Front page TB 06.11.14 Featuring the seven living Prime Minister’s I had to feel a little sorry for both Malcolm Fraser and Julia Gillard. Fraser who orchestrated the coup in 1975 and had since seen his beloved Liberal Party lurch so dramatically to the right that he no longer either understood or belonged to the party, and Gillard who, like Whitlam had tried so hard to follow in Whitlam’s footsteps with initiative and fresh ideas, but who was cut asunder by her right wing fellows within the ALP seemed to stand beside each other as the two former Prime Ministers who were no longer the flavour of the month with their respective political parties. Gillard though, remains greatly admired by true Labor followers, for what she tried to do for ordinary people such as the NDIS.
The remaining Prime Ministers could have been thrown a sheet over and lumped into the same political party, with none of them doing anything outstanding for the people of Australia, with one notable exception, Bob Hawke, who whilst he fitted neatly into the category, built one piece of exceptional infrastructure for North Queensland, at the behest of former local MHR Ted Lindsay, which was of course the Burdekin Falls Dam, but failed to complete the project and build the Burdekin Falls Dam Hydro Electricity Project to complete the job. Of course at the time the expenditure was howled down as outrageously expensive by the conservatives.
The loss of Whitlam for those of us who lived through the experience of his government will never forget the man who rightfully thought that a people’s government was capable of improving people’s lives and went about doing so, following 23 years of dour conservative rule. They were exciting times, good times, the likes of which may never be repeated. We live in hope, Whitlam was always an optimist.