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Whitlam Steps Down As ALP Leader

Gough Whitlam announced he would step down as leader of the ALP on the night of the 1977 Federal Election.

Counting of votes in the election showed that the ALP had experienced a defeat similar to 1975’s disastrous result.

Whitlam appeared briefly in the Tally Room and announced that when he called the new Caucus together to elect an executive he would not be a candidate for the position of leader.

Whitlam had been leader of the party since February 8, 1967. He had led the party in five federal elections (1969, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977). He was the first ALP leader to win two consecutive elections. He stood down as the longest-serving Labor leader in the party’s history, a record that stands today.

The audio clip below is taken from the ABC’s television coverage on election night. It includes panel discussion with former Whitlam minister Fred Daly.

  • Listen to Whitlam (3m)
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Malcolm Farnsworth
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