Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
April 02nd 2013 print

J.B. Paul

The Downfall of Gough Whitlam (Part II)

Professor Jenny Hocking’s treatment of the 1975 constitutional crisis again demonstrates the extent to which she has enmeshed herself in Whitlamite doctrine. She accepts without question Whitlam’s claim that as a matter of principle he was doing no more than asserting the House’s prerogatives as the only legitimate maker and unmaker of governments. She seems blind to the fact that the Senate, which the Opposition controlled, in exercising its power in 1975 to deny Supply to a government with a House majority, illustrated among other things just how the Labor Party’s chickens had come home to roost.

Those who drafted our Constitution fully appreciated the ambit of the Senate’s power, as enshrined in Section 53, to reject or to fail to pass money bills including appropriation bills. That the Senate should have been so empowered was a concession to the smaller colonies without which there would have been no agreement among the six colonies to federate. I could quote statements in the Convention Debates of Sir Samuel Griffith, the High Court’s first Chief Justice, Sir Edmund Barton, our first Prime Minister, who joined Griffith on the High Court in 1903, Richard O’Connor, also appointed to the High Court in 1903, Alfred Deakin and Sir George Reid, both future Prime Ministers, and Sir George Turner, the first Commonwealth Treasurer, who all acknowledged that the Senate’s omission to pass an appropriation bill would oblige an administration to resign or to advise a dissolution. But I am content to single out Sir Isaac Isaacs, a future Commonwealth Attorney-General, High Court Justice and Chief Justice, and Governor-General: 

The House of Representatives is to be subject to dissolution. Why is that so? Suppose the two Houses come into conflict, and the main thing they are likely to come into conflict about is finance, what is the only remedy? Dissolution—an appeal to the whole people.

From the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia the Labour Party more than any other party saw the potential for exploiting the Senate for its own purposes. As Professor Sir Harrison Moore recounted in 1910:

The experience of the first eight years of the Commonwealth shows that the character of the Senate in the working Constitution is determined more by its popular basis than by its position as a House of the States or, in spite of its permanence as a body and the longer term of its members, as a second Chamber. Very far from being a “drag on the wheel”—the conventional role for an Upper House—the Senate has been more “radical”, “progressive”, or “socialistic”—readers will choose their own epithet according to their political sympathies—than the House of Representatives.

As yet this has not been attended by any real attack upon the doctrine of responsibility of Ministries to the House, though on more than one occasion the Ministry has been compelled to accept important amendments in their legislation at the instance of the Labour Party, which has been stronger in the Senate than in the House.

Moore, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Melbourne since 1892, had been very active in an advisory capacity at the 1897–98 Convention. He emphasised in words which Sir Samuel Griffith and the Founding Fathers would have comprehended that

a check upon the Ministry and the Lower House lies in the fact that the Upper House might in an extreme case refuse to pass the Appropriation Bill, and thereby force a dissolution or a change of Ministry. These are the conditions recognized by the Constitution. It marks the province of the Senate in financial matters, and prevents the House of Representatives from taking a course which might justify the Senate in rejecting an Appropriation Bill.

Moore also recognised that the Senate’s power to refuse Supply was, in Alfred Deakin’s words, “absolute”, “given without qualification”, and that the circumstances justifying its use were for senators themselves to determine.

From 1910 to 1946 inclusive—with the solitary exception of the 1913 election—the combination of what was effectively a two-party system with the electoral arrangements then in force for both Houses resulted in governments obtaining majorities in both Houses at conjoint elections for the House and half the Senate. The first double-dissolution election was called in 1914 because of the obstructive conduct of a Senate that Labor dominated from the 1913 election.

This charmed run of Senates dominated by governments—excepting 1916–17 when the Labor Party split and lost office and 1929–31 and 1941–44 when Labor gained office before the Parliament had expired—was changed wondrously by legislation the Chifley government passed through both Houses in 1948 which enlarged the Senate and changed its voting system to proportional representation. When campaigning in the double-dissolution election of 1951 which an intransigent Labor-dominated Senate had precipitated, Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister, declared that Labor “when in office and anticipating defeat, put through legislation which was cunningly designed to guarantee that even if Labor lost the general election of December 1949, it would still have a majority in the Senate”. This Labor-dominated Senate between 1949 and 1951 showed a marked determination to frustrate the Menzies–Fadden government as much as possible; but the Labor Party and senators miscalculated over a Banking Bill and found themselves forced into contesting a double dissolution.

The 1951 double-dissolution election gave the Menzies government majorities in both Houses but the half-Senate election in 1953 threatened its Senate majority. Menzies openly acknowledged that losing this majority could imperil his administration. This projection attracted newspaper articles and editorial comment, especially in the Sydney Morning Herald and even in the Times of London. As Professor Don Markwell disclosed, the British High Commissioner, Sir Stephen Holmes, reported the following to the Commonwealth Relations Office respecting Dr H.V. Evatt, the Leader of the Opposition, and his deputy, Arthur Calwell:

If the outcome of the elections is a deadlocked Senate, it is not beyond possibility that the Federal Government may be brought down this year … [It] would be possible for the Labour Party in the Upper House to withhold Supply from the Government, or at any rate seriously to delay its provision … Dr Evatt wishes to leave himself freedom on [sic] action, and has said that Labour will “examine the situation and act with responsibility”. Mr Calwell, however, has flatly stated that “we will be in power for the Royal Visit”.

No authority questioned Calwell’s boast that, by denying Supply in the Senate, Labor could force the unpopular Menzies government to a House election which it was certain to lose and that Labor would thereby regain office in time to play host to the Queen early in 1954 on the first visit to Australia by a reigning monarch. Such an expectation was disappointed when the Menzies government narrowly retained its majority at the half-Senate election on May 9. Menzies and Dr Evatt then departed for London to attend the Coronation on June 2. The Labor Party has consistently failed to obtain a Senate majority in its own right since 1951 because the perceived short-term advantage it successfully gained—by enlarging the Senate and changing its voting system in 1948—has emerged over the years as its long-term nemesis. A grim enough example of poetic justice!

Senator Lionel Murphy, Labor’s Opposition Senate Leader from early 1967, made a significant statement in the Senate on May 12 that year on that chamber’s powers and on Labor’s willingness to exploit them. He was in no way inhibited by the fact that little more than six months had elapsed since the Holt–McEwen Coalition government had been returned to office in a landslide. Murphy discussed Section 53 in great detail and his interpretation accorded with the Founding Fathers’ understanding of it and was to be supported by statements on this very subject in September 1975 in the judgments of Barwick CJ, Gibbs, Stephen and Mason JJ in Victoria v The Commonwealth (the PMA Case).

In the debate in the Senate on September 27 on the 1967–68 budget, Murphy took issue with the Democratic Labor Party senators on an amendment they proposed to move to an amendment he had moved. He then made it clear that if the Senate carried his amendment alone there would need to be an election for the House of Representatives although less than twelve months earlier his party had been resoundingly defeated in such an election. On June 18, 1970, Murphy restated the Senate’s entitlement “to exercise resolutely but with discretion its power to refuse its concurrence to any financial measure, including a tax Bill” and justified Labor’s consistency in opposing “in the Senate any tax or money Bill or other financial measure whenever necessary to carry out our principles and policies”. As Sir David Smith declared at the 1998 Constitutional Convention:

At the end of his speech Senator Murphy tabled a list of 169 occasions when Labor Oppositions had attempted to force Coalition Governments to early elections by defeating Money Bills in the Senate. Two months later, in August 1970, the Labor Opposition launched its 170th attempt since 1950.

This 170th attempt was the deliberate assault in the Senate on the Gorton government’s budget. The statements on this budget—and on the consequences of its defeat in the Senate—of Gough Whitlam (August 25) and Senator Murphy (August 26) have been quoted so often that there is little point rehearsing them here, however consistently they have been ignored by Labor partisans in academe and the media. But what Labor’s Deputy Leader, Senator Don Willesee, had to say on August 26 has received less attention—although his statement was fully consistent with the statements of Whitlam and Murphy:

we are giving everybody a chance to reply … to this Budget … The Australian Labor Party [is] … asking this Parliament to reject the Budget completely and to go to [the] people … and to let them reply.

In her first volume on Gough Whitlam, Hocking quoted in part from his declaration in the House of Representatives of his party’s intentions respecting the Gorton government’s budget and acknowledged, in contradistinction to the line she has taken in her second volume, that

as a statement of principle it contradicted Whitlam’s long-held belief in the supremacy of the Lower House, the people’s house, as the repository of effective democratic power and the only place where popular governments can be made—and unmade. A later statement from Whitlam to the House over the same Budget Bill—“We all know that in British parliaments the tradition is that if a money Bill is defeated the government goes to the people to seek their endorsement of its policies”—only reinforced this shift in rhetoric, reflecting the resurgence and determined activism of all parties in the Senate.[Emphasis added]

Whitlam’s statement quoted by Hocking did not in fact refer to the Budget Bill of 1970—which Labor senators did not defeat despite openly urging the DLP senators to give them the required numbers to do so—but to the receipts duties legislation to which he spoke on June 12, 1970, and again on October 1, after it had been defeated in the Senate. Until then the ALP had displayed this “determined activism … in the Senate”—Hocking’s expression—more consistently than any other party. Hocking had, however, gone part of the way in confronting Whitlam’s conduct at that time but she still tended to take a leaf from Paul Kelly’s book on the 1975 crisis in writing of Whitlam’s posture then as “a shift in rhetoric”. The weasel expression Kelly employed was to dismiss the totality of Whitlam’s statements as no more than “political rhetoric” despite the fact that they were made in debates on which the party line had been authorised by the Labor Caucus. But one must be thankful for small mercies, for her biography of Murphy is devoid of even the most oblique allusion to his statements as Opposition Leader in the Senate concerning the Senate’s powers and the ALP’s approach to them. Hocking in this volume has also totally ignored Murphy’s statements on Section 53 and has confusingly flirted with Sir Richard Eggleston’s flawed interpretation of that section which Murphy could never have countenanced if he had remained consistent. In 1975 Eggleston launched this trial balloon in a letter to the Age on October 27 and kept it airborne in another letter on December 5; but that trial balloon, having been in the ascendant for a time, subsequently disappeared without trace.

In his recently published biography of Sir John Carrick, Dr Graeme Starr placed the 1970 half-Senate election in context:

The main concern of the Coalition parties in the campaign was that voters might use a half-Senate election to cast a “protest” vote against the government. Gorton’s main theme was that such a vote could give Labor the numbers in the Senate and the capacity to block supply and other legislation. Labor’s leaders, Whitlam in the House of Representatives and Murphy in the Senate, lent credibility in this case, making it clear that they would not hesitate to use this power and that they had in fact attempted to do so in 1970. As Gorton stressed in his campaign broadcasts and public meetings:

“it is possible that this election could result in Labor’s gaining a blocking half in the Senate. If that happened … it would have the power to obstruct, frustrate and delay all the processes of government. It could refuse supply, or defeat a budget.”

As with Calwell’s threat in 1953, so with this threat in 1970! No authority contested the claim that the Gorton government could be forced to a premature House election by being refused Supply by a Labor-dominated Senate. But as with the half-Senate election in 1953, so with half-Senate election in 1970: Labor did not succeed in gaining control of the Upper House.

Whitlam did not deviate from his statements while Opposition Leader when he took office in December 1972. And these statements as Prime Minister were numerous! Sir John Kerr recorded, and Whitlam has never denied, that at a meeting at Admiralty House as late as August 25, 1975, “the Prime Minister said to me that an election could occur early in December if Supply were denied”. Apart from the circumstances surrounding the 1953 Senate election, Sir John itemised most of the instances I have cited and others in an article published in the Bulletin on September 3, 1985. Included in Kerr’s listing were Whitlam’s opening speech in the campaign for the 1970 half-Senate election and his letter in April 1974 seeking a double dissolution after the Senate had made it clear that Supply would be denied to force a House election. Kerr also pointed out that before September 1975 there were other occasions as well as that statement of August 25 when Whitlam had acknowledged that a denial of Supply by the Senate could result in a general election. When speaking, however, at the opening of a College of Advanced Education at Goulburn on September 11, Whitlam spectacularly reversed himself.

As Sir John Kerr recorded in his autobiography:

By 12 September I had come to the tentative conclusion that the Prime Minister believed that if forced to a general election on the Budget the loss for his party would be great, with a possibility that the Opposition would end up in control of both Houses. I did not think he was in a mood to go quietly to an election.

On the morning of 12 September the press carried a story to the effect that Mr Whitlam was going to “tough it out”; that his attitude was: only the House had the political right to decide about the Budget; if the Senate refused to pass it, the Prime Minister would not accept that as a ground for coming to me for a dissolution of the House of Representatives or a double dissolution, he would simply say that the responsibility for funds running out must be borne by the Opposition. He would send the Budget back to the Senate and if necessary would do so again and force them to block supply more than once. Then there would be a battle in the country about who was responsible for the ensuing mess. So the theory ran.

When the Senate first deferred consideration of the Appropriation Bills, Whitlam declared his intention on October 16 to act in accordance with his “Goulburn doctrine”, as Kerr termed it, and consistently applied it even after the Senate had voted to defer those bills a second and a third time. In so acting Whitlam could find no precedent to justify his change of front, for all his bluster and bombast then and later. Herewith I quote a statement by Sir Garfield Barwick which I have embellished with my own words in roman:

… until 1975 no Prime Minister in any Westminster system, including the United Kingdom, had ever failed to resign or advise a dissolution if unable to secure Supply when either course by facilitating the securing of Supply could have avoided any breach of constitutional principle or any inducement to illegal conduct.

The precedents for an administration seeking a dissolution on being denied Supply by an Upper House are numerous and not confined to Whitlam’s own conduct in seeking a double dissolution in 1974. When the House of Lords—its membership then being part-nominated with newly created peers but overwhelmingly dominated by hereditary peers—deferred consideration of the Asquith government’s Finance Bill on November 30, 1909, Herbert Henry Asquith as Prime Minister obtained a dissolution of Parliament from King Edward VII within three days of the House of Lords’ vote. In the Commons on December 2 he spoke of

the course—the only course—which, in the circumstances, it is open to the Government, without either breaking the law or sacrificing constitutional principle, to pursue. That course is to advise, as we have advised the Crown, to dissolve this Parliament at the earliest possible moment. His Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept that advice.

Roy Jenkins in his biography of Asquith emphasised that same point:

A dissolution was of course inevitable once the Lords had performed the act of rejection. There was no dispute in the Cabinet about this. The legislature had refused Supply, and in these circumstances no Government could carry on.

And to my knowledge no reputable constitutional authority has ever contested this!

In 1947 and 1952 the Victorian Legislative Council promptly forced an election of the Legislative Assembly by denying Supply and in 1948 the Tasmanian Upper House no less promptly forced a dissolution of the Lower House by that same device. In Victoria in 1952 the Lower House election was forced when the Labor Party with the largest number of Legislative Councillors joined with some dissident Liberals to form a majority and denied Supply to the McDonald Country Party government. And Hocking should have been aware of these precedents from consulting Sir John Kerr’s autobiography wherein he discussed them at length. In 1947 the Victorian Legislative Council still had a limited franchise based on a property qualification. Contrast the Lords in 1909 and the Victorian Upper House in 1947 with the Senate as it is! To quote Lionel Murphy on May 12, 1967:

We in the Senate are democratically elected by the people of the States. If we consider it to be in the public interest that a measure be rejected, who gave us the right to refrain from doing so under some pretended notion that the Senate cannot reject a tax or money Bill.

In his audacious attempt to intimidate the Opposition senators into passing the Appropriation Bills, Whitlam strove so to sabotage the Senate’s power respecting Supply that it would never be activated again. He was therefore deliberately attempting de facto to change the Constitution drastically without having it formally amended de jure by referendum according to Section 128. Sir John Kerr was correct in interpreting this conduct as an attempt to subvert the Constitution. This conduct thereupon divested Whitlam of any legitimacy he might have claimed for himself as Prime Minister prior to October 15–16, 1975. The Governor-General in wrestling with this problem was accordingly not obliged to rely exclusively on Whitlam’s advice as a Prime Minister who had been denied Supply but had consistently refused to follow well-established precedent and advise a dissolution. On the contrary the Governor-General was fully entitled to exercise his discretion in seeking advice as to his options from other sources.

Hocking in her inability to acknowledge this unprecedented state of affairs has consistently been highly critical of Sir John’s actions, although Whitlam’s conduct respecting the Governor-General—no less than his approach to the Opposition senators—amounted to attempts at intimidating him while he as Prime Minister was still being denied Supply. With the Opposition senators Whitlam’s calculation was that the public would blame them for the ensuing chaos through the government’s inability to meet its financial obligations and honour its contracts. In short Whitlam was prepared to make hostages of those whose salaries the government was committed to pay and those with whom the government had contracted. Whitlam, although denied Supply, sought to intimidate the Governor-General with the threat of having him recalled if he seemed to be bracing himself not to do Whitlam’s bidding. Let us speculate on what might have occurred if Labor had gained control of the Senate in 1953 and in 1970 as it hoped to do in half-Senate elections in those years. While it is inconceivable that Menzies and Gorton as Prime Ministers denied Supply by the Senate would have conducted themselves as Whitlam did in 1975, one can imagine the outcry from all sides if they had so conducted themselves.

Hocking claims that on November 6 the Attorney-General, Kep Enderby,

presented Kerr with a joint opinion from himself and the solicitor-general, Maurice Byers, on the deadlock and the constitutional position in the Senate. This was the government’s senior legal officers’ response to the “Ellicott thesis” [which was] now refuted by the Commonwealth Solicitor-General and Attorney-General. 

This statement is erroneous because the so-called Joint Opinion Enderby presented, which was dated November 4, was signed only by Byers, as Hocking should surely have been aware. Enderby in Kerr’s presence declined to add his signature, claiming that he did not fully agree with the contents of that “Opinion”. Characteristically he based his misgivings on all the wrong reasons. He then scored out Byers’s signature and placed the word “Draft” before the heading “Joint Opinion”. For reasons Kerr gave in his autobiography he refused to treat that document as the Joint Opinion he had sought as early as October 21. Such a document as refashioned by Enderby was valueless. Even if Byers’s views were represented in that document, it was as a whole so unconvincing and wrongheaded—indeed so intellectually dishonest—that I find it incredible, as Kerr might well have done, that he could have put his signature to it without dissolving into a mirthful heap.

The so-called Joint Opinion, which Kerr had sought on October 30, on the legality of the alternative financial proposals—these being a deliberate device to bypass the Parliament—was also unsigned by Enderby; but significantly even Byers recoiled from signing it. As with the response to the “Ellicott thesis”, Enderby also wrote the word “Draft” in front of the heading “Joint Opinion”. This was the quality of the “advice” given Sir John Kerr in the name of the Whitlam government on the same day that the Senate voted to defer the Appropriation Bills a third time!

But what of the advice the Whitlam government was receiving up to that time! I shall cite but one example from Hocking’s account. The Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Clarence Harders, was described by Hocking as a “career public servant with an untroubled commitment to established procedure, official channels and institutional propriety”. This assessment is belied by Hocking’s account of a proposal from Harders of

a typically ingenious suggestion … of breathtaking simplicity and with the potential to stymie the Opposition’s plans [which] would have ensured that control over the passage of the Appropriation Bills remained with the House of Representatives rather than as it now stood, with the Senate. Harders proposed the simple mechanism of an additional provision in the Appropriation Bills, so that after their passage through the Senate, the funds appropriated would also have to be approved by the House of Representatives.

And she then goes on to elaborate on this “typically ingenious suggestion” which involved not only Harders but also officials of his department. Whitlam backed this proposal but could not obtain the support of Caucus because of the strongly worded opposition from Senators Wheeldon, Wriedt and James McClelland, all of them key ministers. What Hocking seems unable to appreciate is that this proposal involved nothing less than a deliberate sabotaging of the legislative process.

There was a revival of interest in the 1975 constitutional crisis in late August and early September 2012 when outlets of Fairfax media published extracts from the volume under review. This publicity concentrated on the role of Sir Anthony Mason, a Justice of the High Court from 1972 and Chief Justice from 1987 until his retirement in 1995, in giving advice to the Governor-General up to the time Sir John Kerr decided to dismiss Gough Whitlam. There was no great novelty in this for it has been publicly known since 1995 that Sir Anthony, as well as Sir Garfield Barwick as Chief Justice, had been involved to a degree in advising the Governor-General. And I would contend that in the circumstances surrounding the Senate’s repeated denial of Supply in October–November 1975—and in the anticipation of the same—there was no impropriety in Sir John’s request for such advice nor was there any impropriety on the part of those eminent jurists who gave it.

Hocking, it must be conceded, has achieved something of a scoop in uncovering Sir John Kerr’s private papers which have been lodged with the National Archives. I must admit that I have not seen them, but I am moved to wonder whether Hocking has assessed them with that scruple one would expect of a genuine scholar. I say this because there are so many examples—and I have uncovered some of them—where she has so obviously misread those texts that she has attempted to interpret. Sir Anthony dealt with these discussions with Sir John in a statement of his own published in Fairfax media. Those papers also ran some highly critical comment on these, much of it bilious. And so did Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of the Australian, and Troy Bramston, a columnist of that paper and a one-time staffer of Kevin Rudd when Prime Minister. They excelled themselves in attempting to stir up ill-informed disaffection in the interests of maintaining the rage.

I shall conclude this review article with some significant quotations which have stood the test of time.

A paper entitled “Thoughts on the Constitutional Crisis”, delivered to a seminar at the Australian National University by Professor R.S. (Robert) Parker three days after Whitlam’s dismissal, reads well even now. It demonstrates that its author was able to keep his head when all about him seemed to be losing theirs. Parker made the following unarguable point:

One of the most viable conventions of parliamentary government is that a government without Supply should resign, and it is viable—that is, more enforceable than most—because under our system a government cannot govern without Supply and stay within the law; it cannot govern without Supply if it is to protect the community from economic chaos—and that is one of the first duties of any government. This is equally true whether the first Chamber or second Chamber withholds Supply—under constitutions where it is legally necessary that both Houses must take part in granting Supply. On this point the Governor-General’s logic is plain and impeccable.
 [Emphasis added]

The other option open to a government denied Supply which Parker did not mention is to seek a dissolution of the Lower House at least. The reference to protecting the community from economic chaos is pertinent. The responsibility for such protection rests on the government denied Supply and not on those denying it.

There are other matters to which I can only refer in passing which guided Sir John in his dealings with Whitlam as Prime Minister. The cumulative effect on him of the loans affair, of his exchanges with Whitlam on October 16 and 18, of Frank Stewart’s confided misgivings on October 20 concerning Rex Connor’s dismissal, and his own misgivings concerning Whitlam’s grossly unjust dismissal of W.T. (Bill) Robertson as Director of ASIS on October 21, cannot be exaggerated when assessing his conclusions as to Whitlam’s likely reaction to any vice-regal advice respecting Supply which conflicted with his own settled strategy.

My withers are therefore unwrung in absolving Sir John Kerr of any blame for having exacerbated the constitutional crisis by his actions. Even Professor Geoffrey Sawer, who was critical of Kerr on some points, was prepared to show some understanding of his predicament. In reviewing Kerr’s autobiography, which was published after he had published his critical observations in Federation under Strain, Sawer acknowledged:

In 1975, Sir John convinced himself, by himself, as to the course he must follow in the public interest, and proceeded to carry his plan though with notable skill and courage. He remains completely convinced that he was right.

Even in Federation under Strain, Sawer had felt moved to say of Sir John that

he acted only because of the crisis and in order to end it; his action was not self-seeking or capricious, but was guided by rational advice which he was entitled to regard as appropriate in the circumstances, and which had the sole effect of leaving a final decision to the electorate. The propaganda attempts to make him appear as some monster carrying out a coup d’état are ludicrous.

The next and last statement is notable in that it was made by one of the members of the Labor Caucus who urged Whitlam to respond to the denial of Supply by advising a dissolution, the other option being to resign. He was Senator John Wheeldon, a government minister, who numbered himself among those whom even Hocking is prepared to acknowledge as comprising more than a third of the Caucus who urged this course on Whitlam. In a newspaper article published in November 1990, Wheeldon admitted that Sir John Kerr “had to deal with a situation that few constitutional heads of State have had inflicted on them”. My only quibble with that is that Wheeldon seemed unable to identify any other heads of state placed in that position. Then with the full weight of constitutional history behind him, he added:

Some conventions of the Westminster system are more essential than others. The convention that a Government which is not able to carry its Budget through Parliament should resign is one of the conventions vital to the survival of a parliamentary democracy …

And as a former minister in the Whitlam government he declared for good measure:

Any Government functioning under a Westminster system that tries to hold on to office without having its Budget accepted by Parliament for as long as we did ought to be dismissed.

In conclusion I would contend that an identity as colourful and as wilful as Edward Gough Whitlam deserves a biography—but one guided by the imperative:

Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice.

Such a biography would need to be of a very different character from this one!

The first part of this extended review-article appeared in the March issue. John Paul derived a great deal of benefit in completing this article from research he has conducted for a work-in-progress on the 1975 crisis and much else.