Category Archives: Lifes Little Pieces

Vale Mr Whitlam

From Noel Pearson’s eulogy to Gough Whitlam. In office for three years, 1972-5 (google both names if you need). This is some of what Whitlam enacted:

Apart from Medibank and the Trade Practices Act, cutting tariff protections and no-fault divorce in the Family Law Act, the Australia Council, the Federal Court, the Order of Australia, federal legal aid, the Racial Discrimination Act, needs-based schools funding, the recognition of China, the abolition of conscription, the law reform commission, student financial assistance, the Heritage Commission, non-discriminatory immigration rules, community health clinics, Aboriginal land rights, paid maternity leave for public servants, lowering the minimum voting age to 18 years and fair electoral boundaries and Senate representation for the territories.

Translation

Medibank = universal free healthcare. Trade Practices Act = federal regulatory regime around consumer law. No fault divorce = self explanatory. Australia Council = federal arts funding body. Federal Court = self explanatory. Order of Australia = our own award system, not the British one. Federal Legal Aid = self explanatory. Racial Discrimination Act = read the rest of the eulogy to see how important this one is. Needs based school funding = self evident. Recognition of China = Gough went to Beijing the year before Nixon. Abolition of conscription = we were still in the Vietnam War when he came in… Law reform commission = self evident. Student financial assistance = he made university education free, and to help put in place a funding scheme for poor students. It just goes on. Force of nature, intellect, and vision. The sadness is not only his passing, but the paucity of what now counts for politics.