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Peacock Moves Against Howard; Murphy Sentenced

On September 3, 1985, Federal Opposition Leader Andrew Peacock called a special Liberal Party meeting to vote on the deputy leadership.

It was a fateful move. In his attempt to remove his deputy, John Howard, Peacock miscalculated badly. Howard was re-elected, Peacock resigned the leadership and Howard was then elected leader.

The first two video clips show how Channel 9 and the ABC reported the news.

The third clip shows John Howard’s interview with Ray Martin on Channel 9’s A Current Affair. Howard returned at short notice from a snow holiday to defend his position against Peacock.

Later in the evening, Howard also appeared on The Carleton-Walsh Report. This clip contains a rare interview with former Liberal Prime Minister John Gorton and the Liberal member for Denison, Michael Hodgman

On the same day as these events, High Court Justice Lionel Murphy was sentenced to 18 months jail, following his conviction for obstruction of justice. The former Attorney-General in the Whitlam government went on to appeal the conviction. He was retried, acquitted and died in 1986.

  • Watch Channel 9 News (5m)
  • Watch ABC TV News Melbourne (6m)
  • Watch John Howard’s interview with Ray Martin (5m)
  • Watch John Howard, Michael Hodgman & John Gorton on the Carleton-Walsh Report (21m)


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Malcolm Farnsworth
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