Articles on Gough Whitlam

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The Whitlam government had a reformist vision whose origins lay in the future prime minister’s own wartime experience. AWM

Gough’s war: making a politician, changing a nation

While serving in the RAAF, future prime minister Gough Whitlam led his first political campaign, agitating among his own squadron in support of the 1944 referendum.
The Franklin River which would prove to be Fraser’s environmental undoing. anna/Flickr

Fraser paved the way for a national environment policy

Malcolm Fraser may be remembered for his failure to intervene in the Franklin Dam campaign, but he otherwise led a government distinguished for its environmental action.
Tom Uren gave a lifetime of service to his country: first in war, then as a campaigner for peace, a government minister and, in his later years, a mentor to many. Australian Information Service 1983/National Archives of Australia

Tom Uren, a ‘Big Man’ in his political vision and in person

Tom Uren was a “Big Man” not only in stature but in his public life. Uren, who has died at the age of 93, was born into a working-class household. Typical of the 1920s and ‘30s, he had a limited formal…
Double J staff in the early days. The station’s been going strong for 40 years. ABC Radio

Happy birthday Triple J: Australian radio’s enfant terrible turns 40

Australia’s public youth radio station, Triple J, turns 40 today. On January 19 1975, Triple J’s AM predecessor, Double J, infamously burst onto Sydney’s airwaves with the track, You Just Like Me Cause…
Politics was very much on display during last week’s memorial service for former prime minister Gough Whitlam. AAP/Brendon Thorne

Booing at a memorial: politeness and political ritual

Last week, I was one of a sea of Australians who rose to remember Gough Whitlam. Fitting its subject, the Whitlam memorial was sweeping. It was as much a grand story of Australia’s evolution since the…
The public response to the eulogies to Gough Whitlam testifies to the power of oratory that draws on and gives fresh life to memory. AAP/Alan Porritt

Memoria in Memoriam: Whitlam’s farewell invokes power of oratory

In a playful rhetorical flourish at the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday, Indigenous leader Noel Pearson monumentalised Gough Whitlam’s prime ministerial legacy, Monty Python-style: What did the Romans ever…
Noel Pearson’s speech has been hailed as one of the great Australian political speeches. What were its stylistic characteristics? AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Peter Rae

A closer look at Noel Pearson’s eulogy for Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam was a prime minister unsuccessful in three of his five federal election campaigns, including 1975’s extremely divisive contest. Somehow, though, his death has sparked an outpouring of kind…

A Moment With Gough Whitlam

Edward Gough Whitlam has passed on, leaving behind millions of citizens saddened by scores of eloquent obituaries reminding us how, once upon a time, Australian politics produced world-class leaders courageously…
In office and in opposition, Gough Whitlam’s advocated for the Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty. AAP/Dean Lewins

Whitlam’s forgotten legacy: a voice for the poor

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam, whose death at age 98 was announced on Tuesday, left significant legacies from his short time in office. Whatever their condition today, many of his government’s initiatives…
Before the Asian Century, it was Gough Whitlam that gave Australians the confidence to enhance their place in the world. Alan Porritt/AAP

Thanks for the confidence, Gough

“Where were you when Gough was sacked?” This of course refers to Remembrance Day, 11 November, 1975, when the elected prime minister Gough Whitlam was sacked by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in cahoots…
Reforming prime ministers don’t always have the luxury of choice. Julian Smith/AAP

Whitlam made the case for reform: an enduring economic legacy

“Men make history,” Karl Marx wrote in 1859 in his Critique of Political Economy, “but not always in circumstances of their own choosing”. Whitlam himself would have chosen a different year to be his time…
Gough Whitlam took principled revisionism to the very top of Labor politics. AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Whitlam’s hard fight for reform holds lessons for Labor today

There was nothing inevitable about Gough Whitlam’s rise to the top. He had to fight every inch of the way. The fight was not only against born-to-rule Liberals who thought he had betrayed his class but…
In office, the late Gough Whitlam sought to fulfil, rather than to end, the promise of capitalism. AAP/Alan Porritt

Political limits of today intensify rosy memory of Whitlamism

The popular response to Gough Whitlam’s death tells us more about the politics of the present than the past. Whitlam has been cast as a messiah; as Labor’s saviour; and as the slayer of what Paul Keating…
Gough Whitlam was a transformational prime minister. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Gough Whitlam: a man for his times whose mark is on our times

A mark of a great leader is what’s left of the legacy generations later. It’s four decades since the tumultuous Whitlam government, and his large handprint is still all over modern Australia. Whitlam was…
2010’s Animal Kingdom – one of many films to benefit from the legacies of the Whitlam government. EPA/Simon Mein/Sony Pictures

Australia’s film industry owes a debt to Gough Whitlam

Filmmakers and audiences – indeed Australian arts and screen culture more broadly – owe a deep debt of gratitude to Gough Whitlam and the government he led. Although the foundations had been laid by Whitlam’s…
AAP/Mick Tsikas

Will Abbott ever ‘be like Gough’?

The greatest tribute that can be paid to Gough Whitlam is the fact that he is so fondly remembered by so many. The affection for Whitlam is contagious for those who admired the vision he had for Australia…

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