Ryan

Curtin, Chifley and Whitlam

The blast of public attention that followed the death of Gough Whitlam established that a moment of national significance had touched Australian consciousness. But what, exactly, had happened? I remain puzzled; it bore such small resemblance to the passing of previous Labor prime ministers, John Curtin and Ben Chifley. Clearly, in the six decades between Chif’s death in 1951 and Gough’s in 2014, a sea change had transformed the Australian population. Tripling in total number was the least of it; Australians had changed from being one of the most homogenous nations in the world, in terms of national, racial, ethnic…

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