Vale Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC

Vale Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC


Victor P Taffa

Former Labor Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam has died aged 98 years.

Whitlam was first elected to Parliament in 1952, representing Werriwa in the House of Representatives. He became Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in 1960, and in 1967, after the retirement of Arthur Calwell, he was elected Leader and became the Leader of the Opposition. After narrowly losing the 1969 election, Whitlam led Labor to victory at the 1972 election after 23 years of continuous Liberal/Country Coalition Government.







In 1974, Whitlam called a double dissolution election and was returned to office with a reduced majority. As the world-wide economic conditions declined, Whitlam became embroiled in a loans scandal involving a third party loans shark named Tirath Khemlani. This was the beginning of the end of the Whitlam Labor Government.

There were other minor scandals involving several ministers, his deputy leader, Jim Cairns and the appointment to Ambassador for Ireland of Vince Gair by Queensland National Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

In 1975 as the Whitlam Government lacked a majority in the Senate, after months of deadlock the opposition blocked supply and Governor-General Sir John Kerr sacked the Whitlam Government on 11 November, 1975. Opposition Liberal Leader Malcolm Fraser formed a caretaker Government and won a landslide election victory on 13 December, 1975. Gough Whitlam became Opposition Leader.


Randwick Racecourse, 1975

Like many Australians, Editor Victor P Taffa’s interest in politics began during the tumultuous years of the Whitlam Government. At the 1975 Federal Election, 10 year old Victor P Taffa went with his mother Margaret and Aunties Rona and Marie and their friends to a Liberal Party campaign rally held at Randwick Racecourse that drew a crowd of about 20,000.

In 1977 the Fraser Government called an early election which Labor Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam lost by a large margin.

Whitlam was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in June 1978 and resigned from Parliament on 31 July 1978.

In comparison to Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and many others of the era of the Whitlam Government, today’s politicians are so bland as to make robots seem positively exciting. Further the leadership that today’s politician’s display is non-existent.

Edward Gough Whitlam Born: 11 July 1916 Died: 21 October 2014


Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott









Current Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott said of Gough Whitlam upon his passing:

Australia mourns the passing of its 21st Prime Minister, the Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC.

We remember his lifetime of service to Australia in the Royal Australian Air Force, as a parliamentarian, as Prime Minister and as an ambassador.

Gough Whitlam was a giant of his time. He united the Australian Labor Party, won two elections and seemed, in so many ways, larger than life.

His government ended conscription, recognised China, introduced Medibank, abolished university fees, decolonised Papua New Guinea, transformed our approach to indigenous policy and expanded the role of the Commonwealth, particularly in the field of social services.

In his own party, he inspired a legion of young people to get involved in public life.

He established diplomatic relations with China and was the first Australian Prime Minister to visit China. China is our largest trading partner. That is an enduring legacy.

Gough Whitlam recognised the journey that our country needed to take with indigenous Australians. The image of soil passing from Gough Whitlam’s hand to Vincent Lingiari’s is a reminder that all Australians share the same land and the same hopes.

Gough Whitlam’s life was inseparable from that of Margaret Whitlam. Margaret Whitlam was a leading light for women of her generation. Together they made a difference to our country.

On this day we honour a life of service to our country. I have instructed all flags to fly at half-mast today and on the day of Mr. Whitlam’s State Memorial Service.

Further details on how Australians can honour Mr. Whitlam will be announced in coming days in consultation with the Whitlam family.

On behalf of the Australian people, I extend my condolences to the Whitlam family on their loss.


Premier Of Victoria Denis Napthine

Premier Of Victoria Denis Napthine









Current Liberal Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine said of Gough Whitlam upon his passing:

On behalf of the Government and the people of Victoria, I send my sincere condolences to the family of The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC.

Gough Whitlam made a contribution to our country and society that stands to this day.

Today all Victorians and Australians should honour his commitment to public service and his enduring legacy.


Prime Minister’s Of Australia

The following people have held the office of Prime Minister of Australia since the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901.

Prime Minister                       Party                           Term Of Office

Edmund Barton                      Protectionist                1 January 1901-24 September 1903

Alfred Deakin                          Protectionist                24 September 1903-27 April 1904

Chris Watson                          Labor                           27 April 1904-18 August 1904

George Reid                            Free Trade                   18 August- 5 July 1905

Alfred Deakin                         Liberal                         5 July 1905-13 November 1908

Andrew Fisher                        Labor                           13 November 1908-2 June 1909

Alfred Deakin                         Fushion                       2 June 1909-29 April 1910

Andrew Fisher                        Labor                           29 April 1910-24 June 1913

Joseph Cook                            Liberal                         24 June 1913-7 September 1914

Andrew Fisher                        Labor                           7 September 1914-27 October 1915

William Morris Hughes           Labor                           27 October 1915-14 November 1916

William Morris Hughes           National Labor            14 November 1916-17 February 1917

William Morris Hughes           Nationalist                   17 February 1917-9 February 1923

Stanley Melbourne Bruce       Nationalist                   9 February 1923-22 October 1929

James Scullin                           Labor                           22 October 1929- 6 January 1932

Joseph Lyons                          United Australia         6 January 1932-7 April 1939

Earle Page                               Country                       7 April 1939-26 April 1939

Robert Menzies                       United Australia         26 April 1939-29 August 1941

Arthur Fadden                        Country                       29 August 1941-7 October 1941

John Curtin                             Labor                           7 October 1941-5 July 1945*

Francis Forde                          Labor                           5 July 1945-13 July 1945

Ben Chifley                             Labor                           13 July 1945-19 December 1949

Robert Menzies                       Liberal                         19 December 1949-26 January 1966**

Harold Holt                             Liberal                         26 January 1966-19 December 1967*

John McEwen                          Country                       19 December 1967-10 January 1968

John Gorton                            Liberal                         10 January 1968-10 March 1971

William McMahon                  Liberal                         10 March 1971-5 December 1972

Gough Whitlam                      Labor                           5 December 1972-11 November 1975

Malcolm Fraser                       Liberal                         11 November 1975-5 March 1983

Bob Hawke                             Labor                           5 March 1983-19 December 1991

Paul Keating                           Labor                           19 December 1991-2 March 1996

John Howard                          Liberal                         2 March 1996-24 November 2007

Kevin Rudd                            Labor                           24 November 2007-24 June 2010

Julia Gillard                             Labor                           24 June 2010-26 June 2013

Kevin Rudd                            Labor                           26 June 2013-7 September 2013

Tony Abbott                           Liberal                         7 September 2013-Present

*Died in Office

** Formed current Liberal Party in 1944 and longest serving Prime Minister