Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Australian Prime Minister - Passing of a Giant

  • Gough Whitlam became Australia’s 21st Prime Minister on 5 December 1972. His Labor government, the first after more than two decades, set out to change Australia through a wide-ranging reform program.  [Ref]
  • Whitlam’s term abruptly ended when his government was dismissed by the Governor-General on 11 November 1975.
  • Today he died at 98Yrs old.
  • He will be remembered as one of Labor’s great reformist leaders.
  • In office, he launched trailblazing reforms that included abolishing national service, pulling troops out of Vietnam, giving extra pay to women, establishing free university courses and improving Aboriginal rights.
  • Whitlam was also credited for reforming the Australian Labor Party and established diplomatic relations with communist China. [Ref]
 “We want to give a new life and a new meaning in this new nation to the touchstone of modern democracy — to liberty, equality, fraternity.”
Gough Whitlam, ALP Policy Speech, 13 November 1972 [Ref]
 The Whitlam era was effectively the era I was born into - my political and social consciousness wasn't even aware of what was happening around me. However, I was very aware of my parents interest in this mans politics. 

Today, I pay my respects to a man who made significant changes to the world I live in. I think now I know more, it would've been a different place if he was in power a little bit longer.


Brona Joy said...

I was only 8 when Gough was sacked - it's one of my earliest political memories.
I thank him for my free(ish) uni education (I was the last year to do so), for Triple J (that got me through my 20's and 30's) and for universal health care. Some things will always be worth the cost.

Jeanie said...

He sounds like an amazing leader, Tamara. We could all use those. This is a beautiful tribute. (And I agree with Brona Joy -- some things are always worth the cost.)