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Whitlam And His Influence On Australian Development In The Mid 1970s

2142 words - 9 pages

There are times in history when the fate and future of a nation can be traced back to a single decision; Gough Whitlam becoming Prime Minister was one of those moments. Edward “Gough” Whitlam was the Prime Minister of Australia from the 5th of December 1972 until the 11th of November 1975. He was a new class of Politician. He had a private school education, served time in the military and was from a middle class family. (Davidson Hurst Macyntire 1998 p689) He came on board with a lot of new, exciting and somewhat radical ideas. (Dyrenfurth Bongorio 2011 p137). Famous for his “Its Time” slogan he was destined to make a difference. He was known as “The Great Reformer” and he implemented one of the biggest rehauls and reforms of Australian society, policies and way of life in the history of Australia. (Hocking 2012 p1) He eradicated the Infamous White Australia Policy and gave women equal rights. Aboriginals had their land rights recognized for the first time, he ended sexual and racial discrimination among many other things (Davidson Hurst Macyntire 1998 p689) The ideas and policies he put in motion are arguably some of the most influential and a lot of his ideas are still implemented in Australian way of life today. In the 3 years he was Prime Minister he implemented over 200 policy changes. To put that in perspective, that works out to be a little over one a week. While he may have only been PM for three years, he undeniably helped to change Australian society forever.

In this essay I will argue that Gough Whitlam, His Government and His Policies changed Australia and the Australian way of life. I will argue this by examining some of his best known policies. Specifically the ones aimed at the everyday Australian and how the policies he created paved the way for a better way of life. I will examine his withdrawal involvement in The Vietnam War. His abolishment of Tertiary Education Fees and his introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme.

To begin, Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War is the longest that we have spent in war or conflict. Officially lasting from 1962 to 1975. Australia had over 60,000 personnel involved with the Vietnam War. Australia’s involvement lasted from 1962 to 1972 (Australia And The Vietnam War 2014). In 1964, The Menzies government introduced compulsory military service The “National Service Act 1964". It was a lottery that picked people via their birthdays. If their birthday was chosen, depending on their fitness and education, they would be conscripted into serving in the war (Davidson, Hurst, Macintyre. 2001 p146). In the beginning not many people in Australia had any worries with Australia’s involvement in Vietnam. However, as the war got more complicated and more soldiers were sent over, concern started to rise. Of the 50000 soldiers that served in Vietnam, 19500 of them, almost half, were conscripted (Davidson, Hurst, Macintyre. 2001 p146). Over 1000 conscripts applying for an exemption based...

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