Image for ‘The Palace, the Governor-General and the Dismissal of the Whitlam government ...’

*Pic: Before the constitutional storm ... Gough Whitlam hands back land to Vincent Lingiari, all those years ago ...

Contrary to the accepted story that the Queen was not involved in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975, it is now clear that the Palace had a significant role in the process. Those involved, in Australia and in Britain, kept this involvement hidden from the Australian people in a process of collusion, deception and artifice.

The recent revelation of British involvement in the dismissal of the Whitlam government demolishes some long-standing historical ‘truths’, notably that the Queen was not involved. Despite repeated public and parliamentary denials, it is now clear that British authorities pressed Kerr in person and through intermediaries on his ‘duty’ to protect the Queen, in a staggering breach of Australian sovereignty.

The dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, on 11 November 1975 was the culmination of months of political subterfuge, planned in secrecy and executed in deception. It created a deeply polarised history, marked as much by myth as fact, and rent by the same divisions as the dismissal itself. In the 42 years since, even its most basic facts that were once considered settled, have proved to be false.

Kerr always claimed that he acted alone, that the Palace did not know, that the Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser did not know, that this was a solo act taken in solitude. As he wrote in his memoirs: ‘I made up my mind on my own part’.

Kerr’s own archival papers have shown that this was simply untrue. In the months before the dismissal, Kerr confided in members of the High Court, legal academics, the Opposition and Prince Charles, drawing them into his thinking and planning, and creating a web of support for his action at the most senior levels …

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