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1980 Cabinet Papers Released

The 1980 Cabinet Papers of the Fraser Government have been released by the National Archives of Australia.

The Liberal/National Party coalition government was in its fifth year in office. It won its third and final election on October 18.

The Fourth Fraser Ministry after being sworn in by the Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowan

The Cabinet papers are released under the 30-year-rule. This has now been reduced to 20 years, to be phased in over the next ten years with two years of documents to be released each year. Because of the workload involved in the releases, Cabinet documents from 1981 will be released periodically during 2011. [Read more…]


Petro Georgiou: Valedictory Speech

This is the valedictory speech by Petro Georgiou, Liberal member for Kooyong, in the House of Representatives.

Georgiou won Kooyong in a by-election on November 19, 1994, succeeding Andrew Peacock. He retired at the 2010 election and was replaced by Josh Frydenberg.

Hansard transcript of Petro Georgiou’s valedictory speech to the House of Representatives.

GeorgiouMr Speaker I was in the Chamber to hear Kim Beazley’s brilliant valedictory. One of the distinctive things he did was to thank people at the beginning, rather than the end of the speech. Expressions of gratitude are too often truncated by time constraints, so I’m going to emulate Kim’s example.

One of the nice things about growing older, at least in my case, is that the black list shrinks, while the white list of debts that cannot be repaid grows. I want to thank my mother Anastasia and my late father Constandino Georgiou for their enormous affection and commitment to their children despite the pressures and anxieties of migration. I want to thank my children Constandino and Alexia, who while still very young felt the impact of my involvement in politics. They are in the gallery today. They are admirable young people. [Read more…]


Political Quotations – Set 2

  1. Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers. – Mignon McLaughlin, author.
  2. When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. – Confucius (551-479 BC).
  3. At the end of a long and probably very boring meal (at a formal dinner), (British Prime Minister) Macmillan turned to Madame de Gaulle and asked politely what she was looking forward to in her retirement. Quick as a flash the elderly lady replied: “A penis.” Macmillan had been trained all his life never to appear shocked, but even he was a bit taken aback. After drawling out a series of polite platitudes, – “Well, I can see your point of view, don’t have much time for that sort of thing nowadays” – it gradually dawned on him to his intense relief that what the old girl had actually said was “happiness.” – Paul Foot, in the essay A New Definition: The Quality of Life, British Medical Journal, VOLUME 321, DECEMBER 2000.
  4. The moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life — the children; the twilight of life — the elderly; and the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped. – Hubert Humphrey, Vice-President of the United States 1965-69.
  5. When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you middle class perverts stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon? – Kim Beazley Snr to an ALP State Conference, circa 1970.
  6. [Read more…]


Whitlam-Fraser Call For Strengthening Of Ministerial Accountability

Two former Australian prime ministers, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, have called for the modernisation of the principle of ministerial accountability.

In a letter published in the Herald-Sun, Fraser and Whitlam say that "no matter how grave their failings may be, ministers no longer resign".

Whitlam was prime minister from 1972-75 and Fraser from 1975-83. Both men experienced a number of spectacular resignations and sackings from their ministries.

They have called for a comprehensive review of ministerial accountability, arguing that "this principle is the bedrock of responsible government". [Read more…]


1975 Cabinet Papers Released

The National Archives of Australia has tonight released Cabinet documents from 1975.

The documents cover the period of the Second Whitlam Government until its dismissal on November 11, 1975, and the First and Second Fraser Governments from November 11 and December 22. [Read more…]


Sir Rupert Hamer, Former Victorian Premier, Genuine Liberal, Dies, 87

Sir Rupert Hamer, Premier of Victoria from 1972 until 1981, died at his home in Melbourne on March 23, 2004.

HamerA major condolence debate took place in the Victorian Legislative Assembly this week.

Extraordinarily, only one member of the House of Representatives, Petro Georgiou, the member for Kooyong, rose to pay tribute to one of the great Liberal figures of the past half-century.

In the Senate, an Australian Democrat, Lyn Allison, moved a condolence motion that was passed without debate.

It is difficult to imagine the Howard government adopting such a stance if the deceased Premier had been a right-winger of the ilk of Henry Bolte. This theme was explored by Alan Ramsey of the Sydney Morning Herald. [Read more…]


John Gorton Memorial Service; Howard Speaks, Hughes Excoriates Fraser

This is audio from the memorial service held for the former Prime Minister, Sir John Gorton.

Gorton died on May 19, 2002, at the age of 90.

The first clip features Prime Minister John Howard.

The second clip is from barrister Tom Hughes, who served as Gorton’s Attorney-General from 1969 until 1971. It contains an excoriating attack on former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, the man who resigned as Gorton’s Defence Minister in March 1971, precipitating Gorton’s downfall. [Read more…]


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…]


Malcolm Fraser: The Past We Need To Understand

This is the full text of the Fifth Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, presented by Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister of Australia.

Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, by Malcolm Fraser.

I acknowledge the Larrakia people who are the traditional owners of the land on which this University stands. I thank the representative of the Larrakia people, Mr Bill Risk for the welcome that has been expressed.

I also acknowledge the representatives of the Gurindji people, particularly those who have travelled a considerable distance to be here for this afternoon’s launch of the spectacular banner project which tonight forms the backdrop to this lecture which honours the memory of the great Gurindji elder, Vincent Lingiari.

I also take the opportunity to thank the Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management and the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation for the invitation to deliver this 5th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture and I acknowledge the continuing support of the Northern Territory University for this valuable historical lecture series. [Read more…]


Fraser Attacks Howard Over Reconciliation

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has attacked the Howard Government’s policies on Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Delivering the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture in Darwin, Fraser called for a bill of rights and said the Australian government had failed in its duty of care to the Aborigines involved in the stolen generation case thrown out by the Federal Court earlier this month. [Read more…]