Malcolm Turnbull Becomes Australia’s 22nd Longest-Serving Prime Minister

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today becomes the nation’s 22nd longest-serving prime minister.

Turnbull has now served in the position for 1 year, 2 months and 25 days, overtaking Joseph Cook, who took the original Liberal Party to its first-ever election victory in 1913. Like Turnbull in 2016, Cook only secured a one-seat majority. Cook was gone within 15 months.

Turnbull has now broken free of the pack of prime ministers who governed briefly, in three cases as stop-gaps following the death of the incumbent. On June 10, 2017, he will move into 21st position when he overtakes William McMahon, the Liberal PM who lost to Gough Whitlam in 1972 and took the coalition out of government for the first time in 23 years.

December 10 Elections

Today is also the anniversary of three federal elections, in 1949, 1955 and 1977. The first of these saw Robert Menzies begin his record-breaking 16-year term as prime minister. In 1955, he won the fourth of seven consecutive victories, in the aftermath of the disastrous split in the ALP. In 1977, Malcolm Fraser secured his second massive victory against the ALP, in an election that ended Gough Whitlam’s political career.

With three outings, December 10 is the single most popular day for federal elections in Australian political history. Two elections have been held on each of August 21, December 13 and December 16. With a total of 12 elections (26.7%), December is the single most popular month for elections.

The last December election was in 1984, when Bob Hawke won the second of his four victories for the ALP. Hawke turned 87 yesterday.


John Gorton, Australian, Former Liberal Prime Minister, Dies, 90

John Grey Gorton, Australia’s nineteenth Prime Minister from 1968-71, has died, at age 90.

GortonRenowned as a ‘larrikin’, Gorton became the first prime minister to assume the nation’s leadership from the Senate. A centralist who alienated coalition State Premiers, Gorton’s private life was often in the headlines, but he will be remembered for his economic nationalism, support of Australia’s fledgling film industry, and for the spectacular manner of his departure from the prime ministership.

A World War II pilot, Gorton’s face was disfigured in combat. His ‘craggy’ features later became part of his appeal. Gorton came to public prominence during the ‘VIP Planes Affair’ when he tabled travel records in the Senate and rescued the government from a lingering crisis.

He became prime minister in January 1968, after Harold Holt disappeared in the Portsea surf. The Country Party leader, John McEwen, vetoed the election of William McMahon as prime minister, paving the way for Gorton to defeat the establishment candidate, Paul Hasluck. He moved to the House of Representatives as the new member for Holt’s electorate of Higgins, now held by Peter Costello. [Read more…]


John Howard Comments On Death Of Sir William McMahon

Sir William McMahon, Australia’s 20th Prime Minister, died on March 31, 1988, at the age of 80.

McMahon served as the Liberal member for Lowe between 1949 and 1982. He was a long-serving minister, having assumed office under Robert Menzies in 1951. He was Treasurer in the governments of Harold Holt (1966-67) and John Gorton (1968-69). He was Minister for Foreign Affairs under Gorton (1969-71). He replaced Gorton as prime minister in March 1971.

McMahon was defeated by Gough Whitlam and the ALP in 1972, ending 23 years of coalition government. [Read more…]


The Death Of Sir Robert Menzies

Sir Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, died on May 15, 1978, at the age of 83.

Menzies served two non-consecutive terms as Prime Minister, for a total of 18 years, 5 months and 12 days. [Read more…]


Snedden, McMahon, Whitlam And Gair On The Campaign Trail

The 1972 Federal Election brought to an end 23 years of Liberal-Country Party government that began with Robert Menzies in 1949.

This 22-minute compilation contains radio segments broadcast on the ABC’s “PM” program on November 27, 28 & 29, 1972. [Read more…]


A Political Speech From David Frost

This is a clip of the British entertainer and interviewer, David Frost, satirising political speeches.

I can’t date the recording precisely but it was sometime in 1972, just prior to the Australian federal election that ended 23 years of coalition government. [Read more…]


Sir Robert Menzies Announces His Retirement After 16 Years As Prime Minister

Sir Robert Menzies announced his retirement on January 20, 1966, after 16 years as Prime Minister.

Menzies made his announcement to the party-room at 11.21am. Shortly after midday, Harold Holt was elected unopposed as the new leader of the Liberal Party. William McMahon was elected deputy leader.

Menzies saw the Governor-General, Lord Casey, and tendered his resignation, at 4pm. Casey served as a minister under Menzies as Richard Casey between 1939-40 and 1949-60.

At 8pm, Menzies held a press conference in Parliament House. A video extract appears below. [Read more…]