Gough Whitlam

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Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam in 2004
21st Prime Minister of Australia
In office
2 December 1972 – 11 November 1975
Preceded by William McMahon
Succeeded by Malcolm Fraser
Constituency Werriwa (New South Wales)
Personal details
Born 11 July 1916 (1916-07-11) (age 98)
Melbourne, Victoria
Political party Labor
Spouse(s) Margaret Whitlam
(m. 1942-2012, her death)
Profession Barrister
Religion None

Edward Gough Whitlam (born 11 July 1916) known "'Gough Whitlam"' was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia.,[1] and the only Prime Minister to have been dismissed from office by a Governor-General. He was Prime Minister for three years. His Labor Party was elected after 23 years of government by the Liberal-Country Party Coalition, and his government made a lot of new changes. Gough Whitlam married Margaret Dovey a prominent Australian swimmer and social worker in 1942 and they remained married till her death on 17 March 2012.[2]

His government, for most of the time it lasted, did not have a majority in the Senate (the upper house of the Australian Parliament). This made it hard for Whitlam's government to make laws. In 1975 the government thought about borrowing US$4 billion in foreign loans. One cabinet minister, Rex Connor, had secret discussions with a loan broker from Pakistan. The Treasurer, Jim Cairns, misled parliament over this. Partly as a result, the new leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, use the Senate to stop passing money for the government until there was an election. In 1975 the opposition, led by Fraser, blocked government supply in the Senate. This meant that the government had no money with which to pay civil servants and carry out administration. In order to end the crisis the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Whitlam and made Fraser the temporary Prime Minister. Whitlam was easily defeated by Fraser in the election that was held a month later.[3] He was defeated for a second time by Fraser at the next election in 1977, and resigned from parliament shortly after that. Since then he has continued to be a very public figure, writing books and often commenting on political affairs.

Whitlam is one of the most controversial people in Australia. Many people think of him as a hero while others consider his government to have been inefficient.

References[change | change source]

Prime Ministers of Australia Flag of Australia.svg
Barton | Deakin | Watson | Reid | Fisher | Cook | Hughes | Bruce | Scullin | Lyons | Page | Menzies | Fadden | Curtin | Forde | Chifley | Holt | McEwen | Gorton | McMahon | Whitlam | Fraser | Hawke | Keating | Howard | Rudd | Gillard | Abbott