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Gough Whitlam
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World Leader
    (July 11, 1916-October 21, 2014)
    Born in Melbourne, Australia
    Birth name was Edward Gough Whitlam
    Member of Parliament for Werriwa (1952-78)
    Leader of the Labor Party (1967-77)
    21st Prime Minister of Australia (1972-75)
    His expensive social programs fueled inflation and a large budget deficit.
    He was criticized for interrupting a trip to Europe for only 48 hours to view the devastation after Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin (1972).
    He supported the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which produced over 100,000 civilian deaths.
    He refused to allow Vietnamese refugees into the country: 'I’m not having hundreds of fucking Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their religious and political hatreds against us.'
    He tried to arrange for a $500,000 loan from Iraq to fund a Labor election campaign (1975).
    The Opposition controlled the Senate and refused to pass appropriation bills, creating a government crisis that was finally resolved by the Governor-General dismissing Gough from office (November 11, 1975).
    A journalist described him as 'a man of grand vision with serious blind spots.'
    He served with the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II.
    He broadened the Labor Party's appeal beyond its traditional union supporters, engineering the Party's first victory in over two decades.
    He began the process of Aboriginal land reform, giving the Gurindji people of the Northern Territory title deeds to part of their traditional lands.
    He tried to make his country more independent of the US in foreign affairs.
    His dismissal by the Governor-General was unprecedented in Australian history and remains controversial.
    He was married to Margaret Dovey for 69 years.
    He and Margaret were visiting China when the Tangshan earthquake struck (1976), inspiring 'The Age' to print a cartoon showing the couple in bed with Margaret asking 'Did the earth move for you too, dear?' While Labor partisans sent the paper outraged letters demanding an apology, Gough sent a telegram requesting the original of the cartoon.

Credit: C. Fishel


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