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Gough Whitlam

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Thorry Gunnersen

on 2 September 2014

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Transcript of Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam
Cartoon Analysis
Gough Whitlam is an Australian politician who was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975 and the Leader of the much controversial Labor Party from 1967 to 1977.
After narrowly losing the 1969 election, Whitlam led Labor to victory at the 1972 election after 23 years of continuous Liberal-Country Coalition Government.
The Whitlam Government immediately implemented a large number of new programs and policy changes.
This black-and-white cartoon shows prime minister Gough Whitlam after his election, seated at a desk and rolling up his sleeves with a blank sheet of paper in front of him. He looks up at an in-tray piled high with policies, reforms and challenges for the new government. His out-tray holds William 'Billy' McMahon, whose government he had just defeated. This cartoon was drawn in December 1972 by cartoonist Michael Atchison.
Highlighted in this cartoon is the huge volume of work that the ALP had set itself with its election promises, while also showing that McMahon had been symbolically thrown out. I believe that this a very accurate representation of the ongoing events at the time, showing Gough just after his much anticipated election win.
But this was just the start of the Whitlam era
Blocking of supply and Government's failure to get legislation through the Senate
During Gough Whitlam's time as Prime Minister of Australia he introduced many reforms and changes as stated before. Yet the Liberal Opposition controlled the senate. This resulted in the blockgage and denial of many desired bills. Government funding was also denied by the senate, much to the anger of the Labor party. With the Opposition-controlled Senate delaying passage of laws, Whitlam called a double-dissolution election in 1974 which he went on to win, though with a slightly reduced majority. Scandals and a flagging economy, began to weigh down on Whitlam. The pressure was on.
The dismissal
Things went even more downhill from here. The Labor party became a joke. After the loans affair and the Juni Morosi scandal, people began to doubt the Labor government.
The crisis ended on 11 November, when Governor-General Sir John Kerr controversially dismissed Whitlam and commissioned Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister. Labor lost the following election by a landslide.
Finally In 1977 Whitlam stepped down after losing at the election, retiring from Parliament in 1978.
This cartoon depicts The Governor General, Sir John Kerr, dismissing Whitlam Government on the 11th of November 1975. The cartoon was drawn just a day after the events. It illustrates Gough and Fraser as cowboys breaking in a horse. The horse represents the Governor General. In the scene Gough is flung from the horses back only to land on the ground in pain. This is the parallel to the actual dismissal of the Labor party. The cartoons representation of the actual event is accurate showing the surprise and anger that Gough felt after the dismissal. It also includes Malcolm Fraser, the bystander of the affair, even though he pressured Kerr to dismiss Gough in the beginning. This was drawn by Geoff Hook who appeared to be non biased but a good observer.
This cartoon relates to the blockage of supply that the Liberal party, with its control of the Senate, was able to inflict upon the Labor government. In the cartoon it is seen that Gough and Fraser are stranded in a canoe. There is a paddle in the water titled "supply". This paddle is supposedly dropped into the creek by Malcolm Fraser. Gough is seen to be angry, pointing at the problem with frustration. This representation is accurate as Fraser purposely did this to force the Governor General to take action and to cause disruption and issues within the Labor party. This cartoon is also of the creation of Jeff Hook, drawn in 1975 the 13th October.
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