Out Of Empire: Edward Cough Whitlam

1944 words - 8 pages

Long & tedious, however very informative Well written and clearly presented'OUT OF EMPIRE: EDWARD GOUGH WHITLAM''More than any other part of the old Empire, Australiaremains inhibited and limited by its nostalgia for pastassociations and pretensions which the British nation, andin particular, the British monarch have long sinceabandoned. Nothing has done more to retard Australia'srelations with Britain or to distort the very real andsubstantial nature of that relationship than the obsessionsof the Australian conservatives with the British connectionand their manipulation of the monarchy and theirexploitation of the perquisites and privileges associatedwith it.'- Edward Gough Whitlam, 1985Gough Whitlam was perhaps Australia's most controversialPrime Minister ever, and the Australian with arguably themost reason to resent our country's ties with Britain. Foron Remembrance Day, 1975, the Governor General, Sir JohnKerr, invoked his reserve powers to dismiss Whitlam as PrimeMinister, something he could only do because he wassupposedly acting on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. Thus, itis to be expected that out of all of Australia's leadingfigures, Whitlam would have the most reason to feelstrongly, one way or the other, about our 'mother country'.Today, Whitlam declares himself to be a Republican, but heconfesses he only came to this way of thinking after hisdismissal, when he and the nation saw for the first timejust how much power the Queen and her representatives reallyhad, despite their lack of control over day to day runningof the Government. At the onset of his career, Whitlam wasquite proud of his Queen - he had, after all, fought in theAirforce during the Second World War to defend Britain aswell as Australia - but he always thought the Conservativeparties held far too much attachment for time-honouredtraditions which there was no longer a place for inAustralia. Australia needed to move on, to recognise thatBritain's place was to be occupied by another country - theUnited States - and that further, Australia needed to stopaccepting so many British migrants and start looking at whatpeoples from other countries could offer Australia. Whitlamalways believed in change - his campaign slogan reflectedthis - and this attitude seems to stem largely from hissensitivity to how the rest of the world sees Australia.Much of what he later said or wrote reflected this.Edward Gough Whitlam was born on July 11, 1916, into amiddle class family. His father worked for the VictorianState Government and then the Federal Government, ultimatelybecoming a Commonwealth Crown Solicitor (now titledAustralian Government Solicitor), and his mother, as was thepractice then, stayed at home.Whitlam's upbringing was quite sound. He was encouraged towork hard and his parents sent him to reputable privateschools. His family, however, did not push him intopolitics; indeed, Whitlam himself admitted years later thathe became involved because he was 'so disillusioned oralienated...

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