Tag: Whitlam

Adani: DFAT facing questions over possible secret requests for foreign cash to fund controversial mine – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

“It is not the role of the Australian Government or its diplomatic missions to be involved as finance brokers for a very controversial project like this,” he said.”There needs to be an open and transparent process.”

Remember Kemlani and what happened to Whitlam (Old Dog) Loans affair – Wikipedia

Source: Adani: DFAT facing questions over possible secret requests for foreign cash to fund controversial mine – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The death of a visionary and the decline of Australian democracy

The political malaise currently gripping Australia is made all the more poignant when an iconic leader of the past leaves us.

Whatever your political bent, the passing of Gough Whitlam reminds us of a time when leaders helped shape what the country would become and what it meant to be Australian.

The visionary jingoism of Gough’s time is now a relic of the past. The benefits and complexities of living in a globalised, multicultural world is giving rise to two conflicting ideologies.

The first is a new kind of humanist consciousness, which is often at odds with national policy making and the second, an ever more insular hyper capitalism in which organisations shape policy and democracy ‒ of, by and for the people ‒ takes a back seat to capital markets.

For any nation looking to prosper in a world becoming more connected ‒ where nations are increasingly dependent on one another ‒ forging your own path, living to your own values is sadly seen as politically dangerous and diplomatically reckless regardless which party you represent.

In the past twenty years, Australia has moved from being the envy of the world ‒ a strong, free, principled, fair and welcoming society ‒ to becoming a more mean-spirited, intolerant, arrogant and crude sidekick of Westminster and the Oval Office. This transition was intended to endear us to larger, richer, stronger nations thought to be in the best position to protect and support us . From whom I still have no idea.

It is true that Australia’s relationship with the United States and Britain provides us with benefits, but does it deliver enough value to compensate for the damage it has and continues to cause to our freedom, our democratic rights and our national identity?

I am not yet forty years old, but in my lifetime we have gone to war in Iraq three times. We have destroyed a nation on the other side of the world that never threatened nor attacked us.

Confusingly, however, we allow the genocide of impoverished people in Africa without raising an eyebrow. We stand silently as a generation of people fight for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and Tibet and we say nothing.

Our diggers went to war in Europe, Korea and Vietnam, fighting for the principles of democracy, fighting for freedom of all people — and yet now, when others want to secure that very same right, we remain silent; the aggressor is a major trading partner and heaven forbid we offend the golden goose.

It seems our moral conscience has a price and our federal politicians have been under instruction to sell, sell, sell!

The reason Australia teeters on the edge of a moral identity crisis is that we have allowed the slow, steady erosion of our democracy. The leadership required to turn the ship around ‒ visionary leadership and political courage like that provided by Whitlam ‒ simply cannot exist in today’s political system. A system which has nothing at all to do with delivering the will people and everything to do with power and partisanship.

In 2006, the ABS counted political party members at just 1.3% of the Australian adult population — yet political parties are required to deliver the outcomes sought by their members.

But what about the other 98.7% of voting aged Australians, who want their politics, sans entrenched ideology?

There is no other environment in the world in which the selection of a leader based on capacity, merit and intelligence could install Tony Abbott ahead of Malcolm Turnbull.

Only political party politics ‒ a system that relentlessly protects its base, operates with factions and is driven by powerful ideology ‒ could provide Australia’s current Cabinet.

Change is not just inevitable, it is vital for our survival.

Everything in your world has been innovated in the last forty years — your technology, entertainment, job, food, medical support, transport, travel, telecommunications and a thousand other things. My grandmother is 98 years old and today’s world is unrecognisable from the world she was born into, just as it is unrecognisable from the world she lived in when she was the age I am now.

Everything has changed, been innovated, evolved and been improved.

Yet, our system of government ‒ which is older than my grandmother and is intended to serve our entire society ‒ has remained unchanged. Real democracy requires a complete overhaul of what we the people are prepared to accept from our representatives.

Real democracy that will deliver nation building demands an informed constituency, accountability of representatives, transparency and removal of all corporate donations and lobbyists; a system based on merit, an agnostic non-partisan approach to all issues, a fact based solutions oriented commitment from all sides of politics and equality of opportunity for those willing to participate and commit themselves to civic duty.

Many people across the globe are exploring what Democracy 2.0 might look like and it is time Australia joins the conversation.


The Gough Whitlam memorial: Farewell to a giant

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s memorial service in Sydney yesterday was an occasion memorable for its reticence, proud good taste and meaningful contributions, writes Bob Ellis.

For a time it seemed Rudd must sit beside Gillard, but it was soon sorted, and they sat, eyes averted, two apart. Keating, entering, with Annita, got huge applause; Hawke with Blanche, less so, Penny Wong and her ‘spouse’ a great deal, Garrett a little more.

Silence greeted Howard and Jannette. Abbott, unaccompanied, materialised in the front row, from, it seemed, a secret entrance, having been booed out on the street.

Jill Wran was there. Albo and Carmel, Deputy Premier and Deputy Premier, man and wife. John Brown. Smith and Swan. Menadue. Spiegelman. Two Fergusons. Les Johnson and Doug McClelland. Barry Jones, famous now since 1948, irrepressible, buoyant, grizzled. Phillip Adams, looking as he did since he was twenty-five. Latham was not there, of course; of course. Like Hemingway, he never forgave a favour.

Huge pipe organ music as the tall family entered; a ‘flotilla of Whitlams’, I used to call them, fewer now.

From the upper level, near the front, I could see all the faces, like a perfect stained glass window of a gathering of sainted worthies, in a sacred site, the Town Hall, where, six months ago, Nifty’s coffin had lain, and his daughter, now on a charge of murder, had spoken over him, quoting Shakespeare.

There was the national anthem and Kerry O’Brien came forward, tawny and mild-mannered, Steve McQueen-like, as always, and I remembered how, on the day of the sacking, he, beside me in the press gallery, had said:

“Let slip the dogs of war.”

He told of working on Gough’s last campaign — the energy, the detail, the generosity, the fury, the joy.

And then there was a welcome to country, and a potent didgeridoo, and then … Freudenberg.

The years melted away and I remembered Freudy in 1977 after Gough resigned, saying:

“I’m, what, forty-two, and my life is over. It ended tonight.”

I remembered ten years ago, after a lunch with Jeff Shaw, Gough saying: “Lend me a shoulder, comrade” and, leaning on Freudy, walked from the building, linked forever to his collaborator and chronicler.

Freudy’s speech ‒ and his delivery of it ‒ showed the great orator the Legislative Assembly lost when the Labor Party, in its wisdom, nominated Eddie Obeid instead. Like his speech on getting life lembership, in the same Town Hall, it was among the best ten of our nation. But there was more, and better, to come.

Across the world, with perfect symmetry, America’s Whitlam, Obama, was being ended by ebola and Fox News, the toy of Murdoch, who had ended Gough also, and the choir and the orchestra performed the St Matthew Passion final chorus by J.F. Bach.

Cate Blanchett came forward and spoke of how she, as a woman, was better able to explore what she could do in the world because of Whitlam’s free universities and Abbott, the minister for women, cringed in the front row. The choir sang the chorus of the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi and things notched up a bit.

Fifteen years ago, I called Noel Pearson ‘Australia’s best orator’, after sharing a stage with him in Mosman.

He proved it again before a vaster audience in Town Hall with an oration rich in wile and fury, almost Elizabethan in its intimacy, clarity and beauty, in which, being now himself a man of no party, he extolled the ‘old man’ he, his people, and Australia, owed so much.

Quickly hailed as the ‘best Australian speech, ever’, it became, like Lincoln’s second inaugural, a new benchmark of the language well used in a great cause on a high occasion.

Kelly and Carmody then sang From Little Things Big Things Grow in an atmosphere charged like none since wartime.

Faulkner’s tribute and Tony Whitlam’s thanks then swiftly followed and the first chords of Jerusalem, as always, had me in tears.

I remembered Gough at Margaret’s funeral theatrically steering his wheelchair out of the church as the choir sang ‘I shall not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand’ and knowing, I think, precisely knowing, that this was the last that most of us would see of him, heroically engulfed in this great Labour anthem, tragically leaving, making his exit, the job unfinished. And here was the song again.

It was swiftly sung, and that was it. No coffin was carried out. There was silence.

The orchestra conductor stood undecided. Would there be more? No. An inconclusive, shuffling silence.

And that was it.

It was an occasion memorable for its reticence, proud good taste and almost Anglican harmony of soul. No humorous montage of wacky television moments was projected. Gough’s own voice did not occur, though the imitations of others, on stage and at the party afterwards, were many and usually good — Mike Carlton’s, as always, the best.

There was a feeling not so much of sadness, or even happiness at a great life well concluded, as of an enormous, high-vaulting life interrupted, diverted, dislocated and of thirty-eight years then somewhat, although not altogether, diminished in a sort of grand nightclub act, of a stand-up elder statesman for a nation’s posterity.

Language honours and forgives / Everyone by whom it lives, as Auden said of Yeats. Lincoln, Churchill, the Kennedys, Obama, had varying successes and great failures in war and peace, but their gift of language, of the smooth self-mocking utterance, of bringing the house down with gales laughter, made up for their failings while millions died.

Whitlam’s record was better than theirs. He embarked on no new war. He ended one. He uplifted three generals to a possibility of personal excellence like none before him, or after. He fought the good fight, he finished, or almost finished, the course. He kept the faith. Now there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness.

And so it goes.

The Liberal’s attack on Whitlam and Gillard 38 years apart: An attack on progressive ideas & a return to mediocrity

gillard gough

Originally published on http://polyfeministix.wordpress.com/

Despite the IPA’s urgency for “Abbott to be more like Whitlam” because Whitlam ‘changed Australia, more than any other Prime Minister ever has,’ the IPA’s agenda for Abbott is very different.

In the 1970’s Gough Whitlam was seen as the first progressive Prime Minister, who stood for the people. He stood for workers, battlers, migrants, everyone. He wanted to shift Australia to a more inclusive and progressive society.

Gough shifted Australia from a stagnant, mediocre nation, to a nation of ideas, progress and voices.

For so many years, the voices of the worker, the battlers and migrants had been silenced, by the collective group of individuals who could manage just fine on their own; whether that be through the privilege of money, position in society, family heritage or education, is neither here nor there. The crux of the what Gough Whitlam did, was to bring more people into this exclusive collective by opening up opportunities, thought a hand up, a fair go for all. Gough’s vision was to propel the nation forward, through ensuring that individual Australians could achieve enormous success; even if they were in a previously ‘excluded group’ under the Liberals. He wanted every single Australian, to be the best that they could be.

Gough Whitlam propelled this country forward, and these changes became the status-quo we all accepted and still do:

  • Access for all to Higher Education
  • Needs based funding for schools
  • The beginning of what we know today as Medicare – Medibank
  • National funding of hospitals and community health centres
  • The creation of the single mother’s pension (now parenting payment-single)
  • The handicapped children’s allowance (now known as carer’s payment).
  • Funding community grassroots social welfare organisations and volunteer organisations (now collectively known as ‘the community sector’) who served a need to assist individuals in their communities.
  • Enacted the Social Housing Act for States, which has housed so many Australians from low income/disadvantaged households
  • Outlawed discrimination against Indigenous people
  • Handed back land to Indigenous people
  • Funded legal services for Indigenous people
  • Enacted Human Rights protection through International Acts
  • Funded urban transport projects
  • and connected homes to sewerage – the beginning of the end of the thunderbox

It is well known that Gough Whitlam’s legacy is very vast, therefore, I have only chosen a few for example. To read more go to: The Whitlam Government’s achievements

In the 1970’s, the Liberals, not happy at all with such changes to our society, sought a means to attack this progress and ‘return Australia to its Status Quo – to the mediocre way Australians had lived before under the Liberals.” Through political mechanisms within our system, the LNP stamped their feet and got their own way.

The reason why I have highlighted the above is to me, the correlation between the attack on Julia Gillard and Gough Whitlam. Why do I see this as a correlation between the two? Because both have the underlying construct of:

Shifting the status-quo to exclusion of groups, the notion that only ‘those who try succeed’, that everyone is equal, and the disadvantaged and unemployed are the burden of society’

In ways that Gough Whitlam shaped Australia, Julia Gillard was also attempting to do so. Policy highlights such as Gonski reforms (needs based funding for education), NDIS (Peace of mind for every Australian, for anyone who has, or might acquire, a disability), A price on Carbon (a leader ahead of many other western countries, now adopting a price on carbon), the Royal Commission into Child Abuse, an attack on Work Choices and the introduction of Fair Work Australia and Modern Awards, the National Broadband Network (which would give fast internet nationwide, including regional & rural), Plain packaging for cigarettes (a leader ahead of other nations wanting to adopt the same) and an apology to all persons affected by forced adoption practices, to name a few.

In fact, the IPA, the right wing think tank of Australia, found Prime Minister Gillard’s progress for Australians, so threatening to the Liberal way of life, they have issued a list to Abbott in 2011, to which he has agreed to implement.

The threat to the Liberal’s right-wing side of politics, that these progressive changes of the Gillard Government would become norm and adopted as the status quo amongst Australians, was a serious concern and action needed to be taken.

Indeed action was taken. The Liberals did not hold the balance of power in the senate, as they did in 1975, so they needed to adopt ways and means of bringing down a progressive and effective Government. They needed to ensure that the Liberals gained power. To do this, they needed to taint the left as corrupt, a shambles and not to be trusted.

The onslaught on Julia Gillard during her Prime Ministership was relentless, astounding, hateful and most of all untruthful.

The right, did not care if Prime Minister Gillard was not a criminal. The fact of the matter is, they had to paint her as a criminal to bring her down. Once the trust of the electorates where broken, through this tactic, they were home and hosed.

The idea behind the IPA’s list of ideas to Abbott is so that reforms could be torn down, as quickly as possible and that a push to the right through Liberal policy can shift the status quo to the hard right. The reasoning behind this, is once this becomes status quo, it will be extremely hard for any left Government in power to shift policy back to the progressive left.

This is summarized in this quote below from John Roskam, James Paterson and Chris Berg of the IPA:

Only radical change that shifts the entire political spectrum, like Gough Whitlam did, has any chance of effecting lasting change. Of course, you don’t have to be from the left of politics to leave lasting change on the political spectrum.

Essentially, the IPA has requested Abbott push the country as far right as possible, so it then becomes adopted by the public as the status quo and becomes normal over time. This is the impetus behind the relentless attacks on the Prime Minister Gillard and her Government.

Now we have a situation where the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard has been cleared of all criminal activity. The question is, how did this play in the minds of voters at the election in 2013? How did this sway the votes to the ‘trusted right?’ The question we need to ask ourselves now and in the future, is now we understand the true agenda of the Liberal party, do we vote again in 2016/17 for a progressive Australia, or the Liberals return to mediocrity?

The Colossus of Cabramatta – Part Two

Gough Whitlam with Richard Nixon (image from theaustralian.com.au)

There’s no denying that many supporters of The Greens were taken offside by Nick Kenny’s article yesterday. One comment was made that Nick should have been more concerned with attacking the ‘real enemy’ – the Liberal Party. Today Nick does just that as he breaks down another myth about Gough Whitlam.

Myth # 2: “Gough stuffed the economy, blew the budget, and made a mess of the joint” (The Liberals).

The Liberals love this one. Only the last part of it is even remotely true. Gough’s major downfall was trying to achieve too much too soon. After 23 years in opposition, having missed the global tide of left-wing reform in the 1960s, Gough and the ALP had a truckload of ideas they were aching to unleash.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve waited, no government is capable of focusing on more than a handful of key policies at once. The ALP learned from this mistake – the Hawke-Keating years were a succession of drastic, much needed economic reforms, spread out over the course of thirteen years. Gough tried to squeeze in the lot in three, and the government collapsed under the confusion and turmoil.

But that’s as far as it goes. Gough did not “stuff the economy” – Nixon and OPEC did. The United States president dismantled the Bretton-Woods monetary system in 1971. Those countries that had used it as the replacement for the previous “gold standard”, including Australia, saw inflation skyrocket. Two years later, the entire global economy was plunged into chaos and disorder after the Arab oil crisis of 1973, bringing an end to almost two decades of unbroken, unprecedented growth. The “Golden Years” had passed us, and the ALP missed the boat by sitting on the opposition benches the entire time.

Much like James Scullin, who came to power two days before the infamous Wall Street Crash of 1929, and was turfed from office two years later as the Depression tore us apart, Gough was a victim of rotten timing. There was bugger-all any Australian could, should, or would have done to properly prepare us for the economic earthquake that would shock the world into a new age.

For his part, Gough stayed staunch, and tried to keep us on our steady new course while the economic winds went out of our sails. In the end, the country jumped shipped ship, blaming him for the miserable weather.

The idea that Gough “blew out the budget” is even more laughable. This myth is passed around in Liberal circles as some testament to the superior economic credentials of the Coalition, particularly under the Howard prime ministership. It is an outright lie. The Whitlam Government delivered a budget surplus every year it was in power.

Moreover, the Fraser Government that defeated Whitlam in 1975 went on to deliver seven consecutive budget deficits. With nothing to show for it. And who was Treasurer overseeing this obscene waste of taxpayer dollars? Who held the key to the nation’s piggy bank, signed the cheques, sent interest rates through the roof? None other than the Liberal grand master himself, John Winston Howard.

The Fraser/Howard duo inherited zero government debt from the Whitlam Government. Zero. By 1983, Howard had blown the budget out to $40 billion. And for all this spending, nothing was achieved – in fact, we went a hundred miles an hour in reverse. Howard and Fraser went on a warpath to undo almost everything achieved during the Whitlam years, and left us with nothing more than double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates, double-digit unemployment, record numbers of strikes, an “inward-looking, moribund, industrial graveyard”, and a $40 billion dollar debt that refused to die until Howard sold Telstra off decades later to recoup the losses.

Whitlam spent within his government’s means, and he spent it on priceless investments – free tertiary education and universal health care are just a few. While we now shackle our governments’ spending according to the gospel of “fiscal conservatism”, we would do well to remember an age when spending was seen for what it really is – an investment. No different to a mortgage, private school tuition, share portfolio, health insurance, employee training seminars, university degrees, and so on. Consider all these private, personal sacrifices we make in our lives that pay off in the long run. Now consider them on a national scale. Organised, targeted, and accessible to all, elevating this country to its true potential. Such was the Whitlam dream.

The Colossus of Cabramatta – Part One

Image from 3aw.com.au

The ALP, the Liberals, and the Greens – all trying to rewrite history in their own ink, for their own gain. Nick’s three-part series will set the record straight.

Myth # 1 – “The Whitlam Government was a shining example of progressive politics. Just like The Greens”.

This is a disgusting cheap shot and the biggest insult of all. Gough Whitlam’s entire political life was dedicated to the ALP. Never once did the man work for another party, never once did he renounce his faith, and never once did he align himself with the ridiculous noise that passes for “policy” on the far-left.

Within days of Gough’s passing, The Greens had the shameless audacity to post an image of the man with the caption “Vale Gough Whitlam” adjacent to their logo. They have since justified this mockery by blurring the memory of Gough’s ideas, picking and choosing a handful of their own, then dressing up them both up to make them seem like two peas in a pod. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For a start, Gough had no time for the pitiful ordeal of “protest politics”. Yelling slogans on a sunny afternoon, throwing a spanner into the works of anything and everything for the sake of it, then patting yourself on the back was never his style. Gough understood power was only useful by those who held it – which is how and why brought Labor back into power. The Greens have always been no more than a noisy fringe group, and so shall they remain forevermore.

Secondly, the Whitlam government had detailed, costed policies. Some worked, some didn’t. Regardless, these policies were based on extensive, evidence-based research, consultation with business, unions, academics, policy experts, community leaders, and the heads of government departments. While you can’t please everyone, Gough wanted to involve as much of the country as possible. Labor and Liberal have both used this approach – so much of their success or failure hinges on how well they pull this off. The Greens have never done this, nor will they ever. While the country gathers inside the political tent to sort out its problems, they stand outside pissing in.

Greenies have since offered the timid excuse that “the modern ALP bears no resemblance to the ALP Gough ran”, as though this somehow makes Gough a Greenie by default. This is a desperate attempt to climb back out of the gutter. The entire nation bears little resemblance the Australia of the 1970s. The entire world, in fact. The political landscape has been completely transformed, as both major parties have lurched to the right and the old socialist-capitalist warfare has faded. A new era of free market economics reigns supreme.

To claim Whitlam as a Green simply because the times suit them would be as pathetic and low as the ALP claiming Menzies as one of their own. Our longest serving PM and a blue-blooded Liberal, he ran targeted deficits when needed, expanded access to tertiary education, boosted immigration, funded the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme to deliver clean energy to the country, launched ABC television, pushed for aboriginal voting rights, boosted foreign aid, and built close ties with Singapore and Malaysia. The ALP could argue that this makes the bloke Labor through and through.

But they’ve got their own heroes – Keating, Curtin, Chifley, Hawke, and of course, Whitlam. The Liberals have the likes of Menzies and Howard. Even the bogans in Queensland who vote One Nation or The Nationals had Pauline Hanson and Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The Greens? Not one noteworthy, charismatic, or influential character. The closest they’ve come is Bob Brown – who was accurately described by one of Keating’s speechwriters as a bloke who looks, acts, and preaches like a Mormon on a bicycle missing his other half. Neither he nor his party have ever come close to legend status.

The Greens are spineless and desperate – Gough lived and died as a man of the Australian Labor Party.

After all, they were an economic disaster, right? Well Stephen Koukoulas would disagree. Whitlam’s Fiscal Legacy. But he uses facts, facts do have a tendency to be biased against Liberal propaganda.

Gough Was An Unreasonable Man!

Labor shouldn’t have waited till Whitlam’s death to defend him. And yes, I am aware that many of the rank and file did. But for too long, the Liberals have been allowed to say “the worst government since Whitlam” without protest from the Labor side of politics.

And I guess this is my biggest criticism of the Labor Party over the past forty years: For too long far too many have been prepared to sacrifice Whitlam to the myths of the time, to say that yes, he was economically irresponsible but we’ve learned our lesson. This has enabled the Liberals to build up the sort of nonsense that Andrew Bolt was peddling in his pathetic attempt to create controversy last week. Even allowing for the fact that Whitlam’s Government was hit with the sort of financial shocks that rocked the rest of the world and sent the US and others into the previously unknown “stagflation”, the fact is that the Fraser /Howard team didn’t solve our inflation or our unemployment problems. When the Fraser/Howard partnership was voted out, the debt relative to GDP was higher than it had ever been. And Howard remains the only Treasurer to hit the 10% inflation, 10% unemployment double.

Gough achieved more in three years than Fraser achieved in seven. In fact, I have trouble thinking of anything enduring that Fraser introduced. The same for Holt and McMahon. Howard? Ah, yes. The GST. And the Private Health Insurance subsidy. Yep, Gough was a leader while Liberal PM’s have been managers.

It wasn’t easy for Mr Whitlam. To achieve, he fight many in his own party as well as the Coalition and the media. I keep thinking of a quote:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw

Let’s hope that another unreasonable man soon emerges for Labor. God knows, the Liberals have enough of them. But unfortunately, while Whitlam wanted to take us into a new era, they’re content with taking us backwards.

Gough Whitlam and the Rupert Murdoch memory hole. For Bolt’s Never to be seen Archive by a senior Exec of News Corp

View image on Twitter

With Gough Whitlam’s legacy now being reconsidered and debated, one thing the Australian media are not prepared to discuss is the role of Rupert Murdoch in his dismissal, writes Rodney E. Lever.

WITH THE SAD PASSING of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam this week, it is interesting to recall how his illustrious record has been besmirched and distorted over the years – even in recent years – and how certain elements involved in his dismissal have been removed from view — and placed down the memory hole.

Last year, for instance, I saw the two episodes of the ABC’s documentary about the Whitlam era, called Whitlam: the Power and the Passion.

Having been closely involved at that time, I was amazed at Australia’s national broadcaster’s either incompetence or deliberate burying of the truth.

The ABC reeled out all the false allegations thrown at the Whitlam Government by Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers at the time, with no evidence whatsoever to back them up. It simply repeated ugly and untrue stories from The Australian — stories that have been since been shown to be contrived, exaggerated and false.

Did they mention that John Howard was one of the busy bee Liberals who secretly brought Khemlani to Australia and took him to a Canberra hotel with his two suitcases of records of supposed dealings with the Whitlam Government. After long days and nights sifting through the papers, Howard and his colleagues found nothing – absolutely nothing – which could be held detrimentally against Whitlam and his government?

No. There was no mention of that. Nor have I seen any mention of this in the welter of articles about Whitlam and his dismissal this week.

This is just one part of the concerted misinformation campaign carried out by the Murdoch press at the behest of a furious, jilted, Rupert Murdoch in 1975.

In 1975, Rupert Murdoch came back from England, where he had just purchased The News of the World. He came expressly to destroy a government which, three years earlier, he had helped to elect.

Murdoch had hated Menzies. He also hated McMahon, who was in the pocket of the Packers.

He campaigned for Whitlam in 1972, with all the emerging power of his newspapers and expected rewards in return.

From Whitlam, he got nothing back, not even condescension, for Whitlam certainly had at least the same level of personal ego as Rupert Murdoch — perhaps even more.

Miffed by Whitlam’s failure to reward him for his support in the election and Whitlam’s failure to accept the Murdoch view on how to run the country, Rupert began his ugly, ruthless campaign to bring Whitlam down. It was the most savage attack on an elected government in the history of this country — with the possible exception of the attacks on Julia Gillard and Labor’s reforms in the last term of Parliament.

Joan Evatt recalls this vicious propaganda campaign:

In the early stages of the campaign, there had been criticisms from highly regarded journalists about their copy being so altered that their stories bore no resemblance to articles that had been filed. Placement was pushed back, headlines were deemed by them as scurrilous and not reflective of the content, and so the outraged allegations of not just media bias, but direct editorial interference, precipitated a strike of journalists.

Denis Cryle in a 2008 book outlined journalists’ complaints:

…the deliberate and careless slanting of headlines, seemingly blatant imbalance in news presentation, political censorship and, more occasionally, distortion of copy from senior specialist journalists, the political management of news and features, the stifling of dissident and even palatably impartial opinion in the papers’ columns…

In the Murdoch Papers, Dr Martin Hirst detailed some firsthand accounts of the overt anti-Whitlam pro-Liberal bias of the Murdoch press, including by former Murdoch employee Alan Yates:

Alan Yates was a third-year cadet on the Daily Mirror and recalls the dismissal ‘shocked the entire newsroom’. Yates was on the AJA House Committee and says that while Murdoch was not necessarily in the newsroom, ‘his editors and his chiefs of staff were certainly involved in day-to-day selection of editorial content’. Alan Yates has said that he felt powerless as a ‘junior reporter’, but remembered his copy being altered to favour the Liberal Party’s viewpoint:

‘When questioning the chiefs of staff and chief sub-editor about this I was clearly told that that was the editorial line, the editorial people had thought that it was a stronger angle. Therefore I was left not too many options to go.’

Murdoch’s journalists rebelled at the vicious campaign and many resigned from the company in disgust

Alas, I was not among them. I was the senior executive of News Corp in Queensland and the lone breadwinner for my family and the father of six children, all at a critical stage of their education. I felt unable to walk away from my job so easily as some of the other journalists. But the events of those days brought me to consider resignation at a more appropriate time.

The mainstream media, by ignoring this sad episode, are touching up historical events to make them more palatable to certain current actors — specifically Rupert Murdoch. By doing so, they tarnish the Whitlam legacy and mislead the Australian people.

In effect, the mainstream media are sending Rupert Murdoch’s – and its own – role in the premature downfall of Gough Whitlam down Australia’s growing memory hole, thereby doing the Australian people a manifest disservice.

He turned this country from inward looking stagnant to progressive. A fairer place for having done so. “It’s Time Again”

gough whitlam with mic

Ladies and gentlemen, well may we say ‘God Save the Queen’, because nothing will save the Governor-General. The proclamation you have just heard was countersigned Malcolm Fraser, who will go down in history as Kerr’s cur.

Maintain your rage and enthusiasm for the campaign for the election now to be held and until polling day.

I have more influence now than when I had the power.

Whitlam hands traditional land over

Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of the earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever.

I was profoundly embarrassed by it (the White Australia Policy) and did all I could to change it.

On Malcolm Fraser

He is lofty, and I am eminent.

Whitlam in China

Hostility towards China distorted Australia’s international affairs for 20 years until 1972, but reconciliation with China 30 years ago had produced a quarter century of constructive bipartisan relations with our region and the world, unmatched in Australian history.

Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.

Conscription is an impediment to achieving the forces Australia needs. It is an alibi for failing to give proper conditions to regular soldiers. We will abolish conscription forthwith. By abolishing it, Australia will achieve a better army, a better-paid army – and a better, united society.

My great objective as a parliamentarian was to dramatise the deficiencies and devise practical government programs to deal with them. It was a cause that went to the heart of our way of life.

Gough Whitlam as Werriwa MP, 1957-59


The punters know that the horse named Morality rarely gets past the post, whereas the nag named Self-interest always runs a good race.