The 1975 Constitutional Crisis - The Whitlam Dismissal

Essay by mentalmorrisonHigh School, 10th gradeB, July 2005

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

In November the 11th 1975 history was made with the Whitlam government being dismissed some say this was bigger then the turn of the century.

Whitlam was the first of the new-style Labor leaders. Following an attempt by Whitlam to appoint the former leader of the Democratic Labor Party, Senator Vince Gair, as Ambassador to Ireland, the Opposition Leader, Bill Snedden, threatened to force an election by blocking Supply in the Senate. Whitlam responded by calling a double dissolution election for 18 May 1974 at which the government was returned.

Following the appointment of the government's Senate leader and Attorney General, Lionel Murphy, to the High Court bench in February 1975, the Liberal government of New South Wales, under Premier Tom Lewis, refused to follow convention and appoint a Labor replacement for Murphy in the Senate. Following the death of Queensland Labor Senator Bert Milliner, the Country Party Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, also refused to appoint a Labor replacement, opting instead to appoint Albert Patrick Field.

During 1975, the Government also endured the "Overseas Loans Affair", the story of efforts by the Minister for Minerals and Energy, Rex Connor, Treasurer Dr. Jim Cairns, and others, to raise an overseas loan of $4 billion. The loan was to be used to fund a number of natural resources and energy projects, including the construction of a natural gas pipeline, the electrification of interstate railways and a uranium enrichment plant.

A Pakistani broker, Tirath Khemlani, was used by Connor to secure the loan. Wracked by economic difficulties and the political impact of the Loans Affair scandal, the Whitlam Government was vulnerable throughout 1975. Whitlam had been forced to sack Dr. Jim Cairns from the government and a by-election in Lance Barnard's former seat of Bass in June 1975 saw a massive swing...