconstruction – it lost – and still went to his office four days a week in his 98th year.

Henry Whitlam, an English draper, had gone to Bombay in 1854 to join the British army, under Field Marshal Hugh Gough. He carried 54 books with him. Later he joined the miners’ struggle for voting rights on Victorian goldfields. Henry and Adelaide Whitlam named their first son Henry Gough. Called Harry, he served four years in Pentridge jail for forgery. A son, Harry Frederick, called Fred, became Australia’s Crown Solicitor. It’s a tribute to Australian democracy that the family could move in a generation from criminality to a senior law office in the new nation and, in the next, to the prime ministership.

Fred married Martha Maddocks and moved to Canberra, the new capital, in 1927, when he was deputy crown solicitor under Sir Robert Garran. The family was described as upper middle class. Some would argue that opponents saw Gough as a class traitor.

Young Whitlam attended Knox Grammar, Telopea Park High in Canberra, then Canberra Grammar. As children, books were Gough and his younger sister Freda’s world. Frivolous distractions, even radio, were eschewed. Having topped the 1934 year in Christian doctrine at Grammar, ahead of Francis James, who was to edit The Anglican, Whitlam and James were told by Canon Edwards, the principal, why Francis would receive the prize: “The reason is that James believes it and you, Whitlam, do not.”

Whitlam believed that his “maker” were the forces of family, society and history. He described himself as “a fellow traveller with Christianity” or “post-Christian”. He knew more about religious belief than most believers. His life demonstrated the importance of ideas and belief.

He read Latin, Greek, English, history and some psychology for his Sydney University Arts degree, won a rowing blue, reorganised the St Paul’s College library, edited Hermes, the students’ magazine, played Noel Coward and Neville Chamberlain in university reviews and appeared briefly in Broken Melody, a minor film. He enlisted in the RAAF in 1941, flying as a navigator from northern Australia.

In 1942 he married Margaret Dovey, who had swum breaststroke for Australia at the 1938 Empire Games, the daughter of Bill, later Justice, Dovey. Their marriage is the longest prime ministerial union. He said in 2002: “My 25 years as member for Werriwa and three years as prime minister were just flashes compared in the long, warm glow of the other significant anniversary I celebrated this year – 60 years together with Margaret Elaine Dovey.” Margaret helped keep Gough’s feet near the ground. She said: “I’m a bit tired of all the adulation. He’s almost reached the beatification stage. I suppose canonisation will come, with the obituaries.”

Whitlam joined the Labor Party in 1945, completed legal studies, joined the bar in 1947 and used a war service loan to build a house at Cronulla. He stood in 1948 for Sutherland shire council and failed, stood in the 1950 NSW election, and failed, before winning the outer western suburbs federal seat of Werriwa in a 1952 by-election. His family recognised in the post-World War II electorate the disadvantages in education, health, transport, housing and other urban facilities. He tried to correct the deficiencies. Neville Wran, former NSW premier, said: “It was said of Caesar Augustus that he found a Rome of brick and left it of marble. It can be said of Gough Whitlam that he found Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane unsewered, and left them fully flushed.”

Labor colleagues in Canberra saw the new, exceptionally tall member as an oddity – avoiding bars and absorbed in work. Robert Menzies saw Whitlam’s potential: “He will lead the [Labor] party one day. It will not be dull.”

Whitlam saw government as an instrument to improve life for all Australians. Graham Freudenberg wrote in A Certain Grandeur: “He took certain propositions as self-evident and among these were: that the national parliament was the only really important parliament in Australia; that the role of government was constructive, positive and benevolent; that action by governments, through parliament and the public service, was the normal and natural approach for the solution of Australian problems …”.

His interests ranged from flushing the suburbs to recognising “Red China”. A speech in 1954 urged the latter. An internationalist and nationalist, he said in 1963: “Australia must strive above all things and more than most nations for the Parliament of the Man, the Federation of the World. The ultimate security of our nation and the ultimate survival of civilisation alike demand it.” The weakening of United Nations authority, after the United States became the one superpower, disappointed Whitlam, who thought that history’s lessons were not being learned. He pointed to Italy and Germany’s arming Franco in Spain while the United States stayed out of the League of Nations; to the Americans helping the Taliban to remove the Russians from Afghanistan and arming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against fundamentalist Muslim Iran.

While Labor toiled in the wilderness after the split over communism in 1954-55, Whitlam made the most of scarce opportunities. After H.V. “Doc” Evatt resigned the leadership in 1960, he beat Eddie Ward to become deputy under Arthur Calwell. His two principal campaigns were for state aid to private schools, particularly poor Catholic schools, according to need, and for reform of the party structure. When the 36 delegates to the 1963 federal conference met to decide policy on the North West Cape naval base, part of the US nuclear defence network, Calwell and Whitlam had to wait outside the meeting, powerless. Menzies attacked the “36 faceless men”. After the conference was reformed, Whitlam denounced the federal executive: “We’ve just got rid of the 36 faceless men stigma to be faced with the 12 witless men.” Reprimanded for “gross disloyalty”, he escaped expulsion. He had helped win the Dawson by-election in Queensland and his electoral appeal was becoming obvious. His theory that leaders either “crash through or crash” also became obvious.

Despite Calwell’s brilliantly prophetic anti-Vietnam war speech, Labor was thrashed in the 1966 election. Replacing Calwell, Whitlam developed a wide range of policies, building what he called “The Program”. Old Labor policies, including the pledge of nationalisation that Whitlam described as Old Testament, were superseded by the New Testament.

When the executive’s left-wing refused to accept Brian Harradine’s credentials in 1968, Whitlam resigned and called on parliamentary colleagues to confirm or replace him. He beat Jim Cairns, but only by 38 to 32.

Labor gained a 7 per cent swing in 1969, reducing the John Gorton Government’s majority to seven seats. Labor would have won under the one-vote, one-value system Whitlam introduced in 1974. The party would probably have had four years of government in a healthy economy, before the 1973 world oil price shock. This might have prevented the slide into chaos.

In parliament, his favourite forum, Whitlam had established ascendancy over Menzies’ successors Harold Holt and Gorton, then had fun at the expense of the ineffectual Bill McMahon. McMahon tried to revive the communist bogey when Whitlam met Chou-En-lai in China in 1971, only to discover that US President Nixon was following in Whitlam’s footsteps. With the help of Clyde Cameron and John Ducker, the ALP’s Victorian branch was reformed and a measure of reform brought to NSW.

A majority of Australians accepted Labor’s campaign slogan in 1972 – “It’s Time”. The Coalition had been in power too long. Whitlam won a swing of only 2.6 per cent on December 2, but enough to take eight seats and government. Impatient to start governing before Christmas, Whitlam had himself and his deputy, Lance Barnard, sworn into the existing 27 portfolios. He called the two-man government “the duumvirate”, or “the triumvirate” when Sir Paul Hasluck, the governor-general, signed necessary documents. They ended military conscription, released conscientious objectors from jail, recognised China, abolished knighthoods and moved towards Aboriginal land rights.

The full ministry, sworn in six days before Christmas, kept up the pace. Believing education to be the key to equal opportunity, Whitlam abolished tertiary fees and greatly increased spending for schools, universities and colleges. Pensions were increased and indexed and Medibank established as Australia’s first national health insurance system. Urban and regional development programs were boosted. No Australian government has been so determined to implement without delay such comprehensive reform. Yet many reforms only brought Australia into line with modern social democracies.

Australians who remember the government for its dark days and dismissal may be surprised by the 1973 record. The program covered cities and local government, racial and gender discrimination, health, education, social security, minerals and energy, migrants, human rights, rural industries, the environment and the national estate. In foreign affairs, where Whitlam wanted “a more independent stance”, 39 treaties and conventions were signed.

A National Gallery of Australia employee described Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, which the Whitlam government bought controversially, as a metaphor for the government – the long hours that went into the painting, never wondering whether it would work, the excitement, passion, sheer rapture, flourishes, sudden insights, grand movements, spatters and accidents.

Historians Clem Lloyd and G.S.Reid wrote: “In the generally undistinguished, and often tawdry, atmosphere of Australian national politics, it is impossible to deny the Whitlam Government its certain grandeur.” Historian Geoffrey Bolton described the government as “a shining aberration” in an essentially conservative nation.

Government spending increased by 5.7 per cent after inflation in 1973-74 and by 19.8 per cent in 1974-75. The program had been developed during economic buoyancy of the late 1960s, with Keynesism triumphant. Whitlam, like previous prime ministers, had never become intimately involved in economic decision-making. He failed to give primacy to economic matters, a practice now required of governments.

His government, having long focused on wealth distribution, had little idea about its creation. Whitlam appealed less to people’s material instincts than to their better instincts. The economy would run itself, with Treasury help, and the program would be financed from economic growth. But the quadrupling of oil prices in 1973 ended that and the government allowed the economy to run out of control.

Whitlam’s adherence to the program sprang from the belief that political promises should be kept, but economic reality mugged the program. The 1974 Budget was a mess. Whitlam replaced Treasurer Frank Crean with Cairns, who rejected Treasury advice and chose an expansionary fiscal policy to combat recession. Cairns was replaced in 1975 by Bill Hayden, who brought restraint and responsibility. It was too late.

The Loans and Morosi affairs gave the Opposition leader, Malcolm Fraser, the “reprehensible circumstances” he used to force an election by blocking Supply in the Senate. Rex Connor, Minister for Minerals and Energy, who wanted to build a powerful nation by harnessing Australia’s resources, kept trying for a $4 billion loan from the Middle East after the government had ruled it out. Juni Morosi, an attractive Eurasian, was distracting Cairns. Whitlam sacked both for misleading parliament, but he had failed to control his cabinet.

Although John Kerr acted within his constitutional rights, the debate as to whether he should have dismissed the democratically elected government survives Whitlam’s death. The modern test of the reserve powers under which Kerr acted was resolved in Britain in 1913, when King George V decided in favour of the people’s house, the Commons, by not using the powers.

The vice-regal action tarnished the Australian political system. Malcolm Fraser’s coalition won the ensuing election with a 55-seat majority but would have won anyhow, with runaway inflation, high interest rates and growing unemployment. Labor won power in NSW only six months later and nationally eight years later, but the political system attracted new levels of cynicism from 1975.

The lesson for Labor was that, despite the fact that many western countries fared just as badly after the oil shocks and that Whitlam introduced economic reform with a 25 per cent tariff cut, future governments must give primacy to economics.

The Hawke and Keating governments took the lesson. Describing Whitlam as “one of the most respected and admired figures in labour party politics the world over”, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Whitlam’s was a modernising government that had paved the way for the Hawke and Keating governments and that British Labour had learnt from them.

Revelations that the ALP had sought $500,000 from Iraq’s Baath Socialist Party to help finance the 1975 campaign further damaged Whitlam. East Timor also threatened his reputation.

Critics claimed that Whitlam, prime minister in the lead-up to Indonesia’s invasion of the former Portuguese colony in 1975, gave the Indonesian president a “green light” to take over East Timor by force of arms. Whitlam and Soeharto met when the Vietnam war was fresh in Australian hearts and minds and the West was disengaging from Asia. The record shows that, while Whitlam – and western governments generally – believed that the most desirable outcome would be for East Timor to be incorporated into Indonesia, this could be achieved only through self-determination by the East Timorese. The question is whether Whitlam pushed hard enough for self-determination. Although he made several references to self-determination, he seems not to have considered the consequences if the Timorese rejected incorporation. The evidence points to a lack of insistence on self-determination.

After the election, Whitlam offered the leadership to Hayden, who declined, before challenging a year later and losing to Whitlam, 30-32. Whitlam’s loss in the 1977 election was even more devastating than in the unique circumstances of 1975. “This [1977] was the people’s rejection of Edward Gough Whitlam,” Freudenberg wrote. When his eldest son, Tony, failed in St George, the father said, his voice breaking: “It’s his name …”

Yet Whitlam had not lost his sense of optimism, his faith in humanity or in parliament. He was free of bitterness. “Bitterness is a vice,” he said. “It destroys.” He believed politics remained an honourable profession and that parliament was Australia’s instrument for reform and equality.

The Hawke Government appointed him Ambassador to UNESCO, the post to which Fraser had sent Kerr. On his return, he became chairman of the Australian National Gallery. He accepted other government and university appointments, travelled widely, addressed all manner of gatherings, wrote books and articles, campaigned for press freedom and human rights with his old adversary Fraser, was a regular at opening nights and advertised spaghetti sauce.

Kerr’s sacking of Whitlam’s government on November 11, 1975, was proclaimed by Kerr’s secretary, David Smith, who finished by asking God to save the Queen. “Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’ because nothing will save the governor-general,” Whitlam responded, urging supporters to “maintain the rage and enthusiasm”. In later years he sometimes revealed a wistfulness about what might have been: “People remember that speech better than any other speech I made in Parliament.”

Whitlam rarely doubted himself, which was both a strength and a weakness. He shaped public opinion rather than react to opinion polls. He turned the ALP from its tight trade unionism to a more open, ambitious social democracy, making Labor a credible alternative government again after 23 years. He made people laugh, a rare quality in politicians. His wit endured. When a carer asked him, at 97, if he had four children, he replied: “So far.”

Few Australians in public life can have had such a passion for their country and such a vision of its possibilities. He said in his 1997 book, Abiding Interests, his “epistle to the Australians”, that his abiding interests for Australia would end only “with a long and fortunate life”. Margaret Whitlam, whom he described as his best appointment and most constant critic, died in 2012, a month before their 70th wedding anniversary. Gough Whitlam is survived by his sons Tony, Nick and Stephen; daughter Catherine and sister Freda.

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March 5th, 2019

Former PM Gough Whitlam dead

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During Australia’s constitutional crisis of 1975, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam addresses reporters outside the Parliament building in Canberra after his dismissal by Australia’s Governor-General, 11th November 1975. Kerr named opposition leader Malcolm Fraser to lead a caretaker government until elections in December. Pic: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesGOUGH WHITLAM:His life in photos

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam has died.

His children Antony, Nicholas and Stephen Whitlam and Catherine Dovey issued the statement Tuesday morning.

“Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98,” the statement said. “A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott led the tributes on Tuesday.

“Gough Whitlam was a giant of his time,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.”He united the Australian Labor Party, won two elections and seemed, in so many ways, larger than life.In his own party, he inspired a legion of young people to get involved in public life.

Mr Abbott also paid tribute to the late Margaret Whitlam and her contribution and leadership alongside Gough.

“Gough Whitlam’s life was inseparable from that of Margaret Whitlam. Margaret Whitlam was a leading light for women of her generation. Together they made a difference to our country.

“On this day we honour a life of service to our country.”

There will be a private cremation and a public memorial service.

Labor MPs are already paying tribute to their former leader.

A meeting of federal caucus is scheduled for Tuesday morning and it’s understood Labor leader Bill Shorten will make his first statement about Gough Whitlam’s death then.

So momentous was the moment of “the dismissal” that it’s been reworked once or twice …

[View the story “FairfaxNSWnorth/gough-whitlam-remembered” on Storify]

February 5th, 2019

Edward Gough Whitlam dies at 98

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Gough Whitlam dead at 98 Gough Whitlam in October 2005. Pic: Stephen Baccon.

Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Photo: Peter Wells

Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke having a beer in the Trade Hall Hotel on Sussexx Street on 17 April 1974. Pic: Rick Stevens

Gough Whitlam addresses a Labor rally outside of Parliament House, Canberra, November 1975. Pic: Michael Rayner

Gough Whitlam speaks to journalists in 1986.

Mick Young, Tom Burns, Stephen FitzGerald, Gough Whitlam, Rex Patterson, Graham Freudenberg, at the Great Wall in China in July 1971. Pic courtesy of Stephen Fitzgerald

Former Prime Minister Mr Gough Whitlam launching Micahels Cooiper’s book “Encounters with The Australian Constitution” at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Pic: Robert Pearce

Gough Whitlam in 1976. Pic: The Age

Gough Whitlam greeted by his daughter, Cathy, as he arrives at the polling booth to cast his vote in the 1972 federal election. Pic: Fairfax Media

Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlan with former Sydney Morning Herald writer Peter Bowers.

Gough Whitlam. Pic: Supplied

Gough Whitlam in 1973.

Gough Whitlam addresses a National Press Club luncheon in 1986. Pic: Supplied

Gough and Margaret Whitlam. Pic: Rick Stevens

Gough Whitlam before his 90th birthday. Pic: Steven Siewert

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam about to turn 90. Pic: Steven Siewert

Gough Whitlam in 2005. Pic: Penny Bradfield

Gough Whitlam in Washington before appearing on Meet the Pressin 1974. Pic: AP

Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam as the keynote speaker at Whitehorse Business Week Breakfast at Box Hill Town Hall. Pic: Andrew De La Rue

Gough Whitlam at the Mount Prichard Community Club in October 2004. Pic: Andrew Taylor

Gough Whitlam watches Mark Latham as he speaks on stage at Mount Pritchard Community Club. Pic: Tamara Dean

Gough and Margaret Whitlam in January 2003. Pic: Simon Alekna

Gough Whitlam in the documentary ‘Gough Whitlam – In His Own Words’. Pic: SBS/Supplied

Gough Whitlam “In His Own Words”. Pic: Steven Siewert

Gough and Margaret Whitlam in 2006. Pic: Craig Sillitoe

Former PM Gough Whitlam laughs during a function at the Westmead Hospital where he planted a Millennium Tree to mark 25 years since his government’s dismissal. Pic: Andrew Meares

Gough Whitlam speaking at a public hearing into East Timor at Parliament House in Canberra. Pic: Paul Harris

Ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam launched the Oxford University Press latest edition dictionary at the ANU, Canberra. Pic: Belinda Pratten

Gough Whitlam. Pic: Andrew Taylor

Gough Whitlam celebrates his 80th birthday at the state library. Pic: Robert Pearce

TweetFacebookGuardian Australia that Mr Whitlam would be remembered for his impact on Australia’s universities, Medicare, family law, land rights for indigenous Australians and improving relations with China.

Australia has lost one of its greatest in Gough Whitlam

— Joel Fitzgibbon (@fitzhunter) October 20, 2014

“As prime minister, I was conscious of walking in Whitlam’s footsteps as our government set about creating a companion to Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” she said.

“Every Labor leader and every prime minister who has followed him has wrestled with his legacy. Gough Whitlam transformed so much about Australia and the prime ministership.”

Former Labor leader Kim Beazley, who is now Australia’s ambassador to the United States and whose father Kim Beazley snr served as a minister in the Whitlam government, said the former Labor leader was “without question the most erudite politician we have had lead Australia” and a “timeless figure”.

“He made the modern opposition, through the establishment of shadow cabinet, the creation of comprehensive policy, the willingness not just to pursue the negative but to pursue what people wanted to know – what you would do with the place,” he told Fairfax Media from Washington.

Former Labor leaders Kim Beazley, Paul Keating, Bob Hawke, Bill Hayden and Gough Whitlam. Picture: Paul Harris

“His government was fraught and struggled but it left many monuments behind it, the changes he made in education, then changes in Aboriginal affairs, the changes he made in health, the changes he made in innovative Commonwealth use of Section 96 grants,” he said.

“While his actual activities ebbed and flowed in the hands of different governments, his approach basically remains as the underpinnings of many of great Australian social initiatives.”

Mr Beazley said he had “millions” of personal memories of Mr Whitlam but the first was when, as a child, he would travel to Canberra with his father in August each year for parliament.

“My father used to be put me in the Speakers’ gallery of parliament, almost as a babysitting service, and Gough would often, if I was sitting there, come across and say hello.”

‘Most connected’

Liberal backbencher Philip Ruddock, the only sitting federal MP to serve with Mr Whitlam, having been elected in 1973, said that after John Howard, the former Labor PM was the former prime minister to whom he had been most connected.

The Canberra tally room in 1975: Gough Whitlam holds his head high despite the early indications.

“My election as the member for Paramatta [in 1973], it was a very adversarial by-election, it was when Billy Snedden was making ground and we got a huge swing. But it was primarily because he proposed Galston as the second airport for Sydney and that caused a great deal of anxiety that could be very easily exploited.”

“He forgave me for beating him. In his very magnanimous way he would say ‘comrade, that’s the way it had to be’…I liked Gough Whitlam, he was a gentleman who believed in what he believed but it didn’t interfere with the personal relationships.”

Mr Fraser said that his predecessor as prime minister had a place in Australian history that was “very special to Gough”.

“He is in some ways almost a mythological figure, he is revered, whatever the success or shortfalls of his government, he has played an enormously important part in Australians life and that can’t be taken from him,” he told Fairfax Media.

“In the arts, opera theatre literature, music he opened up possibilities that seemed to be new and exciting”.

“He went to China at a time when the visit took some courage, China was still very much on the outer, [US president Richard] Nixon’s visit hadn’t taken place, but he laid the foundations for a new and more productive relationship.”

Mr Whitlam was larger than life and a tough opponent in and outside of the parliament, who had not born a grudge for the manner of his dismissal, Mr Fraser said.

“He was a formidable parliamentary performer and one of the significant debaters of his time … Gough was one of the leaders. It was a time when there were people who had their own character because of who and what they were. I think the Parliament today has less personalities in it, people who don’t seem to shine – people read speeches rather than making them.

March 2008: Gough Whitlam, the special guest at the ANU Bruce Hall commencement dinner.

As for the events of 1975, Mr Fraser said he “never had the feeling he carried personal animosity to me as a result of 1975”.

“As we met at different forums, mostly overseas initially, the ice began to break and we established a friendship. We supported the independence ofThe Agefrom the back of a truck overlooking Fitzroy Gardens together. We found that we had a number of issues where we had a common view – on refugees, independence of the media, but also we had a common idea of Australia as a country that could play an active and productive role as a middle-ranking power cooperating with others.”

“It was only later we developed a closeness and a friendship, after we left the parliament.”

And in the years after both left politics, Mr Fraser said, the pair had not discussed the events of 1975 as “those events were passed, he knew and I knew what the facts were”.

“There wasn’t a great deal of point really. There were enough things to discuss between us that were relevant and significant and more up to date than 1975.”

Paying tribute: Flowers on the steps of Old Parliament House. Picture: Jamila Toderas

“If he had a fault it was trying to do too much too quickly, which made it difficult to implement everything. That’s possibly a product of being out of office for 23 years, which is not healthy for democracy. It’s better that governments change more often than that.”

ACTU president Ged Kearney called Mr Whitlam “a once in a generation leader” who was driven by a vision for a greater Australia.

“Gough Whitlam sensed that Australians wanted something different and he harnessed that and ushered in a period of great social, cultural and economic change in Australia,” Ms Kearney said.

She listed recognition ofChina and equality for women and the first peoples of Australia among Mr Whitlam’s achievements.

Ms Kearney also paid tribute to the partnership of Gough and Margaret Whitlam.

“Gough and Margaret were a terrific team and together they made an enormous difference to generations of Australians.”

Ms Kearney said while Mr Whitlam was only prime minister for three years, he continued to contribute to the nation over his lifetime.

“Gough Whitlam’s legacy is one of a fairer and more just society and it is our responsibility to instil this in generations of Australians to come,” Ms Kearney said.

Find out more about Gough Whitlam’s legacy at The Whitlam Institute