November 08, 2004


Gough Whitlam, failure, should apologise:

It's time for Gough Whitlam to say sorry. And the former Labor prime minister should no longer be allowed to "strut the national stage as the wronged legendary hero of Australian politics" but apologise to all those he failed.

So says Sir David Smith, the man who stood on the steps of Old Parliament House and read the proclamation to dissolve Parliament after the dismissal of the Whitlam Government 29 years ago this week.

"It's time he said sorry to his party for being such a failure as leader. It's time he said sorry to the Australian people for being such a failure as prime minister and for giving us the most incompetent government we have ever had, and it's time that he told the truth about the events of 1975," Sir David said yesterday at a lecture in Canberra.

(Via US-based Australian reader Rob H.)

Posted by Tim Blair at November 8, 2004 11:47 AM

Whoof, both barrels too; its time

Posted by: rog at November 8, 2004 at 11:56 AM

We have the Labor party trying to exact an apology from John Howard about the so called stolen generation and alleged genocide of Aboriginal people, which happened in past generations and is debatable. I wonder if we will have an impassioned campaign by our elites to advocate for a sorry by Whitlam for the catastrophies he actually caused and is beyond debate? I am patient and prepared to wait.

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 8, 2004 at 12:10 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't let the facts get in the way of a left wing lie. It might impact the meme and suddenly you'll have all these people being reasonable and seeing the other sides of issues.

Gough's a Labor legend, don't spoil it for them.

Posted by: Romeo at November 8, 2004 at 12:19 PM

You wankers wouldn't know who Whitlam is.
You were brought on a diet of right-wing bullshit.

Posted by: Darren Hynes at November 8, 2004 at 12:28 PM

Who is Gough Whitlam? Short answer: Australia's worst ever Prime Minister.

No right-wing bullshit there. Why else do you think Malcolm Fraser was elected with a 50+ seat majority?? Oh, of course, all part of the vast right-wing conspiracy...

Posted by: HippyHunter at November 8, 2004 at 12:32 PM

Hey Darren, I voted Labor for twelve years, then I grew up.

Posted by: Romeo at November 8, 2004 at 12:33 PM

Gough Whitlam was Mark Latham's father-figure. Strike 1.

Gough Whitlam put Jim (Moonbat) Cairns in charge of the nations finances.
Strike 2.

Margaret Whitlam.
Strike 3. You're out Gough!

Posted by: Robert Blair at November 8, 2004 at 12:36 PM

As an American with only a hazy knowledge of the incident, I'll defer to the opinion of the Australian people on whether Whitlam's termination was appropriate. Does anyone here know what the results of the subsequent election were? If he's a "wronged legendary hero", a victim of your non-Republican system of government, I assume his party was overwhelmingly reelected, right?

Posted by: Steven Jens at November 8, 2004 at 12:40 PM

I guess I was too slow. :-)

Posted by: Steven Jens at November 8, 2004 at 12:41 PM

Unless Darren is Australia's oldest student, I don't think he has much first-hand experience with the Whitlam government.

BTW Darren, that's your fourth post on this blog and so far you're batting .000 as far as worthwhile content goes, and you've only managed to look and sound like an utter fool and one of the unfortunate victims of leftist education. Are you sure you're not looking for Chris Sheil's blog rather than this one? You seem a bit fish-out-of-water like here.

Posted by: PW at November 8, 2004 at 12:42 PM

Actually Gough in particular owes an apology to the Aborigines for banning discrimination against Aborigines entering pubs. As with most leftist policies, it was a well-intentioned, self-righteous warm inner glow policy which led to catastrophic consequences for its supposed beneficiaries.

Posted by: Clem Snide at November 8, 2004 at 12:55 PM

In 1983 the Hawke Government appointed Whitlam to the post of UN Ambassador to UNESC in Paris. I was working in DFAT (as it is now) at the time; I caught a few glimpses of Whitlam, and heard a lot of my colleagues (junior ones, we all were) talking about him. Basically, he was so self intoxicated, so convinced of his brilliance, that a lot of people were of the view that it had to be an elaborate self parody, no one could be that far up themselves. After considerable debate, however, we all agreed that there really was no trace of irony or self satire in his demeanour, , he actually did believe that he was incomparably wonderful!!!

Posted by: Consuela Potez at November 8, 2004 at 12:59 PM

Wot, No-Pants-Fraser was right-wing?

Who Knew?

Posted by: yellerKat at November 8, 2004 at 01:13 PM

I worked in a printing firm in those tragic (for Australia) days, a firm filled with refugees from Harold Wilson's socialist Britain who to our employer’s surprise, when we heard about the sacking of Whitlam on the factory radio, let out a huge cheer.

As we listened in silence to Whitlam's graceless speech on the steps of parliament, a surge of anger was felt throughout the plant, a `rage’ we maintained, at least long enough to ensure Fraser won by a landslide in the following election.

Whitlam was a corrupt failure, he ruined Australia for years - at every election since that glorious 11th of November I have used the `rage' to stop me from wavering in the face of superficially attractive electoral inducements from Labor.

The sickening site of Latham embracing Whitlam at the ALP's launch drove me to evangelise about Whitlam's failures to anyone who would stand still long enough - many of the younger, history deprived I spoke to looked at me in disbelief.

"Whitlam is a hero" they cried, "Whitlam modernised Australia" they chorused - how instilled the lies of the left are in what passes for education these days.

It was Gorton who began `modern Australia', Gorton who started the withdrawal from SVN and Gorton who had a vision for Australia’s future – Whitlam only delayed the country’s evolution, he and his government of troglodytes had little to do with advancing Australia …

Posted by: MaintainTheRage at November 8, 2004 at 01:40 PM

So, apart from the loans scandal (which was pretty stupid) what was so bad about Whitlam?

Posted by: Andy at November 8, 2004 at 01:43 PM

Darren, I am well aware of G Whitlam and his lies. He was the most dangerous and irresponsible Prime Minister Australia has had. Dangerous, because he didn't know what was going on around him and irresponsible, because he let his motley crew of acolytes do what they wanted. And don't tell me that it took a right wing conspiracy to heave him out. The public was just plain sick of the big fat fart and it was only a few years of him hanging around to make it that way.

Posted by: hube at November 8, 2004 at 01:49 PM

20% inflation; huge tax hikes; general governmental incompetence; etc, etc, etc..

Posted by: Toryhere at November 8, 2004 at 01:54 PM

Whitlam's greatest failure was his inability to understand financial and economic issues. Consequently what occurred was falling living standards, rising unemployment, a harsher recession than what would have occurred under a more worldly leadership and then he capped off with a secret loans affair. What a legend!

Another thing, besides being a wanker, that Whitlam should say sorry for is in not doing anything about East Timor, before the reluctant Indonesians had no choice but to invade the place.

As MaintainTheRage indicated, John Gorton was already implementing policies to shape Australia. But unfortunately this honest and decent man was shafted by Malcolm "No Pants" Fraser, an individual that I wouldn't piss on if he was on fire.

Posted by: Lofty at November 8, 2004 at 02:11 PM

His son learned well from Gough feelcing the banks he worked for and having millions spent on an elaboretes suite and marblle bathrooms and that was just his office.
It's interesting to wonder at the connections that Gough had during the 'Loans scandal' the Intermediary was an Iraqi named Khemlani, and in the light of what followed in 1975 when Saddam seized power one might wonder who was behind it all.
Bill Hartly the Union Boss was also very close to the Regime in Iraq???

Posted by: Rose at November 8, 2004 at 02:18 PM

Darren Hynes - sorry, but there are many Australians who recall Whitlam's disastrous government, and who were glad to see it go, even if the replacement was the pathetic Malcolm Fraser.

You are obviously too young to remember the various lies and scandals of the time - but those who lived through it are not.

As for being brought up on a diet of 'rightwing rubbish' - judging by your post, you were obviously brought up on a diet of leftwing rubbish if you attended a public school in Australia from the 1970s onward. Another legacy of the Whitlam era was the rewriting of history.

Posted by: dee at November 8, 2004 at 02:25 PM

Dont worry too much about Whitlam junior, he sold up in Sydney and bought a pub (in which his family all live) down in Dapto, gone to the dogs as they say.

Posted by: rog at November 8, 2004 at 02:30 PM

I heard this was a meaningful site but all i see ia a lot of childish morons.

you all give the right a bad name.

we should take you all out to ashmore reef and swap you for some real people.


Posted by: neddy at November 8, 2004 at 02:49 PM

Well, the fishing is bloody good!

Posted by: Razor at November 8, 2004 at 02:55 PM

Beauty neddy,
first time here and you're already trying to divert the thread! Thanks for the huge and un-"childish" input?

Posted by: Lofty at November 8, 2004 at 03:01 PM

What's with all the Mobys lately?

Posted by: PW at November 8, 2004 at 03:01 PM

You wankers wouldn't know who Whitlam is.

Ok, let's try this.

Most dangerous and incompetent PM ever.

Most unpopular PM ever.

Most fiscally irresponsible PM ever.

Australian PM most responsible for the genocide in East Timor...

Posted by: Quentin George at November 8, 2004 at 03:22 PM

For Americans unfamiliar with the Gough, he suffered the most cataclysmic popular backlash ever.

Australians gave the mediocre opposition leader Fraser control of the House and Senate with a whopping majority.

Here's a link to the results.

Total Coalition Seats: 91
Total ALP Seats: 36

The ALP was wiped out in Tasmania, and left with only one seat in WA and QLD. A total fucking disaster for them.

But a great day for the nation.

Posted by: Quentin George at November 8, 2004 at 03:26 PM

...and last but not least, Whitlam is responsible for the idea that fully government-funded (aka "free") tertiary education is

A) Affordable
B) Somehow an unalienable right of man

Posted by: Quentin George at November 8, 2004 at 03:39 PM

Edward, the man's first name is Edward. As in Edward Gough Whitlam. or E.G. Whitlam. I always liked to call him 'Fat Eddie'.
Kind of takes the 'gravitas' right out him, wouldn't you say?
Next year it'll be 30 years since the dismissal.
Please, Eddie, take a hint from the lefties in the U.S.A and 'Move on'.

Posted by: kevin at November 8, 2004 at 03:59 PM

Anyone remember a telly play called `Don't Burn The Butterflies'??

Coulda been the result if the GG had chickened out ...

Yup - free tertiary education, and now look at the country.

Tens of thousands of `Art Degrees' later you can't get a plumber or carpenter for love nor money.

Clever country? Yup if you chose to `do a trade' in the eighties and nineties, you really are one of the clever ones.

Poor tertiary educated me paddles about on the muddy foreshore whilst my tradesman neighbour zooms past in a 35 foot stink boat I couldn't afford to berth let alone own!!!!

Oh and don't forget Commie Jim Cairns - what a disgrace - the lefty eulogising of him after his miserable treacherous, Wilfred Birchett loving heart gave out, made me want to vomit!

Posted by: MaintainTheRage at November 8, 2004 at 04:05 PM

When I came to Australia in 1986 from a then Communist-ruled European country, I knew nothing of Australian politics. However, it only took finding out that Whitlam "made history" by being the first Western leader to "recognize" the Soviet Union's occupation and consequent annexation of the Baltic republics (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) as legal, and I knew the guy must be an utter and total fuckwit.

Nothing I have learned of him in the intervening years has provided any reason for reassessing that conclusion - more to the contrary.

That Latham considers Whitlam his mentor would have in itself been sufficient for me not to vote Labor at the last election. Not that I needed any additional reasons than all those I already had...


Posted by: JPB at November 8, 2004 at 04:17 PM

Whitlam's was the first western government to officially recognise the nice Pol Pot

Posted by: graboy at November 8, 2004 at 04:26 PM

you were obviously brought up on a diet of leftwing rubbish if you attended a public school in Australia from the 1970s onward.

Not only public - I got a headful of trendy lefty stuff at Scotch College (Swanbourne) in the late 60-early 70s), e.g., that British settlers slaughtered every last aborigine in Tasmania.

Under Whitlam funding for anything was free for the asking. Take a drive round small, dying rural towns in Australia. Guaranteed - the sports oval has a huge, 1970 clubhouse in dark brown brick. Never much used at the time and now overgrown and dilapidated. Your taxes at work.

Last time I saw Jim Cairns it was at South Melbourne Market. He was flogging his books from a card table outside the toilet block. This pathetic wreck of a loser was once Treasurer. I never saw anyone buy but a few old codgers leaning on a stick would walk over to reminisce.

I still remember Whitlam's dismissal. It was like the sun came up after a long, dismal winter. Pity Fraser was such a useless prick.

Posted by: walterplinge at November 8, 2004 at 05:14 PM

can we also get Al Grasby and Lionel Murphy to say sorry? please? (i know one of em' is dead but...hey!)

Posted by: roscoe at November 8, 2004 at 06:05 PM

As I recall it, Whitlam in the 1970's advocated using the military to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese boat refugees. "We don't need scum which are the "Balts" of Asia".

Posted by: steve at the pub at November 8, 2004 at 06:17 PM

IIRC, The quote was

"We don't want these fucking balts coming in here with their prejudices against us."

Posted by: Quentin George at November 8, 2004 at 07:01 PM

Thank you Quentin... That comment of his must have contributed (along with his kissing of the North Vietnamese delegation) to the Vietnamese being the only immigrant community to vote against the ALP?

Posted by: steve at the pub at November 8, 2004 at 07:17 PM

I've not heard yet of a single word I've disagreed with from Sir David Smith. Someone with experience like his oozes gravitas - real gravitas, unlike E.G.W.

1975 = the system works.

Imagine what the ABC and Fairfax will be like in the buildup to his funeral when he passes on. I bet they'll get Kerry O'Brien to do a "Dimbleby" and cover the funeral, given he was an ex-adviser.

Posted by: Alex at November 8, 2004 at 07:22 PM

Two points,
First,you've gotta hand it to the Labor party. No one rewrites history like them.
Second,utopian Gough created the block at Redfern as we know it.Twice reconstructed and still a magnet for all who want to commit crime and feel untouchable.The grievence industry owes him a debt but ever other bugger is stuffed.

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 8, 2004 at 07:40 PM

If you ever want to know the courage of Gough Whitlam remember this. When 3 Australian journalists were murdered by the Indonesian soldiers in East Timor Whitlam to this day has never ever said a word against this cold blooded murder.

He did nothing to help their families find out the truth about what happened..

He is a gutless coward and should be remembered as such.

Next year is the 30th anniversary of his sacking. A day of great celebration and hopefully an apology.

Posted by: Yoo Hoo at November 8, 2004 at 08:59 PM

Good 'ol Gough. Let his memory shine like a Lighthouse in the night. True sailors can see where the shallow reefs and the rocks lie, and steer their boats to safer waters.

Posted by: Blindside at November 8, 2004 at 09:11 PM

I forgot to mention the disgraceful Jim Cairns, (treasurer in the Whitlam govt.) and his affair with his assistant.

He sued the newspaper that printed an item about the affair, and won compensation. Recently he admitted that he had lied on oath when he testified that he and Junie Morosi were only 'good friends'.

So this government minister committed perjury and fraudulently accepted thousands of dollars in 'compensation' To my knowledge, he never offered to pay back the money, and nothing was ever done about the case.

That was the tone of the Whitlam government, lies and deception from the top down.

We can also thank Whitlam for introducing a British-style welfare system to Australia, and those of us who lived through that time have a thousand stories of welfare and medicare fraud that ran into the millions.

Thanks to the Labor policy of paying teenagers to have babies, the number of single mothers increased phenomonally during the Whitlam era.

Posted by: dee at November 8, 2004 at 09:18 PM

Gough should be thanked by the Right for reminding Australians what a clusterfuck a Labor Government can be. Latham sucking up to his profligate mentor helped condemn his election campaign to the abject failure it turned out to be.

Posted by: Dog at November 8, 2004 at 09:51 PM

G'day Darren,

I left Oz for Canada in '76 because I was so disgusted with Kerr (the fact that I had an offer for a job in Montreal at double my Oz salary had little to do with my decision).

In '72 (and '75), I worked hard for Gough and feel that I have a right to comment.

When I eventually grew up, I realized that he was certainly the worst PM in living memory in Australia and he has certainly not been surpassed since.

He and the loathesome Jim Cairns were typical leftist economic infants. The removal of the Whitlam government minimized the damage the were able to do to the economy.

An apology is in order.

Posted by: jlchydro at November 8, 2004 at 10:16 PM

Whitlam was the most divisive PM in my lifetime. His obsession with wealth and multi nationals is legendary.

After Whitlam's election anyone with a foreign and half decent car would get it coined.I remember seeing just about every merc having their duco ruined. And god forbid if you were foolish enough to own a roller, you were done.

But the part I love the most was when he left parliament he got out of his Cabramatta home so quickly you could not see the dust to move into his swank home in a Darling Point waterfront unit.

Come to think of it, Keating when he quit moved from Bankstown to Woollahra and Hawke to Double Bay .

Don't you just love socialists?

Posted by: Acid at November 8, 2004 at 10:44 PM

Harpooning the Super Gough myth was long overdue. I was a mid-range public servant in Canberra when Gough and his 'Over the Hill' gang rode into town. Even worse, I worked in a department which took the full brunt of implementing his idiotic policies. I'd never seen anything like it before (or since).
It was as if the lunatics had taken over the asylum - and that's a massive understatement. The money flowed like water, hundreds of millions, mostly for the most absurd schemes or purposes. Often when a directive came down, usually by Gough's imperial decree, we used to look at each other aghast and there'd be a flurry of phone calls as everyone checked to make sure that it wasn't a practical joke of some kind. Long serving administrators, many of them long time Lefties, used to dazedly wander the corridors, shaking their heads and muttering to themselves.
One of the worst aspects was the hordes of 'Ministerial advisors' which descended on the place. These were all Labor Party mates brought in to snuffle at the trough. These guy's knuckles really *DID* drag along the ground - most of them were former union organisers, wharfies and the like - but they were paid at Under-Secretary rates.
When reason finally came, and Gough got the axe it was like waking from a long hideous nightmare. Unfortunately there were more nightmares to come but they were relatively mild.
For years after, every time I saw Gough being feted by the media as a great statesman or something, I would fall to the floor giggling helplessly and my wife would have to pour buckets of cold water on me to bring me out of it and explain to the kids that Daddy was under a little stress.

Posted by: Boss Hog at November 9, 2004 at 06:01 AM

*whitlam came from a upper class sydney family that were wealthy and blue blood. he joined labour because he was too stupid to make it in the liberal party. all that anti rich people retoric just shows what a cynical low life politician whitlam really is and not this visionary god like figure the leftist media make him out to be.

*whitlam also gave papua new guinea their independence and this was a genius move from an intellectual giant. png were obviously ready for it since it is a thriving well organised country with an economy going gang busters, and it's perfectly safe to walk the streets.

*also bob hawke called whitlam 'the world's tallest wanker'.

Posted by: vinnyboombutts at November 9, 2004 at 06:59 AM

Dee wrote We can also thank Whitlam for introducing a British-style welfare system to Australia, and those of us who lived through that time have a thousand stories of welfare and medicare fraud that ran into the millions..

Exactly. Folks my age and older will remember pre-Whitlam Medicare days. I was a teenage clerk in a bank. The bank's union had an employee medical fund. Despite being union it was inexpensive and effective. All employees were in it - it was great value. And that's how it would be without Medicare: almost universal, efficient, cost-effective, universal, affordable commercial health insurance.

Imagine how it would be if car and house insurance were run by government. Instead of paying $250 a year for contents insurance I'd be paying a $1,500 tax levy.

Posted by: walterplinge at November 9, 2004 at 07:48 AM