11th July 1916 - October 2014
Prime Minister of
Australia from 5th December 1972 to 11th November 1975
The name still stirs emotions in the 21st century, long after he left
power as Prime Minister in the 1970s.
Why are high emotions associated with this man. Four main reasons
- Firstly, he marked a change from a long and seemingly invincible
rule in Australia by conservatives with its towering figure of
Sir Robert Menzies.
- Secondly, he and his associates made a large number of significant
changes in a short time. This was invigorating and encouraging for some
and challenging and threatening for others.
- Thirdly, he was a significant presence - tall, intelligent, arrogant
and an imposing orator. For many Australians, the words "Men and women
of Australia" can only ever be heard in the mind's ear in the imperious
tones of Whitlam.
- Fourthly, and possibly most significantly, he marked a sea change
for the Labor Party and created a whole new range of supporters
to the (mildly) socialist cause - the chardonnay socialist.