The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > The passing of Gough Whitlam > Comments

The passing of Gough Whitlam : Comments

By Don Aitkin, published 22/10/2014

He did not enjoy criticism from someone like me, 21 years his junior, who wrote a weekly column in the National Times. And he loved to score off others, sometimes when it really was not to his advantage to do so. I got my share of it.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All
I, too, would have liked him to have had another term in office because his social reforms were not complete. Set down for debate on 12th November 1975 was a scheme to support people with a disability. Gough had a severely disabled grandson and was aware of the nation's deficiency in this area. Only now, forty years on, we are addressing this. We can but imagine how the lives of two generations of people with a disability would have been different had Gough been allowed to complete his vision.
Posted by estelles, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 9:06:38 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I can't say I liked the man. I found him arrogant and vain in the extreme; nor did I like his tyrannical/elitist crash through or crash and burn approach.
But for him the Great Barrier Reef would now be dotted with oil rigs, and all our traffic now powered by much more climate friendly, and vastly cheaper fuel; as opposed to fully imported economy killing ones, that in any fair comparison, puts four times more carbon into the atmosphere!
Yes there were some good reforms, none more so than a safety net that finally stopped the poorest from literally starving!
Albeit too late for my Mum, and perpetually grumbling rich relatives!
He brought in no fault divorce, which for my money was a mistake, that penalized the sinner and the sinned against equally!
Better for battered wives to have that taken as more than ample (lie detector tested) evidence, for not only a divorce, but a complete 100% share of all common property; along with a significant jail term and a permanent AVO in a completely different state, for the eventually released, and wages or income garnisheed offender!
Adultery is a very different and sometimes forgivable thing. That however, can and does bring STD's to the marriage bed, and in these days of ample protection, unforgivable.
He may well have been a colossus and a hero, just not one of mine; nor was his, I believe, even more arrogant wife!
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:41:41 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Gough Whitlam as you say was a great man, he definately changed the way for all Australians after the forelock tugging era of Menzies "I did but see her passing by and shall love her until I die" unfortunately we have now gone back to the Menzies era of forelock tugging with Abbott, a retrograde step. Don Dunstan was also in the mould of Whitlam, they both were at an arts event I attended some years ago, two great men together.
We now have politicians on all sides just bowing and scraping to the whims of the US , they should be thinking like Whitlam that Australia counts first, Julia Gillard should have had on her agenda that Australia must become a Republic, Gay marriage to be allowed, Voluntary Euthanasia to be allowed which the majority of people want, if these ideas had been pushed by her she may have still been in office, Bill Shorten unfortunately is a puppet of Abbott, where does he debate anything with him, we the public want debate, we do not want US policies rammed down our throats and a Government frightened to say a definate no to them, we want politicians like Whitlam to think to the future, we live in the Asian region, not in the Middle East, keep friends with China, not the US idea of a war with them, if only we had another Statesman like Whitlam, instead of the rubbish we have in Parliament now.
Posted by Ojnab, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:58:00 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Rhosty,

No-fault divorce would not have been possible had it not been for the work of Percy Joske and Garfield Barwick in the 1960s. They established the new conceptual framework for marriage and divorce. Whitlam brought it in, and you need a new government often to be able to do such things. But it didn't require Whitlam any sensible PM in the 1970s would have done the same at least in my opinion..
Posted by Don Aitkin, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 2:20:49 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
I think he was an arrogant fool. His heart was in the right place, but his arrogance made it impossible for him to get things right, by refusing to taking any advice

He rushed in with his head in the clouds idealism, & let no practical or reasonable argument stand in the way of what he thought he knew.

His labor law changes have consigned a number of generations of aboriginals to an alcohol ridden welfare dependency, when many were well on their way up the climb to equality.

His ridiculous rushing of independence to New Guinea has likewise led to generations of hunger, squalor & exploitation.

Australia & PNG would be better places if he had never been anywhere near Canberra
Posted by Hasbeen, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 2:49:46 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
That is an interesting appraisal Don, and one can certainly point to previous suggestion for many of the policies introduced by the Whitlam Government. However, the reality is that the Whitlam Government introduced most of these policy changes and the Coalition Governments for the past 23 years had not done so. Indeed, it is arguable that had McMahon won the 1972 election, these policy initiatives would have been delayed by decades or not introduced at all.

Of course that is might have been, and no different to the argument that any sensible PM in the 70s could have done what Whitlam did. What is real is that the Fraser Government after 1975 tried to rollback several of the initiatives, most notably universal health care and the dries in the Government, including John Howard when he became treasurer, wanted the Government to turn the clock back even further. So on the basis of their actions, it is unlikely that coalition governments during the 1970s would have implemented a set of policies, such as Whitlam did.

The Whitlam Government was quite dysfunctional (especially during its second term) reminiscent of the recent Gillard Government, but despite this its impacts on Australia were far-reaching and mostly for the better. In contrast, the Gorton, McMahon, Fraser and Howard Governments are hardly remembered now for positive policy actions they took.
Posted by Agronomist, Wednesday, 22 October 2014 3:47:02 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy