Gough Whitlam

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Gough Whitlam in 1962

Gough Whitlam (11 July 191621 October 2014) Australian politician and 21st Prime Minister of Australia (1972–1975).


  • Well may we say "God save the Queen", because nothing will save the Governor-General! The Proclamation which you have just heard read by the Governor-General's Official Secretary was countersigned "Malcolm Fraser," who will undoubtedly go down in Australian history from Remembrance Day 1975 as Kerr's cur. They won't silence the outskirts of Parliament House, even if the inside has been silenced for the next few weeks … Maintain your rage and enthusiasm for the campaign for the election now to be held and until polling day.
    • On hearing the proclamation dismissing him from office, which ended with the previous official wording "God Save the Queen" which had been abolished by his government and unilaterally re-instated by David Smith, the Governor-General's Official Secretary, at that moment - the first of many changes undertaken by the so-called "caretaker" government.[1]
  • We would do absolutely nothing. Now that's a blunt, truthful answer.
    • When asked what a Labor government would do if Indonesia were to invade East Timor, in an interview three days before the invasion. Sydney Morning Herald (5 December 1975)
  • Let me make quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case sir, we should make it retrospective.
    • After being heckled by a voter during a campaign trail.[1][2]
  • If I begin my book with a review of the coup, it is only to show that my abiding interests for Australia did not end with it. They shall end only with a long and fortunate life.
    • Abiding Interests (1997), Foreword
  • He reveals that he has been a poor politician, a bad judge and a malevolent individual.
  • I was profoundly embarrassed by it [the White Australia Policy] and did all I could to change it.
    • Quoted in Paul Kelly, 100 Years – The Australian Story (Allen & Unwin, ABC Books, NSW, 2001), p. 196
  • The punters know that the horse named Morality rarely gets past the post, whereas the nag named Self-interest always runs a good race.
    • Written by Gough Whitlam for the London Daily Telegraph, (19 October 1989). (Andrews, 1993, p. 824)
  • When Sir Winton Turnbull [who represented a large rural seat], a slow and sometimes stumbling speaker, was raving and ranting on the adjournment and shouted: "I am a Count–ry member". I interjected "I remember". Sir Winton could not understand why, for the first time in all the years he had been speaking in the House, there was instant and loud applause from both sides.
  • Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.
  • A conservative government survives essentially by dampening expectations and subduing hopes. Conservatism is basically pessimistic, reformism is basically optimistic.
    • Self-quoted in The Whitlam Government 1972–1975 by Gough Whitlam
  • The Honourable Leader of the Opposition, Sir Billy Snedden, has broken his promise: the promise he made to me before the election. He promised not to tell any lies about me if I didn't tell the truth about him.
    • Recorded on television as opening words to election campaign against Snedden.
by Lathan Mahendran
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  1. a b Murphy, D (21 October 2014). Gough Whitlam dead: His memorable quotes. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2 May 2019.
  2. Mills, D; Rajca, J (21 October 2014). Gough Whitlam remembered for his quick wit. News Corp Australia Network. Retrieved on 2 May 2019.