The 24 hours news cycle and the internet were not thought of 40 years ago when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister of Australia in 1972. Therefore, it is somewhat ironic that I learned of the death of Gough Whitlam via the rolling coverage at the foot of the big screen in the foyer of the city office when I arrived at work this morning. I shared and communicated the news with friends and acquaintances via text messages and Facebook.
In 3 short years Gough Whitlam achieved so much. He had a vision for Australia which included universal access to healthcare and education, indigenous rights, support for the arts, multiculturalism, no-fault divorce,abolition of the death penalty, voting for 18 year olds and of course, the abolition of conscription and bringing the troops home from the Vietnam War.
I was 14 years old when the “It’s Time” campaign swept the Labor Party to power in 1972 and still not old enough to vote by the time Whitlam as dismissed in spectacular fashion by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr in 1975.
There has been much written and said today about Gough Whitlam and his legacy but I would like to share a few words that I read on an online forum by a contributor unknown to me. This really sums it up for me.
“He cared. I’m so glad that he was part of my history.”