14 June 2006

1975 and all that

You have to take a stand on this issue and here's mine.

I believe that Whitlam was trying to play with the Constitution by circumventing Parliament in order to raise money. Rex Connor was a dill and that we'd still be paying for his infrastructure dreams today without necessarily being better off - so much for "temporary purposes". Not worth losing government over.

Whitlam's own behaviour during the budget blockage is, as Clive James write in The Monthly a few months ago, a subject that deserves as much scrutiny as that given to Fraser or Kerr - today's baby-boomer journalists and academics tend to take Whitlam uncritically as given. Basically, Whitlam tossed the extra-constitutional boomerang out and it swung back and hit him in the face on 11/11/75. No sympathy is due to the man or his shallow government: for every "recognising China" there's an "East Timor".

The fact that the people so roundly rejected him at the post-Dismissal election cannot be brushed aside. Attempts by Labor apologists to do so reveal flaws in the Labor psyche over their genuine desire to win government and to govern, as opposed to the cop-out that is secular martyrdom.