Tuesday 14th of July 2020

a social australia...

gough�s legacy

Gus: A social Australia

I have met Gough Whitlam quite a few times over the years. I must say, talking to him, one could only acknowledge a great man of integrity, of vision, of civility and of social decency. No lies.

I know, the present rabid right wing of this country and their scribes at the Murdoch press will try hard to demonise Gough. The boffins of the right wing, from the present PM to Amanda Vanstone, will praise him for a few ideals and then bash him as much as they can with subtle rancour with their usual gnarl and then talk about a subject they know nothing about — economics... In fact they act more like tight-arse failed accountants with no vision for proper development. In fact, the rabid right-wing in this country despised Gough's ideals because he did not pander to what is the present core right-wing ideals — of greed, sociopathy and hypocrisy. 
But this is not about them, this is about Gough. Comrade Gough. The way I saw it then, it was not about a socialism in Australia, but about a social Australia. 
Gough's country was going to be a place where people felt at ease with each other, where science, technology and innovation would drive a certain economic vision with flair and adaptation, while social equity would restore faith in human nature, without the religious rigmarole nor its guilt. There was a bright colour being added to the bland — and the self-conscious paternalistic impost from the right-wing was being replaced with hope, modernity, inclusion and working social ventures that invested in the future. 
Then the right-wing was more decent than it is today. After Menzies' petty boring discriminatory years, John Gorton, PM, had social decency in his agenda. But his cabinet was hostile to the idea of "social reforms" and Gorton voted himself out. The rest is history. Gough three years of relentless reforms, his dismissal by most would see as a CIA plot, and the Fraser years, where Fraser had the decency to carry on the reforms. 
Gough invented land rights before land rights. 
Gough helped the multicultural ideal along (an ideal already on the way as cumbersomely promoted by Alexander's Downer father)
Gough instigated family planning, without any religious nor moralistic impost, unlike that awful Kevin Andrews plan with his zealot Christian "family" views. 
Gough got out of the Vietnam war.
Gough created free public education for university
Gough instigated medicare — a free health service
Gough created the Anti-Discrimination Act to stop Queensland from keeping Aboriginal in reserves...
And Gough did many other great things for this country, too numerous to mention.

------------------------

Gough would have loved it. Not surprisingly, really, because as acknowledged by Kerry O'Brien, the MC of the Whitlam Memorial Ceremony held at Sydney Town Hall, he pretty much organised it.

"It was not his first choice, however," O'Brien divulged as we all leaned in close, sensing another Gough Whitlam story to treasure. "His first choice was to have a funeral pyre in the Senate. He rather liked the idea of taking the Upper House with him." Uproarious laughter. Applause. Enthusiastic and appreciative nods.

It was that kind of an event, a real celebration of a life extraordinarily lived, of a great Australian, a great man. Prime Minister Tony Abbott was there, as was Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, but tightly behind them were many men and women who had also held those high offices, together with many premiers and political identities from around the country of the last half-century. The vast majority of the 2000 attendees, though, were Gough's "men and women of Australia," grateful citizens who simply wished to pay their respects to one who had such an impact on their lives. Thousands of others were left outside, listening to it on speakers.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/gough-whitlam-memorial-the-great-man-would-have-loved-it-20141105-11hapd.html#ixzz3IAWsYgEL
--------------------------

Gus: at the memorial, in Sydney's Town Hall, I believe that Paul Keating and Julia Gillard got standing ovations... Rudd got a bit of clap... Tony Abbott got nothing not even a single boo... zero. People may have thought it would have been uncouth to jeer. He was discreetly applauded when one of Gough's sons ackowledged that the government was paying for the do...
I believe Noel Pearson's speech has been lauded as one great moment of this nation, while Kate Blanchett was also up to speed of explaining to the present government the value of health care, free education at university and also support of the arts — the arts, which Gough valued as a primordial source for cultural enrichment... As she proudly announced like Noel Pearson did as well, they would never have achieved what they did without Gough's vision.
Pity, no-one shouted: "long live the republic" but I have been told quite a few people were thinking about it.

 

a mighty send-off for a mighty comrade...

 

The Sydney Philharmonic Choir and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra provided music throughout the service, while Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody performed From Little Things Big Things Grow, a song that tells the story of Gurindji man and Aboriginal rights activist Vincent Lingari and the creation of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1976.

The Gurindji people have never forgotten the man they call Kulum Whitlam, who returned their traditional lands in what became known as the Wave Hill hand-back.

A group of Gurindji people travelled to Sydney from their traditional home, about 800 kilometres south of Darwin, for the service.

Groups gathered outside the hall and watched the broadcast of the service at other locations, including Cabramatta, in Mr Whitlam's former seat of Werriwa in Sydney's west.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-05/gough-whitlam-to-be-farewelled-in-state-memorial-service/5866874

 

gough reminds us we can do better than the present crop...

In the end, despite the oratory and anthems in Sydney’s immense town hall, this was a sad occasion. Gough Whitlam lived forever but his time in power was so short. The more speakers eulogised his achievements, the more pressing the question: what might he have done if he had been allowed more time?

Even on a great state occasion, crowds can be brutal. Julia Gillard was given an immense ovation. They stood for her, shouting, whistling and stamping. She was kissed. Flowers were pressed into her hands. Kevin Rudd walked the aisle in stony silence. The Labor faithful sat as if stuck to their seats.

Whitlam chose the music. That sublime pot boiler None Shall Sleep played softly as ancient faces gathered in front of the stage. Old governors-general and old prime ministers sat cheek by jowl aware, no doubt, that nothing on this heroic scale was likely when they departed.

Though Whitlam spent years finessing details of this event, the Sydney Town Hall was not the site he wanted. “His first choice was to have a funeral pyre in the Senate,” claimed Kerry O’Brien, the ABC television journalist who once served on Whitlam’s staff. “He rather liked the idea of taking the Senate with him.”

read more: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/05/gough-whitlams-memorial-left-lingering-sadness-despite-the-cheers-and-soaring-oratory

an old man's legacy .....

Yes Gus,

Noel Pearson's eulogy was an inspiration.... here it is in full, along with the Youtube link.

Cheers.

----------------

"Paul Keating said the reward for public life is public progress.

 

For one born estranged from the nation's citizenship, into a humble family of a marginal people striving in the teeth of poverty and discrimination, today it is assuredly no longer the case.

This because of the equalities of opportunities afforded by the Whitlam program.

Raised next to the wood heap of the nation's democracy, bequeathed no allegiance to any political party, I speak to this old man's legacy with no partisan brief. 

Rather, my signal honour today on behalf of more people than I could ever know, is to express our immense gratitude for the public service of this old man. 

I once took him on a tour to my village and we spoke about the history of the mission and my youth under the Government of his nemesis, Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. 

My home was an Aboriginal reserve under a succession of Queensland laws commencing in 1897.

These laws were notoriously discriminatory and the bureaucratic apparatus controlling the reserves maintained vigil over the smallest details concerning its charges.

Superintendents held vast powers and a cold and capricious beauracracy presided over this system for too long in the 20th century. 

In June 1975, the Whitlam Government enacted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Queensland Discrimatory Laws Act.

The law put to purpose the power conferred upon the Commonwealth Parliament by the 1967 referendum, finally outlawing the discrimination my father and his father lived under since my grandfather was removed to the mission as a boy and to which I was subject the first 10 years of my life.

Powers regulating residency on reserves without a permit, the power of reserve managers to enter private premises without the consent of the householder, legal representation and appeal from court decisions, the power of reserve managers to arbitrarily direct people to work, and the terms and conditions of employment, were now required to treat Aboriginal Queenslanders on the same footing as other Australians.

We were at last free from those discriminations that humiliated and degraded our people.

The companion to this enactment, which would form the architecture of indigenous human rights akin to the Civil Rights Act 1965 in the United States, was the Racial Discrimination Act.

It was in Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen that its importance became clear.

In 1976 a Wik man from Aurukun on the western Cape York Peninsula, John Koowarta, sought to purchase the Archer Bend pastoral lease from its white owner.

The Queensland Government refused the sale. The High Court's decision in Koowarta versus Bjelke-Petersen upheld the Racial Discrimination Act as a valid exercise of the external affairs powers of the Commonwealth.

However, in an act of spite, the Queensland Government converted the lease into the Acher Bend National Park.

Old man Koowarta died a broken man, the winner of a landmark High Court precedent but the victim of an appalling discrimination.

The Racial Discrimination Act was again crucial in 1982 when a group of Murray Islanders led by Eddie Mabo claimed title under the common law to their traditional homelands in the Torres Strait.

In 1985 Bjelke-Petersen sought to kill the Murray Islanders' case by enacting a retrospective extinguishment of any such title.

There was no political or media uproar against Bjelke-Petersen's law. There was no public condemnation of the state's manuover. There was no redress anywhere in the democratic forums or procedures of the state or the nation.

If there were no Racial Discrimination Act that would have been the end of it. Land rights would have been dead, there would never have been a Mabo case in 1992, there would have been no Native Title Act under Prime Minister Keating in 1993.

Without this old man the land and human rights of our people would never have seen the light of day.

There would never have been Mabo and its importance to the history of Australia would have been lost without the Whitlam program.

Only those who have known discrimination truly know its evil.

Only those who have never experienced prejudice can discount the importance of the Racial Discrimination Act.

This old man was one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice.

On this day we will recall the repossession of the Gurindji of Wave Hill, when the Prime Minister said, "Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever."

It was this old man's initiative with the Woodward Royal Commission that led to Prime Minister Fraser's enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Northern Territory Act, legislation that would see more than half of the territory restored to its traditional owners.

Of course recalling the Whitlam Government's legacy has been, for the past four decades since the dismissal, a fraught and partisan business.

Assessments of those three highly charged years and their aftermath divide between the nostalgia and fierce pride of the faithful, and the equally vociferous opinion that the Whitlam years represented the nadir of national government in Australia. Let me venture a perspective.

The Whitlam government is the textbook case of reform trumping management.

In less than three years an astonishing reform agenda leapt off the policy platform and into legislation and the machinery and programs of government.

The country would change forever. The modern cosmopolitan Australia finally emerged like a technicolour butterfly from its long dormant chrysalis.

And 38 years later we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin's Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding "and what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?"

Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories. 

Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us? 

And the Prime Minister with that classical Roman mien, one who would have been as naturally garbed in a toga as a safari suit, stands imperiously with twinkling eyes and that slight self-mocking smile playing around his mouth, in turn infuriating his enemies and delighting his followers.

There is no need for nostalgia and yearning for what might have been.

The achievements of this old man are present in the institutions we today take for granted and played no small part in the progress of modern Australia.

There is no need to regret three years was too short. Was any more time needed? The breadth and depth of the reforms secured in that short and tumultuous period were unprecedented, and will likely never again be repeated.

The devil-may-care attitude to management as opposed to reform is unlikely to be seen again by governments whose priorities are to retain power rather than reform.

The Whitlam program as laid out in the 1972 election platform consisted three objectives: to promote equality, to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land, and to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.

This program is as fresh as it was when first conceived. It scarcely could be better articulated today.

Who would not say the vitality of our democracy is a proper mission of government and should not be renewed and invigorated.

Who can say that liberating the talents and uplifting the horizons of Australians is not a worthy charter for national leadership?

It remains to mention the idea of promoting equality. My chances in this nation were a result of the Whitlam program. My grandparents and parents could never have imagined the doors that opened to me which were closed to them.

I share this consciousness with millions of my fellow Australians whose experiences speak in some way or another to the great power of distributed opportunity. 

I don't know why someone with this old man's upper middle class background could carry such a burning conviction that the barriers of class and race of the Australia of his upbringing and maturation should be torn down and replaced with the unapologetic principle of equality.

I can scarcely point to any white Australian political leader of his vintage and of generations following of whom it could be said without a shadow of doubt, he harboured not a bone of racial, ethnic or gender prejudice in his body. 

This was more than urbane liberalism disguising human equivocation and private failings; it was a modernity that was so before its time as to be utterly anachronistic.

For people like me who had no chance if left to the means of our families we could not be more indebted to this old man's foresight and moral vision for universal opportunity. 

Only those born bereft truly know the power of opportunity. Only those accustomed to its consolations can deprecate a public life dedicated to its furtherance and renewal. This old man never wanted opportunity himself but he possessed the keenest conviction in its importance.

For it behoves the good society through its government to ensure everyone has chance and opportunity.

This is where the policy convictions of Prime Minister Whitlam were so germane to the uplift of many millions of Australians.

We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people.

When he breathed he truly was Australia's greatest white elder and friend without peer of the original Australians.

Noel Pearson is an Aboriginal Australian lawyer, land rights activist and founder of the Cape York Institute. This is the full text of the speech he gave at Gough Whitlam's memorial.

In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam - YouTube

an old man's legacy .....

Yes Gus,

Noel Pearson's eulogy was an inspiration.... here it is in full, along with the Youtube link.

Cheers.

----------------

"Paul Keating said the reward for public life is public progress.

 

For one born estranged from the nation's citizenship, into a humble family of a marginal people striving in the teeth of poverty and discrimination, today it is assuredly no longer the case.

This because of the equalities of opportunities afforded by the Whitlam program.

Raised next to the wood heap of the nation's democracy, bequeathed no allegiance to any political party, I speak to this old man's legacy with no partisan brief. 

Rather, my signal honour today on behalf of more people than I could ever know, is to express our immense gratitude for the public service of this old man. 

I once took him on a tour to my village and we spoke about the history of the mission and my youth under the Government of his nemesis, Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. 

My home was an Aboriginal reserve under a succession of Queensland laws commencing in 1897.

These laws were notoriously discriminatory and the bureaucratic apparatus controlling the reserves maintained vigil over the smallest details concerning its charges.

Superintendents held vast powers and a cold and capricious beauracracy presided over this system for too long in the 20th century. 

In June 1975, the Whitlam Government enacted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Queensland Discrimatory Laws Act.

The law put to purpose the power conferred upon the Commonwealth Parliament by the 1967 referendum, finally outlawing the discrimination my father and his father lived under since my grandfather was removed to the mission as a boy and to which I was subject the first 10 years of my life.

Powers regulating residency on reserves without a permit, the power of reserve managers to enter private premises without the consent of the householder, legal representation and appeal from court decisions, the power of reserve managers to arbitrarily direct people to work, and the terms and conditions of employment, were now required to treat Aboriginal Queenslanders on the same footing as other Australians.

We were at last free from those discriminations that humiliated and degraded our people.

The companion to this enactment, which would form the architecture of indigenous human rights akin to the Civil Rights Act 1965 in the United States, was the Racial Discrimination Act.

It was in Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen that its importance became clear.

In 1976 a Wik man from Aurukun on the western Cape York Peninsula, John Koowarta, sought to purchase the Archer Bend pastoral lease from its white owner.

The Queensland Government refused the sale. The High Court's decision in Koowarta versus Bjelke-Petersen upheld the Racial Discrimination Act as a valid exercise of the external affairs powers of the Commonwealth.

However, in an act of spite, the Queensland Government converted the lease into the Acher Bend National Park.

Old man Koowarta died a broken man, the winner of a landmark High Court precedent but the victim of an appalling discrimination.

The Racial Discrimination Act was again crucial in 1982 when a group of Murray Islanders led by Eddie Mabo claimed title under the common law to their traditional homelands in the Torres Strait.

In 1985 Bjelke-Petersen sought to kill the Murray Islanders' case by enacting a retrospective extinguishment of any such title.

There was no political or media uproar against Bjelke-Petersen's law. There was no public condemnation of the state's manuover. There was no redress anywhere in the democratic forums or procedures of the state or the nation.

If there were no Racial Discrimination Act that would have been the end of it. Land rights would have been dead, there would never have been a Mabo case in 1992, there would have been no Native Title Act under Prime Minister Keating in 1993.

Without this old man the land and human rights of our people would never have seen the light of day.

There would never have been Mabo and its importance to the history of Australia would have been lost without the Whitlam program.

Only those who have known discrimination truly know its evil.

Only those who have never experienced prejudice can discount the importance of the Racial Discrimination Act.

This old man was one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice.

On this day we will recall the repossession of the Gurindji of Wave Hill, when the Prime Minister said, "Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever."

It was this old man's initiative with the Woodward Royal Commission that led to Prime Minister Fraser's enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Northern Territory Act, legislation that would see more than half of the territory restored to its traditional owners.

Of course recalling the Whitlam Government's legacy has been, for the past four decades since the dismissal, a fraught and partisan business.

Assessments of those three highly charged years and their aftermath divide between the nostalgia and fierce pride of the faithful, and the equally vociferous opinion that the Whitlam years represented the nadir of national government in Australia. Let me venture a perspective.

The Whitlam government is the textbook case of reform trumping management.

In less than three years an astonishing reform agenda leapt off the policy platform and into legislation and the machinery and programs of government.

The country would change forever. The modern cosmopolitan Australia finally emerged like a technicolour butterfly from its long dormant chrysalis.

And 38 years later we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin's Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding "and what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?"

Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories. 

Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us? 

And the Prime Minister with that classical Roman mien, one who would have been as naturally garbed in a toga as a safari suit, stands imperiously with twinkling eyes and that slight self-mocking smile playing around his mouth, in turn infuriating his enemies and delighting his followers.

There is no need for nostalgia and yearning for what might have been.

The achievements of this old man are present in the institutions we today take for granted and played no small part in the progress of modern Australia.

There is no need to regret three years was too short. Was any more time needed? The breadth and depth of the reforms secured in that short and tumultuous period were unprecedented, and will likely never again be repeated.

The devil-may-care attitude to management as opposed to reform is unlikely to be seen again by governments whose priorities are to retain power rather than reform.

The Whitlam program as laid out in the 1972 election platform consisted three objectives: to promote equality, to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land, and to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.

This program is as fresh as it was when first conceived. It scarcely could be better articulated today.

Who would not say the vitality of our democracy is a proper mission of government and should not be renewed and invigorated.

Who can say that liberating the talents and uplifting the horizons of Australians is not a worthy charter for national leadership?

It remains to mention the idea of promoting equality. My chances in this nation were a result of the Whitlam program. My grandparents and parents could never have imagined the doors that opened to me which were closed to them.

I share this consciousness with millions of my fellow Australians whose experiences speak in some way or another to the great power of distributed opportunity. 

I don't know why someone with this old man's upper middle class background could carry such a burning conviction that the barriers of class and race of the Australia of his upbringing and maturation should be torn down and replaced with the unapologetic principle of equality.

I can scarcely point to any white Australian political leader of his vintage and of generations following of whom it could be said without a shadow of doubt, he harboured not a bone of racial, ethnic or gender prejudice in his body. 

This was more than urbane liberalism disguising human equivocation and private failings; it was a modernity that was so before its time as to be utterly anachronistic.

For people like me who had no chance if left to the means of our families we could not be more indebted to this old man's foresight and moral vision for universal opportunity. 

Only those born bereft truly know the power of opportunity. Only those accustomed to its consolations can deprecate a public life dedicated to its furtherance and renewal. This old man never wanted opportunity himself but he possessed the keenest conviction in its importance.

For it behoves the good society through its government to ensure everyone has chance and opportunity.

This is where the policy convictions of Prime Minister Whitlam were so germane to the uplift of many millions of Australians.

We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people.

When he breathed he truly was Australia's greatest white elder and friend without peer of the original Australians.

Noel Pearson is an Aboriginal Australian lawyer, land rights activist and founder of the Cape York Institute. This is the full text of the speech he gave at Gough Whitlam's memorial.

In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam - YouTube

an old man's legacy .....

Yes Gus,

Noel Pearson's eulogy was an inspiration.... here it is in full, along with the Youtube link.

Cheers.

----------------

"Paul Keating said the reward for public life is public progress.

 

For one born estranged from the nation's citizenship, into a humble family of a marginal people striving in the teeth of poverty and discrimination, today it is assuredly no longer the case.

This because of the equalities of opportunities afforded by the Whitlam program.

Raised next to the wood heap of the nation's democracy, bequeathed no allegiance to any political party, I speak to this old man's legacy with no partisan brief. 

Rather, my signal honour today on behalf of more people than I could ever know, is to express our immense gratitude for the public service of this old man. 

I once took him on a tour to my village and we spoke about the history of the mission and my youth under the Government of his nemesis, Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. 

My home was an Aboriginal reserve under a succession of Queensland laws commencing in 1897.

These laws were notoriously discriminatory and the bureaucratic apparatus controlling the reserves maintained vigil over the smallest details concerning its charges.

Superintendents held vast powers and a cold and capricious beauracracy presided over this system for too long in the 20th century. 

In June 1975, the Whitlam Government enacted the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Queensland Discrimatory Laws Act.

The law put to purpose the power conferred upon the Commonwealth Parliament by the 1967 referendum, finally outlawing the discrimination my father and his father lived under since my grandfather was removed to the mission as a boy and to which I was subject the first 10 years of my life.

Powers regulating residency on reserves without a permit, the power of reserve managers to enter private premises without the consent of the householder, legal representation and appeal from court decisions, the power of reserve managers to arbitrarily direct people to work, and the terms and conditions of employment, were now required to treat Aboriginal Queenslanders on the same footing as other Australians.

We were at last free from those discriminations that humiliated and degraded our people.

The companion to this enactment, which would form the architecture of indigenous human rights akin to the Civil Rights Act 1965 in the United States, was the Racial Discrimination Act.

It was in Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen that its importance became clear.

In 1976 a Wik man from Aurukun on the western Cape York Peninsula, John Koowarta, sought to purchase the Archer Bend pastoral lease from its white owner.

The Queensland Government refused the sale. The High Court's decision in Koowarta versus Bjelke-Petersen upheld the Racial Discrimination Act as a valid exercise of the external affairs powers of the Commonwealth.

However, in an act of spite, the Queensland Government converted the lease into the Acher Bend National Park.

Old man Koowarta died a broken man, the winner of a landmark High Court precedent but the victim of an appalling discrimination.

The Racial Discrimination Act was again crucial in 1982 when a group of Murray Islanders led by Eddie Mabo claimed title under the common law to their traditional homelands in the Torres Strait.

In 1985 Bjelke-Petersen sought to kill the Murray Islanders' case by enacting a retrospective extinguishment of any such title.

There was no political or media uproar against Bjelke-Petersen's law. There was no public condemnation of the state's manuover. There was no redress anywhere in the democratic forums or procedures of the state or the nation.

If there were no Racial Discrimination Act that would have been the end of it. Land rights would have been dead, there would never have been a Mabo case in 1992, there would have been no Native Title Act under Prime Minister Keating in 1993.

Without this old man the land and human rights of our people would never have seen the light of day.

There would never have been Mabo and its importance to the history of Australia would have been lost without the Whitlam program.

Only those who have known discrimination truly know its evil.

Only those who have never experienced prejudice can discount the importance of the Racial Discrimination Act.

This old man was one of those rare people who never suffered discrimination but understood the importance of protection from its malice.

On this day we will recall the repossession of the Gurindji of Wave Hill, when the Prime Minister said, "Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands this piece of earth itself as a sign that we restore them to you and your children forever."

It was this old man's initiative with the Woodward Royal Commission that led to Prime Minister Fraser's enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Northern Territory Act, legislation that would see more than half of the territory restored to its traditional owners.

Of course recalling the Whitlam Government's legacy has been, for the past four decades since the dismissal, a fraught and partisan business.

Assessments of those three highly charged years and their aftermath divide between the nostalgia and fierce pride of the faithful, and the equally vociferous opinion that the Whitlam years represented the nadir of national government in Australia. Let me venture a perspective.

The Whitlam government is the textbook case of reform trumping management.

In less than three years an astonishing reform agenda leapt off the policy platform and into legislation and the machinery and programs of government.

The country would change forever. The modern cosmopolitan Australia finally emerged like a technicolour butterfly from its long dormant chrysalis.

And 38 years later we are like John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin's Jewish insurgents ranting against the despotic rule of Rome, defiantly demanding "and what did the Romans ever do for us anyway?"

Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories. 

Apart from all of this, what did this Roman ever do for us? 

And the Prime Minister with that classical Roman mien, one who would have been as naturally garbed in a toga as a safari suit, stands imperiously with twinkling eyes and that slight self-mocking smile playing around his mouth, in turn infuriating his enemies and delighting his followers.

There is no need for nostalgia and yearning for what might have been.

The achievements of this old man are present in the institutions we today take for granted and played no small part in the progress of modern Australia.

There is no need to regret three years was too short. Was any more time needed? The breadth and depth of the reforms secured in that short and tumultuous period were unprecedented, and will likely never again be repeated.

The devil-may-care attitude to management as opposed to reform is unlikely to be seen again by governments whose priorities are to retain power rather than reform.

The Whitlam program as laid out in the 1972 election platform consisted three objectives: to promote equality, to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land, and to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.

This program is as fresh as it was when first conceived. It scarcely could be better articulated today.

Who would not say the vitality of our democracy is a proper mission of government and should not be renewed and invigorated.

Who can say that liberating the talents and uplifting the horizons of Australians is not a worthy charter for national leadership?

It remains to mention the idea of promoting equality. My chances in this nation were a result of the Whitlam program. My grandparents and parents could never have imagined the doors that opened to me which were closed to them.

I share this consciousness with millions of my fellow Australians whose experiences speak in some way or another to the great power of distributed opportunity. 

I don't know why someone with this old man's upper middle class background could carry such a burning conviction that the barriers of class and race of the Australia of his upbringing and maturation should be torn down and replaced with the unapologetic principle of equality.

I can scarcely point to any white Australian political leader of his vintage and of generations following of whom it could be said without a shadow of doubt, he harboured not a bone of racial, ethnic or gender prejudice in his body. 

This was more than urbane liberalism disguising human equivocation and private failings; it was a modernity that was so before its time as to be utterly anachronistic.

For people like me who had no chance if left to the means of our families we could not be more indebted to this old man's foresight and moral vision for universal opportunity. 

Only those born bereft truly know the power of opportunity. Only those accustomed to its consolations can deprecate a public life dedicated to its furtherance and renewal. This old man never wanted opportunity himself but he possessed the keenest conviction in its importance.

For it behoves the good society through its government to ensure everyone has chance and opportunity.

This is where the policy convictions of Prime Minister Whitlam were so germane to the uplift of many millions of Australians.

We salute this old man for his great love and dedication to his country and to the Australian people.

When he breathed he truly was Australia's greatest white elder and friend without peer of the original Australians.

Noel Pearson is an Aboriginal Australian lawyer, land rights activist and founder of the Cape York Institute. This is the full text of the speech he gave at Gough Whitlam's memorial.

In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam - YouTube

the first chords of Jerusalem, as always, had me in tears...

Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s memorial service in Sydney yesterday was an occasion memorable for its reticence, proud good taste and meaningful contributions, writes Bob Ellis.

For a time it seemed Rudd must sit beside Gillard, but it was soon sorted, and they sat, eyes averted, two apart. Keating, entering, with Annita, got huge applause; Hawke with Blanche, less so, Penny Wong and her ‘spouse’ a great deal, Garrett a little more.

Silence greeted Howard and Jannette. Abbott, unaccompanied, materialised in the front row, from, it seemed, a secret entrance, having been booed out on the street.

Jill Wran was there. Albo and Carmel, Deputy Premier and Deputy Premier, man and wife. John Brown. Smith and Swan. Menadue. Spiegelman. Two Fergusons. Les Johnson and Doug McClelland. Barry Jones, famous now since 1948, irrepressible, buoyant, grizzled. Phillip Adams, looking as he did since he was twenty-five. Latham was not there, of course; of course. Like Hemingway, he never forgave a favour.


Huge pipe organ music as the tall family entered; a ‘flotilla of Whitlams’, I used to call them, fewer now.

From the upper level, near the front, I could see all the faces, like a perfect stained glass window of a gathering of sainted worthies, in a sacred site, the Town Hall, where, six months ago, Nifty’s coffin had lain, and his daughter, now on a charge of murder, had spoken over him, quoting Shakespeare.

There was the national anthem and Kerry O’Brien came forward, tawny and mild-mannered, Steve McQueen-like, as always, and I remembered how, on the day of the sacking, he, beside me in the press gallery, had said:

“Let slip the dogs of war.”

He told of working on Gough’s last campaign — the energy, the detail, the generosity, the fury, the joy.

And then there was a welcome to country, and a potent didgeridoo, and then ... Freudenberg.

The years melted away and I remembered Freudy in 1977 after Gough resigned, saying:

“I’m, what, forty-two, and my life is over. It ended tonight.”

I remembered ten years ago, after a lunch with Jeff Shaw, Gough saying: “Lend me a shoulder, comrade” and, leaning on Freudy, walked from the building, linked forever to his collaborator and chronicler.

Freudy’s speech ‒ and his delivery of it ‒ showed the great orator the Legislative Assembly lost when the Labor Party, in its wisdom, nominated Eddie Obeid instead. Like his speech on getting life lembership, in the same Town Hall, it was among the best ten of our nation. But there was more, and better, to come.

Across the world, with perfect symmetry, America’s Whitlam, Obama, was being ended by ebola and Fox News, the toy of Murdoch, who had ended Gough also, and the choir and the orchestra performed the St Matthew Passion final chorus by J.F. Bach.

Cate Blanchett came forward and spoke of how she, as a woman, was better able to explore what she could do in the world because of Whitlam’s free universities and Abbott, the minister for women, cringed in the front row. The choir sang the chorus of the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi and things notched up a bit.

Fifteen years ago, I called Noel Pearson ‘Australia’s best orator’, after sharing a stage with him in Mosman.

He proved it again before a vaster audience in Town Hall with an oration rich in wile and fury, almost Elizabethan in its intimacy, clarity and beauty, in which, being now himself a man of no party, he extolled the ‘old man’ he, his people, and Australia, owed so much.

Quickly hailed as the ‘best Australian speech, ever’, it became, like Lincoln’s second inaugural, a new benchmark of the language well used in a great cause on a high occasion.

Read more at: http://www.independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/the-whitlam-memorial-farewell-to-a-giant,7070

 


 

and there was balibo...

 

East Timor may have been a sore point in Gough's diplomatic foray. Gough, as he should have, courted Suharto, the President of Indonesia, like Menzies had been courting the Russians in the late 1950s... But East Timor had been abandoned by the west, especially the US, after Portugal flew out of the place. East Timor was sort of given to Indonesia as a peace offering by the US... But the East Timorese fought against the Indonesian and there was this problem with the Balibo five, about a month before Whitlam's dismissal... Gough may have had a different view on East Timor than the rest of the Catholic portion of the Labor Party or may have been preparing some secret negotiations for later on on this difficult subject. On the other side of the Labor Party, Laurie Brereton (Catholic right faction) was a strong supporter of a Free Timor Leste (East Timor) which Howard eventually managed to organised with the next president of Indonesia — Habibie, possibly because Habibie needed Australia's support for his presidency and freedom for Timor Leste was the only solution for peace.  

Without the support of the US in the 1970s, batting for East Timor's freedom would have massively soured relationships with Indonesia and it's possible Gough was not prepared to go this iffy route. At the time, there was also the transmigration of Indonesians into Papua. No Western leader has been prepared to stop ( or tackle) this process — and today, West Papuans are still fighting against the invasion. Is it possible that this is used as a discreet blackmail chip by the Australian government to bargain on the refugee boats coming out of Indonesia? Who knows...


Of course as shown here back in 2005, Timor Leste was robbed by John Howard and this situation became the central point of a court case in The Hague by Timor Leste against Australia with Brandis organising some ASIO raids on the Timor Leste lawyers this year, in Australia.

 

of pomp, pumps and circumstances...

Gough Whitlam may have taken great delight in designing his own funeral arrangements – or at least a self-mocking fantasy version of them. But the pleasure of reciting his epitaph rested with a colleague, the acerbic New South Wales premier Neville Wran, although in all probability it was penned by the great speechwriter Graham Freudenberg, who acted as an amanuensis to both men.

As Wran put it, ‘It was said of Caesar Augustus that he found a Rome of brick and left it of marble. It can be said of Gough Whitlam that he found Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane unsewered, and left them fully flushed.’ It was a line that delighted the elder statesman, whose epic visions – national, international and, some believed, interplanetary – had their origins in a firmly grounded policy of improving the quality of life: he began with the outhouse, and reached for the sky.

It is for this breadth of vision, for the unquenchable optimism of his ambition, that Australia’s twenty-first prime minister will be best remembered. He spent less than three years in office – less than a full constitutional term, although he won two elections in the process. But in Australian history his name outshines most of his predecessors; only Menzies and perhaps Deakin among the conservatives and Curtin and Chifley on the Labor side are similarly household names.

Edward Gough Whitlam truly became a legend in his own lifetime. But it was a different legend to different audiences. Most of the left saw him as a flawed genius and a political martyr well on the way to beatification, if not canonisation. The right regarded him as a monstrous aberration, a devilish warning to budding politicians of the awful fate that awaits those who overreach. All, however, acknowledged that he was the dominant figure of his times, a giant who bestrode the parliament in a way that few had done before him and none has approached since.

His achievements – the now legendary Program – were many and radical. Some, like Medicare (son of Medibank), consumer protection laws, the Family Court and of course the sewering of the outer suburbs, have endured. Others, like free university degrees, Aboriginal land rights, the Australian Assistance Plan (a scheme of grants to kick-start overdue projects in disadvantaged electorates) and the promotion of the arts as a national objective, have been axed, abandoned or severely watered down by his successors. But few would deny that the fall-out from the great social explosion of the Whitlam years is still spreading: Whitlam remains one of our few leaders who can be truly said to have changed Australia – not just for the brief period of his administration, but forever.

But change brings with it instability and insecurity, and the dark side of Whitlam’s legacy is that the cost of trying to implement a grand political and social vision is now seen to be unacceptably high. The runaway inflation, high interest rates and burgeoning unemployment of the latter half of Whitlam’s turbulent administration were not entirely his fault; the twin oil-price shocks of the early ’70s caught every government in the world by surprise, and all, with the possible exception of the Japanese, failed to provide an adequate response.

read more: http://www.themonthly.com.au/blog/mungo-maccallum/2014/21/2014/1413850480/gough-whitlam-1916-2014

--------------------------------

Let Gus to make some BIG "unsubstantiated" claims: The oil price shock of the 1970s was induced by the USA in order to sink Europe (and Australia) as well as create an artificial crisis in the Middle East — mostly to control people.

The reasons for the "oil shock" were:
1. Launch a colossal assault against world industrial growth [i.e. Europe et others, including Japan].
2. Tilt the balance of power back to the advantage of Anglo-American financial interests.
3. Control the world's oil flows, their most powerful weapon.
4. Increase the world demand for U.S. dollars.[7

The second part is Japan NEVER recovered — even after providing "an adequate response". I could develop these two premises at length here but you can do your own study.

booing was legitimate...

From Amanda Vanstone:

 

Booing of Abbott and Howard at Gough Whitlam's funeral was self-indulgent rudeness

 

 

 

Funerals mean different things to different people. The last one I went to was for the mother of a friend. She was a strong woman and clearly much loved and admired. It is fair to say the eastern suburbs Catholic "mafia" of Adelaide, as they are referred to by some, were out in force. Clearly I am not one of them, nor, I suspect, was the fruit vendor who she and I frequented, but we were all there to pay respect to a life well lived.

Funerals can be tetchy events for the family. There may be disagreements about the service, who should speak, the wake. None of us are at our best when our emotions are in full force. Nonetheless, at funerals at least, we usually manage to keep an air of decorum.

At Dame Roma Mitchell's funeral I was surprised to see the columnist Christopher Pearson. Roma disliked him with an uncommon intensity. There's quite a bit more to that story, but suffice it to say we could all take some comfort in the fact that such a wide range of people came to pay their respects to such a wonderful woman.

My mother had a different view of funerals. She thought they were only for people you knew and liked. When she realised she was dying, she extracted a commitment from me to do all I could to ensure that one particular stepson-in-law would not attend. It is an ugly business ringing a step-nephew to ask that his father stay away. She hated him for how he had humiliated his wife over such a long period and said that while she had to be nice to him while his wife was alive, she saw no need to continue that pleasantry. Decorum was maintained by all ... he did not attend.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/booing-of-abbott-and-howard-at-gough-whitlams-funeral-was-selfindulgent-rudeness-20141106-11i0gd.html#ixzz3IbRj8C4h


Gus: I cannot agree with Amanda. This was a celebration of Gough's life and of his importance in changing a narrow-minded tight-arsed country into a more egalitarian social community. It was not a funeral.
And one should have had the decency to applaud as required on ALL the great achievements of Gough. Both Abbott and that boorish dour new Governor General sat like like crash dummies being front-ended. Both were tight-arsed ugly bullies who has decided to keep their arms crossed as much as possible, it would have hurt their arm-pits — so they would not be tempted to clap, including applaud the wise words of Noel Pearson on Gough... Not applauding was SELF-INDULGENT RUDENESS.
That Abbott and Howard be booed OUTSIDE the Town Hall and not applauded inside the Town Hall was legit as this was Gough's day of celebration and these two CONservatives, Abbott and Howard, carry so much anti-Whitlam bile that it shows on their face. Gough did not lie, though he could have some mighty arguments.
Both Howard and Abbott have lied — MASSIVELY — to hold to power or to get into power. That is a psychopathic attribute. Lying to people. Ordinary people don't like being taken for a ride. They booed the usurpers. Both Abbott and Howard have also tried to destroy Gough's legagy on education, health and decency to promote an ugly selfish elitism for the CONservative and the rich. People at a Gough memorial would have hated to see these two liars — one parading like a tiny peacock, the other walking like a jockey of the Melbourne cup that had just ridden a horse with two butts. A butt at the front and one at the back. That is the style of this present PM... Abbott CONs people with inane infantile uttering and idiotic deceiving tricks. That people be upset at this duplicity bordering on sociopathy is legitimate.
Boo, Abbott, Boo... BOO BOO BOO... BOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

 

 

"I rejoice to saye they were hissed, hooted, and pippen-pelted from stage,so as I do not thinke they will soone be ready to trie the same againe..." Thomas Brande, 1692...

"I'm afraid, they will trie the same againe soone... because they don't care..." Gus Leonisky, 2014

procrastination by the archives...

National archives' 90-day delay to declassify palace letters 'extremely disappointing'


Jenny Hocking says the timeframe for the release of correspondence about the 1975 Whitlam dismissal doesn’t match the high court order


The historian Jenny Hocking says she is “extremely disappointed” that the National Archives of Australia has asserted it has 90 business days to declassify the palace letters prior to release, saying it may misunderstand the orders of the high court.

The archives on Tuesday issued a statement saying it was working to prepare the letters – correspondence between the Queen, her private secretary, and the governor general, John Kerr, in the lead up to the former prime minister Gough Whitlam’s 1975 dismissal – for release following a momentous high court ruling last week.

The archives claimed it had up to 90 business days to declassify the documents and may still apply exemptions to the release.

“To ensure the records are released in accordance with the Archives Act 1983 they are required to go through a declassification process which may take up to 90 business days,” the archives said.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/03/national-archives...

 

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