Edward Gough Whitlam

Edward Gough Whitlam

5 December 1972 to 11 November 1975

Gough Whitlam became the 21st Prime Minister when the Australian Labor Party won the 1972 federal election. He replaced the Liberal Party’s William McMahon.

Whitlam’s government was dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr because he had been unable to secure passage of Supply bills through the Senate. Malcolm Fraser appointed as caretaker Prime Minister, replacing Whitlam as a result of the double dissolution election 1975.

When Whitlam was elected in 1972, he and flamboyant immigration minister Al Grassby noisily announced the end of racially discriminatory policies. But the reality was that actual immigration dropped significantly. A hopeful speech written by a backroom bureaucrat Jim Houston falls into Grassby’s hands, and by chance rather than design Whitlam’s Labor government gives birth to multiculturalism.

- Courtesy of the Museum of Australian Democracy. Download the full PDF or explore more profiles on the museum's website.

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