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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. [Read more…]


Malcolm Fraser’s Resignation Speech: “Disloyalty Intolerable And Not To Be Endured”

The Minister for Defence, Malcolm Fraser, resigned from Prime Minister John Gorton’s Cabinet on March 8, 1971.

FraserThe following day, Fraser explained his resignation to the House of Representatives. In his speech, he accused Gorton of disloyalty that was “intolerable and not to be endured”.

Fraser said of Gorton: “The Prime Minister, because of his unreasoned drive to get his own way, his obstinacy, impetuous and emotional reactions, has imposed strains upon the Liberal Party, the Government and the Public Service. I do not believe he is fit to hold the great office of Prime Minister, and I cannot serve in his Government.”

The next day, March 10, 1971, the Liberal Party held a leadership ballot. Gorton was challenged by his Foreign Minister, William McMahon. The vote was tied and Gorton surrendered the leadership to McMahon. In a remarkable development, Gorton was then elected deputy leader to McMahon and became Defence Minister until he was sacked later in the year.

Fraser returned to the Cabinet as Minister for Education and Science in August 1971. He became leader of the Liberal Party in March 1975 and became Prime Minister on November 11, 1975, following the dismissal of the Whitlam government.

Text of Malcolm Fraser’s speech to the House of Representatives.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon)– Mr Speaker, I take it from what has been said by the mover of this motion that there is no need for me to ask for the leave of the House to make a statement concerning recent Press reports and concerning the office I held as Minister of State for Defence. I was surprised to learn on the morning of Tuesday, 2nd March, that a story had appeared in the Sydney ‘Daily Telegraph’ alleging principally that the Joint Intelligence Organisation had been ordered to report to me on Australian Army activities in Vietnam because I did not trust Army reports. Immediately I reached Canberra, on my own initiative and not at the direction of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), I drafted a reply denying the report and pointing out the function of the Joint Intelligence Organisation. I emphasised that JIO is not an intelligence gathering organisation. It assesses information given to it by the Services in Vietnam, principally by the Army, by the Department of Foreign Affairs and by South Vietnamese Government agencies. It has no officer or office in Vietnam. [Read more…]