Gough Whitlam's recollections of 11 November 1975

Media release: Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has shared his personal recollections of 11 November 1975, the day he was dismissed by then Governor-General Sir John Kerr.

The event coincided with the exhibition of Mr Whitlam's handwritten motion, composed over lunch on 11 November with his closest advisors. 

The document, which Mr Whitlam had planned to read in parliament that afternoon, moved that the House of Representatives had confidence in the Whitlam government but would not have confidence in any government led by the Member for Wannon (Malcolm Fraser). At the time Mr Whitlam did not know Mr Fraser had already been sworn in as caretaker prime minister. The document is now on public display for the first time at the National Archives.

Mr Whitlam addressed a small audience including Australian Democracy students from the Australian National University and 'living archives', people whose stories are part of the National Archives' Memory of a Nation exhibition.

Special Minister for State, Senator John Faulkner, introduced Mr Whitlam to the group and led the discussion in an interview-style format.

After his talk, Mr Whitlam and the students viewed other original government and personal records from the time, also held by the National Archives of Australia.

Contact information:

National Archives:  Elizabeth Masters (02) 6212 3957; 0427 853 664
Senator Faulkner's office: Colin Campbell (02) 6277 7600; 0407 787 181

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019