NOOSA – I am, after a short stay in hospital, back home, still feeling a bit poorly – but that is my normal state.
You should also know I’m in something of an intemperate mood.
However, I’m feeling well and agreeable enough to manage this short compilation for readers too young or too senile to recall.
And the ‘this’ is just a partial list of the achievements of EG (Gough) Whitlam, prime minister of Australia for 1,071 days between 5 December 1972, and 11 November 1975, Remembrance Day.
Some of these accomplishment s have huge significance still, and some may seem minor to you but important to others.
Somehow, most have survived to this day.
And I repeat, this is a partial list.
But it does include how taking over from Andrew Peacock, Minister for External Territories, Whitlam brought Papua New Guinea to independence, a passionate goal he shared with Peacock.
SOME OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE WHITLAM ADMINISTRATION
Introduced free medical care (Medibank, later privatised by Coalition and reintroduced by Labor as Medicare)
Made university and higher education free and vastly increased funding to tertiary education
Vastly increased education funding for state run schools and needy private and Catholic schools
Granted Indigenous land rights
Passed Racial Discrimination Act
Re-established diplomatic relations with China
Ended Australia's involvement in Vietnam War
Abolished White Australia Policy
Established Australian Law Reform Commission
Legislated no-fault divorce through Family Law Act
Implemented system of Senate select and joint committees
Took French nuclear testing case to the International Court of Justice (French then voluntarily halted nuclear testing in the Pacific)
Ratified international conventions on eliminating racial discrimination, protecting civil and political rights and enhancing economic, social and cultural rights
He took over from Andrew Peacock in guiding Papua New Guinea to independence in 1975
Raised pensions to 25% of average weekly earnings and introduced many other welfare payments
Ensured Senate representation for the ACT and Northern Territory
Reopened equal pay case, championing rights of women to work and be fairly compensated
Abolished tax on contraceptives
Introduced Freedom of Information legislation
Created Office of Commonwealth Ombudsman
Made ASIO be accountable to Parliament
Ended death penalty for Commonwealth crimes
Lowering voted age from 21 to 18
Protected many more heritage and environmental sites (created environmental law division within Attorney General's Department)
Established community broadcasting (and Triple J)
Introduced legislation to establish SBS
Established Australian Film and Television School
Initiated Australian Legal Aid Office and Aboriginal Legal Service (both providing free legal representation)
Initiated a national competition for an Australian national anthem as a result of which God Save the Queen was replaced by Advance Australia Fair
Abolished imperial honours and established Australia’s own honours list (Order of Australia)
Established National Gallery in Canberra, doubled funding to the arts and created the Australia Council for the Arts
Abolished appeals to Privy Council
Dropped prosecutions against conscientious objectors
Inaugurated a new royal title, Queen of Australia
Removed royal insignia (the crown) from post boxes
Passed Trade Practices Act and implemented new laws in relation to monopolies, exclusive dealing, price discrimination, restraint of trade, anti-competitive mergers and many consumer protection measures
Introduced guidelines for foreign investment in Australia
Established Institute of Criminology and Criminology Research Council
Prevented State police from engaging in illegal telephone taps
There's more. It can wait.