The Monthly Briefing (Today)
Like US Attorney General William Barr trying to put a pro-Trump spin on the Mueller Report, National Archives of Australia director-general David Fricker did some front-running of his own ahead of today’s release of the Palace Letters. The Queen was not told in advance that then governor-general Sir John Kerr intended to dismiss Gough Whitlam in 1975, the first headlines read, because Kerr thought it was “better for Her Majesty not to know”. The Queen, who is supposed to remain neutral, is now off the hook for meddling in Australia’s democracy by sacking an elected government, right? Wrong. Forget the attempted spin by Fricker, who has fought Monash University historian Jenny Hocking all the way to the High Court to stop the release of the 45-year-old letters. The Palace Letters should have been released in full at the very moment the court ruled they were public records, not private correspondence. Instead we’ve had to wait 45 days for no reason whatsoever, and now, on the day of release, Hocking is snubbed by Fricker, with preference given to selected media organisations to attend a briefing this morning. Further interpretation of the letters’ contents will no doubt unfold, but Professor Hocking writes this afternoon that they show the Queen, through her private secretary Martin Charteris, was advising Kerr on the powers of the Senate “and, critically, the existence and potential use of the contentious and contested reserve powers to dismiss the government”.
Hocking concludes that the Queen “breached the central tenet of a constitutional monarchy, that the Monarch is politically neutral and must play no role in political matters. The damage this has done to the Queen, to Kerr, and the monarchy is incalculable.” As the Palace Letters are digested, they will surely stir Republican sentiment, which has been largely dormant since the failed referendum campaign in 1999, spearheaded by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was then chair of the Australian Republican Movement. Turnbull’s stated position ever since has been that the most opportune time for the next referendum would be at the end of the Queen’s reign – which makes little sense – but his own memoir A Bigger Picture shows why the Palace Letters are not merely a matter of historical interest. During the botched 2018 coup attempt led by Peter Dutton, which installed Scott Morrison as Liberal leader and PM, Turnbull writes that he “came very close to uncertain territory as to the respective responsibilities of myself as prime minister and Sir Peter Cosgrove as governor-general”.
At a Sydney press conference, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was “a blight on our character as a nation that a democratically elected government was dismissed”, adding that “the actions of the governor-general on 11th of November to dismiss a government, to put himself above the Australian people, is one that reinforces the need for us to have an Australian head of state”. Recent polling released by the Australian Republican Movement showed 62 per cent of Australians supported the appointment of an Australian head of state. The Opposition has shelved its pre-election policy to have a non-binding plebiscite in the first term of a Labor government, and has made an Indigenous voice to parliament and constitutional recognition its top priority. Matt Thistlethwaite, shadow assistant minister for the republic, welcoming the interest in the issue spurred by the Palace Letters, but chose his words carefully today, saying that at some point after the COVID crisis, “Australia must begin a mature and serious discussion about our future constitutional arrangements with a view to having a serious discussion about amending our constitution to finally appoint an Australian as our head of state”.
The Palace Letters prove that, in a craven attempt to sack-or-be-sacked, Kerr conspired with the head of a foreign power to dismiss the pioneering, democratically elected Labor government led by Gough Whitlam. Until Australians ensure that our head of state is one of us, it could happen again.
So we had the Coalition in power from the late 1940’s till the 1970’s and when finally Labor is elected the Coalition in opposition colluded with the queen’s representative to bring down the government?
Oh do fuck off buzzing blowfly.Whitlam was another godless commo and in a just world would have been hung,drawn and quartered.He was intent on destroying Australia and we're still paying for his treasonous behaviour to this day.The fact that he even got to where he did is a blight on this countrys history.A more despicable creature you will not find,may he rot in hell.Kerr did the country a favour getting rid of this filthy commo swine.
You on the terps tonight Horas?
I’ve read Horas’ comment a few times now and I’m still 50:50 whether he is a complete moron or satirical funny man.
Just a reminder.
Ended conscription, freed draft resisters and withdrew the last troops from Vietnam
Started the land rights movement by, most famously, returning land to the Gurindji people.
Passed legislation to end discriminatory treatment of indigenous people.
Established equal pay for women.
Introduced the single mother’s benefit.
Banned racially selected sporting teams from South Africa
Lowered the voting age to 18.
Introduced no fault divorce and established the Family Court.
Established Legal Aid
Changed the national anthem from God Save The Queen to Advance Australia Fair
Blocked oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef and established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
And that was just in the first week.
"Changed the national anthem from God Save The Queen to Advance Australia Fair"
That would have been popular with Lizzy and the royal club.....how dare the "filthy commo swine"
Hendrix did over the Star Spangled Banner and the Sex Pistols (see below) did over GSTQ but has anyone had a go at Advance Australia Fair? You would probably be arrested for subversion if you did these days.
I played drums with a mate who emigrated from India when he was young who loved playing Advance Australia Fair on his guitar, and geez he was good.
Slow tempo, lots of distortion, fun times. He was a real Hendrix fan also.
The New Daily remind us of Mr. Pantsdown's role in the dismissal.
Speaking of songs...
Malcolm, where's yer troosers??
PUNK ROCK JUBILEE SHOCKER
Classic headline. Great tune. Cheers BB.
BB, pretty sure Adam Hills did Advance Australia Fair to the tune of Working Class Man years ago.
Classic stuff Pops
Betty Battenberg’s Bastardry
Since the release of the palace letters, there has been a rush, in some sections of the commetariat, to absolve the queen, aka Betty Battenberg, of any role in the plot to dismiss Whitlam. It is not a position well supported by the evidence. What the evidence does suggest though, is that the deniability of her role was a high priority.
In order to believe that she played no role it is necessary to believe that there was no discussion of the matter between Betty and her private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris. And that he responded to what amounted to requests for guidance from Kerr, without informing her of the advice he gave. Or if he did inform her, she managed to remain in such frozen indifference that he simply could not read her judgement on it. This is the stuff of fairy tales.
The most credible scenario then is that, having heard Marty’s views she assented non-verbally. Marty then gave the wink to Kerr, a wink being as good as a nod to a blind drunk GG, and the dismissal was underway. A final consideration is to try a counter-factual. Try imagining that it was a Coalition government and Labor blocking supply. Does anyone honestly believe that it would have played out the same way?
..... for Gough it was better to burn out than fade away.
Worth reading this one...
Some interesting comments below that article, Tango. Ones that resonate.
"Yes, Whitlam nearly sent Australia broke. He was having to ferret money from dodgy middle eastern money men like Khemlani. Fact.
As Dr. Thomas Sowell says, “the Left doesn’t like facts because they find them emotionally unsatisfying”.
And Whitlam threw trinkets to the Left (free education, for example) to quieten any criticisms."
"And here it comes, the hackneyed, worn-out, Murdochian view that “Whitlam nearly sent Australia broke”. History shows a different story. Things were tough then, but not as tough as most of the rest of the world, especially in Her Majesty’s United Kingdom, and the United States."
"The Whitlam government had zero net government debt when it was dismissed in November 1975, as well it was not until until 1975, that Australia’s rating was at AAA by Moody’s and later by Standard and Poor’s
Whitlam had government spending at 24.3% GDP…. Abbott government spending was estimated at 25.9 per cent of GDP…The Turnbull government spending was at 25.8 % GDP. The current Morrison government had forecast 24.8% GDP for 2019-2020 but that has been blown out by the pandemic.
That debt and deficit disaster about which the ATM LNP was so apoplectic had under such “better economic managers” moved as a % of GDP c.27.5 % in 2012 to c.45% in 2019… https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/government-debt-to-gdp
Also Whitlam managed to keep the economy iin a better state than both the UK and the US through 1972-1975…between 1973 and 1975, inflation in the UK grew from 7.4 per cent to 24.89 per cent - vastly higher than anything experienced in Australia...USA meanwhile, endured its worst recession since the Great Depression between November 1973 and March 1975 inflation went from 3.65% in early 1973 to 12.34% in 1974."
Murdoch propaganda machine.
"According to John Menadue who was Head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet between 1973 and 1976, and who in the late 1960s was Editor of the Sydney office of Rupert Murdoch’s new venture ‘The Australian’ , Murdoch never forgave Whitlam who in 1973, declined Murdoch’s request to be appointed to a key diplomatic post in London. The sheer ferocity of Murdoch’s newspapers from 1974 against the Whitlam government has never really abated, and of course continues today.
Perhaps Whitlam’s most unfortunate decision, far-reaching in its scope for the Australian nation. Imagine if Rupert had moved into a diplomatic career?"
"The decision nevertheless turned Australia toward becoming a better place at the time."
"A very subjective judgement Henry.
And in a sense you are right, as 1975 was a bloodless coup d’état
In my lifetime up to 1983, we had 23 years of Coalition government, 35 months of Labor government under Whitlam (being courtesy of two elections in 1972 and 1974, then unceremoniously removed by John Kerr), followed by another 7 years of Coalition government.
The last 25 years since 1995, show a similar pattern. By 2022, we will have had 20 years of Coalition government, and 7 years of Labor.
The aberration is the Hawke and Keating era 1983-1996.
Seems you are very relaxed and comfortable with the way things are."
You might need to subscribe to read this ...... but if you want to know what was really going on it's essential.
Good read, comrade.
whitlam, first western leader to recognise communist russias annexation of the baltic states. tried to stop/turn back vietnamese boat people to avoid upsetting communist north vietnam. fuck him and you and your comrades
All those points listed above, universal health care, equitable education, gender and Indigenous rights, the things he did to progress Australia after decades of backwards conservatism...yet you're down on him?
Whitlam was no saint and made many misjudgements in policy but he changed Australia for the better. It wasn't just the legislation that changed, attitudes changed as well. Growing up in the 60s racist language was acceptable at every level and aimed at every minority group. Sexism was so ingrained most people couldn't even see it. The changes that Whitlam made were not the only forces pushing in a more tolerant direction but they were the strongest. In terms of the boat people there is no doubt that his attitudes, and those of Hayden and Hawke, prefigured Howard's later attitudes to boat people. So LL, if you condemn Whitlam for not accepting boat people from a war that Australia had been involved in, how do you feel about Howard doing the same thing?
most societal change (gender/race) was inevitable, but no question the labor party hurried it along. but spare me "saint gough" and "comrade" . and the baltic stuff was unnecessary and yes, personal (no apologists for that? ) . significant difference between trying to turf south vietnamese genuine refugees for goughs reasons and rejecting people smuggler economic refugees in my opinion also.
I am not sure those changes were inevitable on any reasonable time scale given that even now, things are far from perfect in terms of equity. No doubt there have been some economic refugees in the mix but given that the countries most come from have been torn apart by war for several decades, the majority are clearly not ...... unless you classify those fleeing poverty in a refugee camp as economic refugees.
To understand how the nation embraced Whitlam and his reform agenda you need to consider how poorly the country was governed under Holt, Gordon and McMahon (1966-1972) precisely at the time in history (the 1960s) when everything was tipped on its ear.
I studied the Constitutional crisis a bit a uni. A very unusual and murky affair. Looks like recent events may shed some more light on it. Hard to see it happening these days, but in theory it could as hardly anything was changed in the aftermath.
Lounge Lizard. The relaxed and comfortable Australian for the majority of the last 71 years.
Grilled and burnt and puddle-melted like a bit of sweaty plastic orange cheese.
And by his cheerleaders, FOX, no less!
Sobering reading there, BF
It is indeed, very interesting though. If only we could learn from some of the findings made.