Why did the ALP lose the election of December 13th 1975 so badly?

Essay by materialistaUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

download word file, 9 pages 3.7 1 reviews

Downloaded 43 times

When the Australian Labor Party came to power in November 1972, it was following almost a quarter of a century of Liberal government, whose policies were becoming increasingly outdated in comparison to the forward thinking promises of ALP leader, Gough Whitlam. The following three years were a program of social reform, though the leadership period suffered under the effects of a world economy turned sour and through a perceived mismanagement of the Australian finances. Combined with scandals, high inflation, unemployment and a general lack of confidence in a leader that had lead them into one of the worst economic slumps, the Australian public decided that though policies of social reform had been important and significant, their own individual financial well-being would always eclipse this. Though not an altogether despised leader, by the end of his functional term Whitlam was seen as an idealist, when the country required in that period of economic uncertainty was a realist able to pull the country out of near recession.

In 1972 the federal Liberal government was experiencing problems of unemployment, industrial unrest, of how to manage the Aboriginal land rights claims, opposition to their Vietnam war decisions, a falling international value of the Australian dollar, and despite opposing nuclear testing, they gained further unpopularity by claiming the testing done in the Pacific was not a threat for Australians. Due to the 'deteriorating' economic climate, it was said that the public were equally disillusioned with all parties, and Whitlam's policies at least provided an interesting change. Policies such as improving education and health care standards, and providing equal pay for women earned Labor many votes. Whitlam's ideas were ones previously neglected by the Liberals, and Whitlam's speech cry of "It's Time" seemed to strike a chord with the Australian public, the ALP securing 67 seats...