TOTAL VISITORS FROM 2008:

THE REMOVAL OF WHITLAM


1. There is an incident in Australia when a Prime Minister was removed by the Governor-General. (read here)

2. I quote below an account of the incident:

“The first duty of a Government, even a reforming Government, is to govern well. The Whitlam (Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) Government was a blundering, poorly disciplined government. Whitlam himself was so committed to the platform and his mandate that he refused to change course when Australia along with the rest of the world entered an economic recession in 1974. He continued to spend big money on his reform program when he should have been cutting back on spending.
The Government’s biggest blunder was to enter into a dodgy scheme to raise a huge loan overseas so that the State could become the owner of mineral and gas resources. The Government pretended that this was a loan for “temporary purposes” so that it did not have to tell anyone about it.”


3. When this became known, the liberal leader Malcolm Fraser said that the Government was so bad and so damaging to Australia that he would force it to go to the people.

4. Whitlam declared he would never give in and hold an election.

5. Whitlam said again and again that the Governor-General would act only on his advice. In normal times that was true. But in times of crisis, a Governor-General does have special powers. Kerr (Governor-General Sir John Kerr) began to think he would have to use them.

6. So Kerr acted secretly without any warning, on 11 November 1975, he dismissed Whitlam as Prime Minister, installed Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.

7. After Kerr had made up his mind to sack Whitlam, he checked with Sir Garfield Barwick (Chief Justice of the High Court) to see whether he was doing the right thing. Barwick said he was.

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