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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.


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Sir John Kerr Drunk At The Melbourne Cup

In 1977, the Melbourne Cup, the so-called “race that stops a nation”, was stopped in its tracks by a drunken appearance from the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

Just two years since the dismissal of the Whitlam government on November 11, 1975, Kerr presented the Cup to the connections of Gold and Black. The horse was trained by Bart Cummings and ridden by John Duggan. [Read more…]


Fraser Calls An Early 1977 Federal Election; Whitlam Responds

Malcolm Fraser called an early federal election at the end of 1977, just two years into his first term as prime minister.

FraserFraser’s announcement of the December 10 election was made in the House of Representatives on October 27.

In 1975, Fraser had won the largest majority of any government in Australia’s federal political history. As of 2013, no government has ever gained a larger majority.

However, the 1975 election was a double dissolution in which the terms of senators were backdated to July 1, as prescribed by Section 13 of the Constitution. As a consequence, a half-Senate election had to be held by May 1978, whereas the House election wasn’t required until the end of 1978. Indeed, the House election could have been delayed until early 1979.

Since Senate elections can be held anytime in the 12 months leading up to the expiry of senators’ terms, Fraser chose to hold the Senate election at the end of 1977 and held a House election simultaneously, a year earlier than required. In this way, he avoided separate House and Senate elections. [Read more…]


Sir John Kerr Booed By Crowd In South Australia

This is audio of the reception Governor-General Sir John Kerr received from a crowd in South Australia.

My records failed me on this occasion and I don’t know the precise date. I have dated it August 1 for filing purposes.

This event took place around 18 months after Kerr’s Dismissal of the Whitlam Government on November 11, 1975.

Kerr retired at the end of 1977 and died in 1991.

  • Listen to Kerr and the South Australian crowd

Sir John Kerr Speech Extract

This is a brief extract from a speech given by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, in September 1976.

I cannot date the speech accurately, although my records indicate it was September 1976. The group Kerr was speaking to, and the venue, are not known.

The time was ten months after the Dismissal, at a time when Kerr’s public appearances were beset by protests and jeering.

  • Listen to Kerr (2m)

Sir John Kerr Opens The 30th Parliament

In the wake of the Whitlam Dismissal, Labor members boycotted the Governor-General’s speech opening the 30th Parliament.

Sir John Kerr addressed a half-empty Senate chamber when he read the speech prepared for him by the Fraser government.

  • Listen to Kerr’s speech (8m – first part only)

Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s speech opening the 30th Parliament.

Senators, Members of the House of Representatives:

We assemble at a time when large areas of New South Wales and Queensland are being devastated by severe flooding. It is a terrible experience for those affected and my Government expresses its deepest concern for their plight. The Government is consulting with the States in taking action to ensure that all proper assistance is available. The Natural Disasters Organisation is operating smoothly. [Read more…]


The 1975 Constitutional Crisis: Audio Clips

The constitutional crisis of 1975 ranks as the single most dramatic political event in the history of the Australian federation.

The audio clips on this page represent a sample of events between October 15, 1975 and November 11, 1975. They begin with Liberal Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser’s announcement that the coalition will block Supply in the Senate, and end with the Dismissal of the Whitlam government by Governor-General Sir John Kerr.

These clips also appear on the companion website, WhitlamDismissal.com, but accompanied by more information, documents, analysis and contemporary media coverage. [Read more…]