Tag Archives: Gough Whitlam

Relics of colonialism: the Whitlam dismissal and the fight over the Palace letters

The Conversation

File 20180109 83553 1bhucel.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A reversion to imperial imbalance in the British-Australian relationship began with the Whitlam government’s election and ended with its dismissal. AAP/NAA

Jenny Hocking, Monash University

This piece is republished with permission from Commonwealth Now, the 59th edition of Griffith Review. Articles are a little longer than most published on The Conversation, presenting an in-depth analysis on the relevance of the Commonwealth of Nations in today’s geopolitical landscape.


We will make better decisions on all the great issues of the day and for the century to come, if we better understand the past. – Gough Whitlam

The celebration of the “Queen’s birthday” in Australia is a perfect reflection of a fading, remnant, relationship. Commemorated in the Australian states as a public holiday on three different days – none of which is her birthday – and honouring an event of dubious significance, the “Queen’s birthday” reminds us that, despite our national independence, the symbolic ties of colonial deference remain.

The “Queen’s birthday” may seem a fitting if absurd genuflection to a powerless relic of a former time, and in itself confirmation that the Queen no longer has a role in post-dominion matters. But things are not always as they seem.

Neither sovereignty nor national independence flowed neatly from federation. The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act created Australia as a federation of the former colonies and a constitutional monarchy, with all the tension inherent in that term – between a democratic government chosen by the people and a monarchical head of state whose ultimate constitutional power stemmed solely from inherited aristocratic assumption and unchallenged legal privilege.

The gradual devolution of Australian autonomy appeared assured at the Imperial Conference of 1926. This affirmed the relationship between Great Britain and its dominions as being that of:

… autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown.

The critical qualifier in this proclamation of an imperial gift of national autonomy, equality and independence is this: “though united by a common allegiance to the Crown”.

The imperial assertion of continued dominion allegiance to the Crown was a stark counterpoint to the proclaimed national autonomy. Indeed, it undermined the very autonomy and equality of nations the conference so proudly affirmed.

Five years after the Imperial Conference, the Statute of Westminster gave statutory expression to the principles of equality established at the Imperial Conference and vested full legislative authority and independence in the “dominions”.

Nevertheless, it remained the case that some bills would continue to require the Queen’s assent to be passed into law. The Statute of Westminster also granted dominion ministers the right of direct access to the sovereign. This access had previously been available only indirectly through UK ministers and reflected their then incomplete post-colonial status.

The ‘Queen’s birthday’ is celebrated in Australia on three different days – none of which is her actual birthday. AAP/Jodie Richter

A fight for independence

Yet, in reality, neither of these critical junctures in the evolving British–Australian relationship created the clear-cut path to national independence that these paternalistic statements of ceded imperial power might suggest.

Although the dominions were entitled to separate representation at the League of Nations and subsequently the United Nations, as made clear at the Imperial Conference, the cultural expectation of continued British primacy and Australian dominion subservience remained.

It can be seen in the British attitude toward the efforts of Australia’s minister for external affairs, H.V. Evatt, to champion the role of the smaller nations against the Great Powers at the San Francisco conference in 1945 that established the ground rules for the UN.

Evatt’s insistence that Australia would take its own independent position as an autonomous nation in these high-level international negotiations infuriated the British representatives at the fledgling discussions over the UN.

At a preliminary meeting of Commonwealth nations in London, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had bemoaned Evatt’s defiant independent stance.

Describing the Commonwealth as “the third of the Great Powers”, Churchill argued that the Commonwealth could only maintain its influence by ensuring unity among members and speaking with one voice – and that one voice of course would be Britain’s, not Australia’s.

These expectations of British administrative, legal and political authority, based more in the established imperial mindset, behaviours and networks than an exercise of formal political control, remained powerful resistors to change throughout the 20th century.

The undercurrent of lasting imperial privilege and hierarchy proved to be a major obstacle in ending the complex web of residual colonial ties across legal, constitutional and political domains.

In particular, continued allegiance to the British Crown as the imperial condition of dominion nationhood was a political oxymoron. It cast an impossible constraint on the form of national autonomy, while Australian allegiance to the British Crown was superimposed on the representative model of parliamentary democracy.

The fundamental contradiction this established at the heart of the Australian polity remained largely dormant during the long years under the avowed Anglophile prime minister Sir Robert Menzies, until inevitably rupturing along the faultlines of divided allegiance – to the British Crown on the one hand and to Australian democratic governance on the other – with the 1972 election of the Whitlam Labor government.

Australia’s continued allegiance to the British Crown above all else was a theme of the Menzies/Churchill years. Keystone-France/Getty Images

Whitlam tries to loosen the ties

Gough Whitlam came to office with a core policy agenda of ending the residual colonial ties between Australia and Britain.

Although largely seen as ceremonial and symbolic, these colonial links were to be immensely significant in the trajectory of the Whitlam government and its dismissal three years later.

Whitlam moved rapidly on some of these. He ended the British honours system and introduced Australian honours, introduced an Australian national anthem to replace God Save the Queen, changed the Queen’s title by removing arcane references to God and Empire, and, in 1974, removed the words “God save the Queen” from the official proclamation dissolving parliament.

Eighteen months after his second election victory in the double dissolution of May 1974, Whitlam was peremptorily removed from office by the Queen’s representative in Australia, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, without warning and despite Whitlam maintaining a clear majority in the House of Representatives at all times.

Concerns were immediately raised over the possible role of Buckingham Palace and British authorities in this unprecedented vice-regal action. The suspicion that the Queen knew more about Kerr’s intentions than has ever been publicly acknowledged has grown in recent years with the Queen’s embargo of her correspondence with Kerr at the time of Whitlam’s dismissal.

Of all the residual colonial ties, the one that Whitlam found particularly abhorrent, and was determined to sever, was the right of appeal from some state supreme courts to the Privy Council. In his view:

No people with an ounce of self-respect would allow decisions made by their own judges … to be overruled by judges sitting in another country.

Whitlam described this as an “absurd” and “ludicrous” situation. Yet his efforts to end remaining state Privy Council appeals were stymied at every point.

Whitlam’s attorney-general, Lionel Murphy, reported he had struck nothing but intransigence, non-co-operation and obstruction from the British authorities in the government’s moves to implement this core policy.

Returning from his first visit to England as prime minister in 1973, Whitlam was clearly frustrated by the UK’s reluctance to end colonial ties when he told reporters, more in hope than confidence:

We are a separate country from Britain. We are an entirely independent country.

A tense meeting with Edward Heath, the British Conservative prime minister, the following year saw little change. An exasperated Whitlam again declared that:

All these colonial relics are incompatible with the position of Australia as a separate, sovereign country.

When the Whitlam government was removed from office by Kerr, three years later, these state-based appeals to the Privy Council remained, unchanged.

Gough Whitlam aimed to end the residual colonialties between Australia and Britain. AAP/Alan Porritt

What we know about the Palace’s role

The archival records of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) covering these official visits are at once illuminating and disturbing. They show a troubling lack of respect for such a significant engagement with a senior member of a new Australian government.

Murphy’s visit was, after all, the first official visit by any of Whitlam’s cabinet to England. And yet, even before his arrival, the FCO files show that British authorities viewed Murphy, and indeed the Whitlam government itself, as a troublesome interloper whose presence they barely tolerated and whose policy concerns they did not share.

More than mere intransigence, or even simply a refusal to accept the legitimacy of the Whitlam government, these archival records disclose profound breaches of confidence, secrecy and even deception of Whitlam by the FCO, the British High Commission in Canberra, and the Queen’s private secretary Sir Martin Charteris. They show a partisan pattern of disrespect for and undermining of the new Labor government.

Most significantly, far from any equality of national status, “in no way subordinate one to another” professed at the Imperial Conference, these files reveal the FCO’s brazen presumption – “our right as the colonial power” – to deceive the prime minister, to liaise in secret with the conservative states and, ultimately, to intervene in Australian politics to prevent the government holding a half-Senate election to resolve a stalemate in the Senate over the passage of supply bills.

From October 16, 1975, opposition senators refused to vote on the government’s supply bills, which provided the annual funds for government expenditure. In the new political vernacular, supply was “blocked”.

Calling the half-Senate election, which was then due, had been Whitlam’s resolution to this unprecedented situation since the day supply was first blocked. The Labor caucus had voted unanimously in support of Whitlam calling the half-Senate election “at a time of his choosing”.

The FCO files document a rapid breakdown and reversion to imperial imbalance in the British-Australian administrative relationship that began with the election of the Whitlam government and ended with its dismissal. They reveal a deep suspicion of the new government that quickly led to secrecy, deception and to routine breaches of the highest levels of confidentiality by both the British prime minister’s office and the Palace throughout the terms of the Whitlam government.

Most alarming is that the FCO files also reveal overt British involvement in Australian politics in the weeks before the dismissal – specifically with the half-Senate election due at that time and which Whitlam was to call on November 11, 1975, to end the blocking of supply in the Senate.

Kerr’s papers in the National Archives of Australia provided the first glimpse of the Palace’s role in the dismissal.

Although there are some who continue to claim that the Palace was not involved, this has increasingly become more a matter of faith than fact. Revelations from Kerr’s papers, the Palace letters, and the FCO’s files have rendered that position untenable.

We now know that Charteris wrote to Kerr in October 1975 to discuss action the Palace would take if Whitlam became aware of Kerr’s plans to remove him from office and sought to recall him as governor-general. Charteris told Kerr that the Palace would, in that instance, “try to delay things”.

This communication between the Queen’s private secretary and the governor-general over the position of the governor-general himself is politically and constitutionally shocking. It reveals the Palace to be in deep intrigue with Kerr, to protect his tenure as governor-general, in the weeks before the dismissal – unknown to Whitlam.

It was also a breathtaking rupture of the vice-regal relationship. At the heart of this relationship in a constitutional monarchy is that the appointment of the governor-general is made by the Queen on the advice of the Australian prime minister alone. This has certainly been the case since 1930, when King George V accepted Labor prime minister James Scullin’s advice to appoint Sir Isaac Isaacs as governor-general.

Despite being vehemently opposed to Isaacs’ appointment, the King told Scullin:

… being a constitutional monarch I must, Mr Scullin, accept your advice.

For the Queen’s private secretary to intervene with Kerr himself on the question of the governor-general’s tenure was a staggering breach of that relationship.

From this point on, knowing that Kerr was considering dismissing Whitlam and concerned that Whitlam might then recall him, and having agreed to a course of action in order to protect Kerr’s position should Whitlam do so, the Palace was already involved in the dismissal.

Buckingham Palace was in deep intrigue with Sir John Kerr in the weeks before he dismissed the Whitlam government. EPA/Will Oliver

The fight over the Palace letters

The letters between Charteris and Kerr are part of the so-called “Palace letters”. This is the secret correspondence between the governor-general and the Queen, her private secretary, and Prince Charles, in the weeks before the dismissal.

Although these letters are among Kerr’s papers and held by the National Archives in Canberra, they are closed to us. This is because the Palace letters are considered “personal” and not official “Commonwealth” records. This is despite Kerr’s own description of them as his “duty” as governor-general, and despite their obvious significance to our history.

The Palace letters are embargoed until 2027, “at her Majesty the Queen’s instructions”, with the Queen’s private secretary retaining an indefinite veto over their release even after this date. It is quite possible, then, that they will never be released.

The Palace letters are extraordinarily significant historical documents. They are contemporaneous real-time communications between the Queen and her representative in Australia, written at a time of great political drama, and are a vital part of our national historical record.

At the heart of this still-secret vice-regal correspondence was the prospect of the dismissal of the Whitlam government, which Kerr had already raised in September 1975 with Prince Charles and Charteris.

The designation of the Queen’s correspondence with her representative in Australia as “personal” means they do not come under Australia’s Archives Act, which relates only to official “Commonwealth records”.

And so, in a rather neat catch-22, the decision by the National Archives to deny access to the correspondence cannot be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

There is only one way to challenge this decision: through a Federal Court action, which is a complex, expensive and onerous proposition. This is clearly an area in need of legislative reform to ensure a viable appeal process is in place for records described as “personal” in this way.

In an effort to secure the release of the Palace letters, I launched an action against the National Archives in the Federal Court last year, with a legal team working on a pro-bono basis and supported by a crowdfunding campaign. This concluded in September 2017; the decision is anticipated within months.

At the heart of the case is this central question of just what constitutes “personal” as opposed to “Commonwealth” records. Lead barrister Antony Whitlam (Gough Whitlam’s eldest son) argued to the court that “personal records” would be records covering matters “unrelated to the performance of Sir John’s official duties”, and that this could not extend to correspondence between the Queen and her representative in Australia prior to the dismissal. He said:

It cannot seriously be suggested that there was a personal relationship between the Queen and Sir John Kerr.

It is difficult to see, from common sense alone, that the correspondence between the Queen and her representative in Australia could in any way be seen as “personal”. The precise legal points on which the question of Palace letters’ status will turn – whether as personal or Commonwealth records – will be a different matter.

The case itself has brought to light a significant amount of new historical and contemporary material on the relationship between the Queen and the governor-general and its implications for Australian national sovereignty.

One thing that can be said is that from the moment this case came before the court, the question of the release of the Palace letters changed irrevocably. Their status and their release will now be determined by an Australian court, according to Australian law – and not as a quasi-imperial grant of release by the Queen.

This alone is an historic and important outcome that ends one of the few remaining “colonial relics” that continue to deny us access to historical documents relating to the Queen about a historical episode also relating to the Queen.

The continued embargo by the Queen of the Palace letters and the revelations from the British archives of the FCO all point to the lingering imperial power that comes from an incomplete severance of colonial ties. They show above all that the residues of colonialism, the “imperial aftermath” in Whitlam’s words, can never be fully extinguished until Australia becomes a fully independent republic.

It is surely absurd that in the 21st century we can still see the Australian prime minister giving an Australian knighthood to the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip, and that the governor-general, the Queen’s representative in Australia, can still dismiss an elected government on the basis of claimed “reserve powers” derived from, and in the name of, the Queen.

As an independent autonomous nation, Australia has a right to know its own history, including and in particular the records pointing to British involvement in that history, if we are to ensure such a profound rupture in our political structures and denial of our national sovereignty cannot happen again.

This troubling time in our history and in the Australian–British relationship is also critical to our decisions as we recommence the debate over the inevitable move toward a republic.

The fundamental issues to be confronted in that debate will relate absolutely to the events surrounding the dismissal of the Whitlam government: how to protect the institutions of democratic parliamentary governance, how to secure the formation of government in the House of Representatives, and what the powers of the new, Australian, head of state should be.


The ConversationYou can read other essays from Griffith Review’s latest edition here.

Jenny Hocking, Emeritus Professor, Monash University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. (Reblogged by permission). Read the original article.

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In an age of rhetoric, Australian politics is missing the American flair

The Conversation

Chris Mackie, La Trobe University

The busy schedule of elections and plebiscites in the Anglophone world has brought with it an increased interest in rhetoric – the art of public speaking. In particular, the recent Democratic convention in Philadelphia saw some major speeches, not the least by Barack and Michelle Obama, and others including Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg.

The notable speeches at the convention, including Hillary Clinton’s own serviceable contribution, helped to get her a bump in the polls at the right moment. The stakes were high, following on from the Republican Convention, where Trump’s long speech had a mixed response, but the controversial speeches of Melania Trump and Ted Cruz, in particular, held the nation’s attention. Trump himself is no mean orator, with a kind of aphoristic, syntax-free style, and an unrivalled capacity for getting his message and profile across.

The Australian political scene of 2016 could scarcely be more different. Campaign launches used to provide an important opportunity for a flurry of rhetoric on a political leader’s part, as Gough Whitlam’s did in 1972. But these events have lost much of their prominence now because election campaigns are constructed differently.

Party launches now occur nearer to the end of campaigning than the beginning, because the parties have to fund themselves after their launches. In the 2016 election the two main political parties launched their formal campaigns with only two weeks (ALP) and one week (Liberal Party) to go before the vote. After six weeks of three-word slogans about policies which had already been announced, interest was minimal in the speeches at the official campaign launches.

Indeed, as far as the speeches were concerned, the main interest was election night itself – that is, after the voting, not before it. Malcolm Turnbull offered up a rather graceless speech on the night of July 2, one which he probably regretted. Bill Shorten did somewhat better on the night, and in the campaign generally, although that was partly because expectations were so low.

It is worth reflecting on the ancient origins of “rhetoric”, which is a Greek word for the art of speaking in public. It developed in a very significant way in Greek antiquity with the rise of democracy.

Political power was a great stimulus for learning how to craft an impressive speech. Pericles, for instance, most famously, held the reins of power in democratic Athens by virtue of his great powers of persuasion. His prominence was such that, according to Thucidydes:

in what was nominally a democracy, power was really in the hands of the first citizen.

Pericles’ own speeches have not survived but we get a sense of them in the pages of Thucydides, notably his Funeral Oration, for fallen Athenian soldiers. His actual speeches must have been magnificent, given their impact within a city-state that was so focused on political rhetoric.

Pericles’ Funeral Oration (Perikles hält die Leichenrede) by Philipp Foltz, 1852.

But it is important to stress that, even before the advent of democracy, speaking well in public was an important ancient Greek virtue. For instance, the main Greek princes in Homer’s Iliad, our earliest European text, were expected to fight well, but also to speak well in the various assemblies.

And there were significant competitive elements to both activities. Some heroes in the Iliad are good speakers, but others are not. Achilles is a wonderful fighter, but he is ill-at-ease in the gatherings of the princes; whereas Odysseus, the wily craftsmen of words, is much more at home in the assemblies.

The greater level of interest in rhetoric in modern American political life is paralleled by its profile in the tertiary sector there. For instance, The University of California, Berkeley, has a Department of Rhetoric offering a full undergraduate program and graduate program. It describes itself as “committed to the study of rhetorical traditions from the classical to the contemporary eras”.

The University of Texas has a Department of Rhetoric and Writing offering a diverse range of courses focused on rhetoric and rhetorical traditions. Harvard has an endowed chair, the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory, once held by John Quincy Adams, although it has a poetic focus these days (and was duly held by Robert Fitzgerald and Seamus Heaney).

Many other American universities offer rhetoric within other disciplines, like English, Composition, or Communication Studies. There is some interest in the study of rhetoric in Australian universities too, although not usually as a discreet area of study.

On the whole, Australian political culture is far less concerned with rhetoric than ancient Athens, or the contemporary United States (which is not to say that we haven’t had some fine political speeches). There is nothing necessarily wrong with this. Indeed, some people would see it as a positive virtue, given the extended history of good speeches leading to bad policy.

Paul Keating’s 1992 speech on Aboriginal reconciliation is widely admired as a great speech.

But one wonders whether some great political opportunities are currently being missed more than they were in the recent past. Gough Whitlam, a scholar of Greek as it happens, and an admirer of Pericles, set his campaign on track for victory with a memorable speech at Blacktown in November 1972. It ended,

I do not for a moment believe that we should set limits on what we can achieve, together, for our country, our people, our future.

It was uttered by Whitlam, but it could easily be Pericles.

There is no reason why our political leaders couldn’t have benefited from major speeches in the recent election, in the mould of Whitlam or Pericles or Obama. They might indeed have captured the imagination of the voters. But this would have required far more attention to speechcraft, and laying out an imaginative vision for the future, and far less to the costs of running a campaign.

The ConversationChris Mackie, Professor of Greek Studies, La Trobe University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. (Reblogged by permission). Read the original article.

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Following suit: why political conventions matter

The Conversation

Richard Mulgan, Australian National University

Conventions are accepted practices that don’t have the authority of law but depend instead on the force of shared values and expectations. They are more fluid and contestable than legal rules and tend to evolve over time.

All political systems make extensive use of conventions as part of their political culture. But such conventions are particularly important in systems based on the United Kingdom’s Westminster model.

Wacky Westminster

The United Kingdom has no formal, written constitution – though it does have much legislation that is constitutionally relevant. It relies on conventions to define some of its most fundamental constitutional principles. These include the democratic principles that elected governments should be accountable to their citizens and respect their rights.

Though the Australian Commonwealth has a formal constitution as part of its federal settlement with the states, it still follows Westminster in allowing key principles of democratic accountability to operate according to convention.

Many of these conventions are contested. Even the most fundamental democratic convention underpinning the electoral process – that the governor-general acts only on the advice of the prime minister with the support of a majority in the House of Representatives – was successfully challenged in 1975.

The governor-general at the time, Sir John Kerr, acted on his own initiative and dismissed the Whitlam Labor government. That opened the way for the election of the Fraser Coalition government. This highly controversial decision influenced subsequent political attitudes towards the importance of constitutional conventions.

In general, the political left has tended to be in favour of strict observance of constitutional conventions as a matter of independent principle. The political right, though also respectful of established conventions, has shown itself less squeamish about breaking conventions in the name of the national interest as defined by the government of the day.

Polity and policy

Conventions of ministerial responsibility underpin the daily accountability of ministers to parliament and the public. Broadly speaking, ministers are obliged to take responsibility for the conduct of their portfolios in the sense of responding to parliamentary requests for information or imposing remedies when faults are brought to light. They are also required to answer directly to the public by taking questions from the media.

Ministers are expected to take the blame for actions for which they are personally responsible, but not for those that are clearly the fault of officials. Oppositions – and commentators – commonly claim ministers should resign both for their own mistakes and for those of their officials, but this has never been accepted practice.

By convention, misleading parliament is one of the few offences that can precipitate a ministerial resignation. This unfortunately encourages ministers to be evasive and economical with the truth. Otherwise, ministers decide how much information they reveal to parliament or the public – the only sanction being political accountability to voters.

As the Mal Brough case underlines, the convention is flexible in application, which largely depends on the prime minister’s judgement of the relative political costs of retaining or discarding a minister. Even if Brough remains in parliament, however, the damage he has sustained shows the continuing force of the convention.

The sacking of Gough Whitlam brought condemnation for its
clear challenge to previously respected political conventions.

National Archives of Australia. NAA: A6180, 13/11/75/33

Ministerial responsibility has also been used to protect the anonymity of public servants, on the ground that only ministers should answer for their departments and agencies. A number of structural reforms, such as the development of Senate estimates committees and the establishment of the ombudsman, have opened public servants up to direct scrutiny of administrative actions, while maintaining ministerial responsibility for matters of “policy”.

The boundaries between “policy” and “administration” are inherently contestable and a common cause of friction. If ombudsmen or auditors-general venture into criticising the substance of government policy (instead of its implementation), for instance, they are likely to face objections from ministers on the ground that the elected government has the right to impose its own policy direction.

At the same time, ministers surrender their democratic accountability obligations when they choose to devolve responsibility onto others. An example is outsourcing implementation of controversial policies to private sector contractors not subject to the same accountability regime as government officials.

Yes, minister

Relations between ministers and the public service are also subject to shifting conventions. Westminster-based traditions support a politically neutral public service appointed on merit and loyally serving the government of the day.

But since the early 1990s, heads of departments (secretaries), who are appointed by the prime minister, have been employed on limited-term contracts terminable at any time. In 1996, the incoming Coalition prime minister, John Howard, broke the convention that incumbent secretaries would serve out their terms under a new government, by immediately replacing six secretaries.

The convention was restored by the next Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, but broken again by the Coalition’s Tony Abbott. Labor seems to see the value of trusting the professionalism of the public service, while the Coalition, being more doubtful of the capacity and loyalty of public servants, seeks to vigorously impose its own political control over the machinery of government.

All recent governments have emphasised the importance of media management and have increased the number and influence of political advisers. This has weakened the close relationship with public servants on which Westminster public service conventions depend.

Other areas in which conventions are both important and controversial include relations between the executive and judicial branches of government, the extent of political patronage in government appointments, and the use of public funds for political campaigning.

While conventions have the general advantage of being free from legalistic rigidity, they can be open to abuse for partisan reasons. The fact that they depend on political sanctions for enforcement places a particular onus on conventions surrounding transparency of government information as a safeguard of democratic accountability.


This is the first in a series on breaking political conventions. Look out for more articles exploring various political conventions in the coming days.

The ConversationRichard Mulgan, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. (Reblogged by permission). Read the original article.

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Noel Pearson’s eulogy for Gough Whitlam

I found Noel Pearson’s eulogy for former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam very moving in both its eloquence and its powerful delivery. It has been hailed as one for the ages and one of the best political speeches of our time. I agree. Here is a video and transcript of the full speech. A witty excerpt from the eulogy, inspired by Monty Python, is shown below:

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November 5, 2014 · 6:51 pm