The Dismissal of Gough Whitlam.

Essay by rexamus2000High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2003

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The events that took place during the time the Whitlam Government was in office (1972-1975) were some of the most constitutionally challenging and controversial that Australian Politics had ever seen before, or since. After 23 years of Liberal Government, the people voted Labor and saw a massive change in policy, which was almost immediate. The Whitlam Government suffered a block in supply in 1974 and was re-elected after the resulting double dissolution. The Opposition then blocked supply again in 1975 but the Whitlam Government refused to advise a double dissolution or resign. Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam Government and forced them to an election. The propriety of these events are still being debated. But was it the will of the people?

Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's first 100 days in office saw more radical changes then would be seen in almost 100 years of previous Governments. The Whitlam government ended conscription and ordered the last Australian troops home from Vietnam.

It brought in legislation giving equal pay to women, established a national health service free to all, doubled spending on education and abolished university fees, increased wages, pensions and unemployment benefits, ended censorship, reformed divorce laws and set up the Family Law Courts, funded the arts and film industry, assumed federal government responsibility for Aboriginal affairs (health, education, welfare and land rights), scrapped royal patronage and replaced "God Save the Queen" as the national anthem with "Advance Australia Fair." Although all these advances were good things for Australians, such radical progress was very expensive and troublesome. The Liberal - Country Party saw such brisk advances as 'waving a magic wand' over Australian problems and set backs; and was very annoyed that it had worked with Australian approval. Such moves by the Whitlam Government were also very expensive; in...