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The Day the Queen Sacked Our PM

published  First Published: 11/11/1975
Article written by: Nigel Brookson
The Greatest Travesty in Australian Political History
 
Edward Gough Whitlam, born on 11 July 1916, became the 21st Prime Minister of Australia on 2 December 1972.
 
It was the first ALP electoral victory since 1946.
 
The Whitlam government embarked on a massive legislative social reform program which was forward-thinking and progressive in many ways.
 
Whilst initially popular, the fast pace of reform engendered caution amongst the electorate, and the economy was beset by high inflation combined with economic stagnation.
 
These conditions were the catalyst to the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975.
 
The opposition Liberal-National Country Party coalition held a majority in the Senate, the upper house of Parliament.
 
In an unprecedented move, the Senate deferred voting on bills that appropriated funds for government expenditure, attempting to force the Prime Minister to dissolve the House of Representatives and call an election.
 
The Whitlam government ignored the warnings, and sought alternative means of appropriating the funds it needed to repay huge debts.
 
With Whitlam unable to secure the necessary funds, the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Whitlam as Prime Minister on 11 November 1975, and appointed Liberal opposition leader Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.
 
This was done on the condition that Fraser would seek a dissolution of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, thus precipitating a general election.
 
 

 

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