Can You Help?

This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


Become a Patron!


Saturday Trivia: December 10 Most Popular Day for Elections

Today is the anniversary of three Australian federal elections held in 1949, 1955 and 1977.

Robert MenziesDecember 10 is the single most popular day for federal elections, whilst December has been the most popular month. Twelve of the forty-three elections since Federation have been held in December: 1903, 1906, 1919, 1922, 1931, 1949, 1955, 1961, 1972, 1975, 1977 and 1984.

On December 10, 1949, Robert Menzies took the Liberal Party to its first election victory, in coalition with the Country Party. The election ushered in 23 years of continuous coalition rule, not broken until Gough Whitlam and the Labor Party won in 1972.

Menzies also won the second election to be held on December 10. In 1955, he called an early election to capitalise on the split in the ALP and won an easy victory. He was nearly defeated six years later when he held an election on December 9, 1961, but remained in office until he voluntarily retired in 1966, after 16 continuous years as prime minister.

The other December 10 election was held in 1977. Malcolm Fraser’s coalition government was resoundingly re-elected, just two years after its landslide victory in 1975.

Two days before Fraser’s re-election, Sir Zelman Cowen was sworn in as Australia’s 19th Governor-General, replacing Sir John Kerr. Sir Zelman died last Thursday night, 34 years to the day after taking up the vice-regal position.


Sir Zelman Cowen, Governor-General After Kerr, Dies, 92

Sir Zelman Cowen, 1919-2011Sir Zelman Cowen, Australia’s 19th Governor-General, appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1977, has died, aged 92.

Sir Zelman died last night, on the 34th anniversary of his swearing-in as Governor-General.

He held the position from 1977 until July, 1982.

Appointed to succeed Sir John Kerr, the man who dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975, Sir Zelman is credited with restoring confidence in the position of Governor-General. “Confidence in the office needed to be restored,” said Malcolm Fraser.

Fraser was the only prime minister during Sir Zelman’s time as Governor-General.

A TRIBUTE TO SIR ZELMAN FROM FORMER PRIME MINISTER MALCOLM FRASER

Zelman Cowen contributed to Australia as a lawyer, an academic, administrator and governor-general.

He accepted the role of governor-general at a difficult time. Confidence in the office needed to be restored. [Read more…]


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…]