Social democratic peers in Europe and Canada achieved more than Gough Whitlam

In The Australian today:
“To have lived through the late 1960s and early 70s is to have experienced an unforgettable sense of exuberance. From Stockholm to Ottawa, Bonn to Canberra, a tidal wave of social ­upheaval resulted in far-reaching political renewal.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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9 Responses to Social democratic peers in Europe and Canada achieved more than Gough Whitlam

  1. Toiling Mass

    What I found particularly annoying was his constantly being referred to as ‘our most senior statesman’.

    I mean, after leaving parliament he just faded into an obscure dotage. He wasn’t a statesman when he was PM (just a bumbling old-school communist) and he sure as well wasn’t afterwards.

    Even his most fervent acolytes only revere their heavily dosed version of his Prime Ministership, and that was in the 70’s.

  2. Toiling Mass

    *sure as hell wasn’t*

  3. Token

    There are a lot of tears being shed in the comments page of The Australian over the papers continual blasphomy. How dare they shine the light of truth over the record of the divine Gough?

  4. Fred Lenin.

    Whitlam was a left created “legend” ,like , Marx,Lenin,Stalin,Hitler, Mao ,Kim il sung,PolPot.Castro,of course without the Blood ,Socialism at work Forward Comrades into the 20-20 s ! Now where have I heard that before? Communists ,if at first you stuff it up ,repeat performance.

  5. Toiling Mass

    How dare they shine the light of truth over the record of the divine Gough?

    The light on the dill?

  6. Toiling Mass

    Communists ,if at first you stuff it up ,repeat performance.

    It is like that game where you try to flick playing cards into an upturned hat – except each card represents millions of people.

  7. rafiki

    In the wake of the Whitlam dismissal (and I still think that this was constitutionally wrong) I got involved in the ‘Lawyers for Labor ‘ dimension of the campaign, and in this way sat in on a number of meetings with Labor heavies such as Lionel Bowen, John Button, and Richard McGarvie. I had only returned to Australia after a long absence, and I was struck by the lack of anger and fire in the belly of these luminaries. “They know Whitlam stuffed it up” was the explanation I got from others (and from Button). This may explain why the Hawke Cabinet was more cautious and why Whitlam adulation was muted in those years. It is the wilfully ignorant later generation that has sanctified Whitlam.

    Those of us who worked in PNG in the immediately pre-independence years know at first hand just how he and Morrison worked to complicate that process to the effect that sleeper issues – such as the Bougainville problem – were left unresolved and exacerbated.

  8. Ant

    Leftists have a thing for hero worship and many a tyrant has exploited their trading of blind obedience for an unattainable promise of Utopia.

    Conservatives simply are not capable of it. We’re too practical for that. For this reason you will never see Howard fawned over, just as Menzies is properly respected without being idolised.

    Whitlam wasn’t a tyrant. But he was destructive, reckless and, on matters economic, a completely incompetent boob. The sort of person who would be a brilliant inspiration in a governing cabinet but one of the last people you’d appoint to run the entire operation.

    Nevertheless, he was an important and pivotal historical figure and deserves to be remembered.

    As an aside, I hope they don’t demolish his Kew boyhood home. The owners should be generously compensated and it should be retained as a museum.

  9. Gibbo

    It turns out we all had Whitlam wrong. He was, according to The Drum, a wonderful success…

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