His leadership revolved around progressive policies within the conservative framework provided by the Liberal Party, and even though his administration was dogged by internal division, economic trouble, and external criticism over the Whitlam dismissal, Fraser still won three successive elections between and — a feat matched by only five other leaders in Australian history. Those victories represented the pinnacle of a political career that lasted nearly three decades, itself the natural consequence of a privileged upbringing within a prominent Victorian pastoral and political family. Having established himself as a man of wealth, Sir Simon then made the transition into politics, first at state level and then as one of six inaugural Victorian Senators in the national Parliament post-Federation.
But so did most of Australia at that time, too. By many accounts an unrivalled visionary who returned Labor to power after more than two decades in opposition, he set Australia on a path of reform, the legacy of which still lives on today. Mr Whitlam led the country through a period of massive social change from to before his controversial ousting by Governor General Sir John Kerr.
Kristina Kukolja looks back at his life. Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report Edward Gough Whitlam was born July 11,in the Melbourne suburb of Kew.
The eldest of two children of Martha and public servant Frederick Whitlam, his formative years were spent between Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
He was newly married to Margaret Dovey -- the daughter of a New South Wales Supreme Court judge -- but for most of his three-year deployment was based far from home, in east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
And a third one, one he often pointed to himself, was that as a very young man in parliament he became a member of the Constitutional Review Committee in the late s.
He took up membership of the Australian Labor Party, and in at the age of 37, entered federal parliament after winning a by-election in the Sydney seat of Werriwa.
ByGough Whitlam would become the deputy leader of the federal Labor Party, at a time when many Australians feared the spread of Communism from Asia. Mr Whitlam reinforced foreign policy as central to his vision for the Labor Party when he returned to Vietnam the following year, this time as the leader of the ALP.
Labor came close to winning the election. Then inat the height of the Cold War, with the US and Australian governments still opposed to the idea, he headed a delegation to Communist China.
Australia had already begun withdrawing from Vietnam. It was in the midst of a social awakening, and ready for political change. Labor returned to power in the federal election, after more than two decades of conservative governments.
Kep Enderby says he felt honoured to work closely with the new Prime Minister as his Attorney General. And he was very gifted. He was a very intelligent man. He was eloquent, as a speechmaker.
He was beyond equal in this country at that time. Diplomatic ties were established with China, a move signalling a pursuit of closer relations with countries in the region.
The statesman who turned our face north towards China. The pragmatist who swore that only the impotent are pure. A sophisticated and funny man, a fighting Labor leader and Prime Minister who modernised, and moderated and reformed.
We know Gough in multitudes and yet we know only one Gough -- above all, a restless reformer. They were politically turbulent times, and in with a federal election on the horizon, an upper house dominated by the opposition blocked the passage of several key budget bills.
Confident of the popularity of his reform agenda, Gough Whitlam dissolved both houses of parliament, and called an election. He was returned to power, but still without a majority in the Senate.
An historic joint sitting of parliament passed legislation including universal healthcare, and electoral reform. The re-elected government increased social security support and school funding, and introduced free university education.
It ratified a number of international human rights treaties, and introduced the Racial Discrimination Act.
It established legal and other services for Indigenous Australians, championing self-determination and the right of traditional owners to their own land. In Augustat the site of the Aboriginal walk-off at Wave Hill, in the Northern Territory, Gough Whitlam formally handed back land to the Gurindji people, pouring soil into the hands of elder Vincent Lingiari.
Your fight is not for yourselves alone and we are determined that Aboriginal Australians everywhere will be helped by it. And I want to give back to you formally in Aboriginal and in Australian law ownership of this land of your fathers. Certainly, in terms of moving Australia forward.
He had a far more open approach. If you like, he actually created the fundamentals of multiculturalism. His support of Al Grassby as a minister in his cabinet. The promotion of cultural diversity as a value in Australia very much was started by him.
Of course, it was during the Fraser government afterwards that we actually institutionalised multiculturalism through the Galbally report, but without him that would never have happened.Among many other comments Rudd has been described as 'the most sincerely Christian Prime Minister Australia has had for a very long time', and as having identified himself more strongly as being a 'practicing Christian' than any PM since WW2.
Faith played some part in the career choices of our prime ministers even for those for whom. Gough Whitlam. Australia has lost one of its great pioneers of the modern age. Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has passed away at the age of 98, a man described by his children (Antony, Nicholas, Stephen Whitlam and Catherine Dovey) as "a loving and generous father a source of inspiration to us and for millions of Australians".
As a result of the chaotic Whitlam government and the cataclysmic dismissal that followed exactly 40 years ago, we have sadly become politically risk-averse, unadventurous and uninspiring.
Home» Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion» Condolence Motion for the former Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Gough Whitlam Condolence Motion for the former Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Gough Whitlam Listen. List of prime ministers of Australia: Australia, established as a federated union in , is a constitutional monarchy, and its government is led by a prime minister, generally the leader of the majority political party or coalition in the federal House of Representatives.
This is a chronologically ordered list of the prime ministers. Gough Whitlam speaks to reporters after being dismissed as prime minister.
National Archives of Australia Australian politics explainer: Gough Whitlam’s dismissal as prime minister.