Whitlam was a radical, according to the Institute of Public Affairs. A very successful radical, and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott could learn from him.
The IPA has released an extraordinary pamphlet: Be like Gough: 75 radical ideas to transform Australia.
You could even say it’s radical.
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In an extraordinary attack on the memory of the late Governor-General Sir John Kerr, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser claims the Governor-General telephoned him on the morning of 11 November 1975 before the then Prime Minister EG Whitlam saw the Governor-General to seek an early half Senate election.
The states were unlikely to offer their necessary co-operation in holding an early half Senate election and in any event the new senators would not take office for eight months. The Governor–General could not see this as a solution to the Senate’s withholding of of supply to the government.
Accordingly, he dismissed Mr. Whitlam on the ancient principle that no government may rule without supply being granted by Parliament. Shortly afterwards, the Governor-General commissioned the Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister pending an election on 10 December.
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Whether the recent federal Liberal party showdown over the now rejected Emissions Trading Scheme develops into a thoroughgoing schism only time will tell. Malcolm Turnbull’s robust description of new federal leader Tony Abbot’s climate change thinking is a crude reminder to those Liberals celebrating the weekend’s by-election results in Bradfield and Higgins: environmental politics is here to stay and cannot be swept under the carpet by short-term circuit-breakers.
As I argued in The Australian during August, the current schism between so-called ‘moderates’, small ‘l’ liberals gathered around Turnbull and Joe Hockey, and the conservatives of Abbot and Nick Minchin’s ilk has many of the hallmarks of the 1950s ALP split over communism which spawned the Democratic Labor Party and kept Labor from office for some two decades.
Most accounts of the farcical goings on in the federal Liberal’s party room over the past few weeks have highlighted this underlying ideological conflict. The conservative coup d’état against Turnbull resulted from a fundamental policy divide over climate change dovetailing with opposition to Turnbull’s divisive crash or crash through personality.
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Welcome to the weekend @ The Punch
Gough Whitlam was sworn in as Australian prime minister on this day in 1972. His election as leader of the Labor party marked the end of 23 consecutive years of Liberal leadership.
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This Wednesday, as we commemorate the sacrifice of countless Australians in war, we will also no doubt be reminded that November 11 has other significance in Australia’s journey.
It will be the 34th anniversary of the Dismissal, an act of infamy against a democratically-elected Government that is burned into our national consciousness, and into the ALP’s soul.
So each year, in addition to the Last Post played at war memorials around Australia, we see the TV replays of the famous scenes on Parliament steps, which have become almost a mantra for an era of change and conflict in Australian politics.
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