Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The end of a great life and indeed an era

Like the death of Kennedy, and Armstrong's walk on the moon I remember quite clearly where I was when The Governor General sacked the legitimate Prime Minister of Australia. Edward Gough Whitlam.

It is interesting when you try to find a picture on the web....there are hundreds of excellent pictures. He was a very photogenic man.
There will be many discussions about his contribution to our national life. He seems to be one who polarised people. One of my friends, Joyce Townend, and also here (along with some of my family and friends including my mother  who was another) who seemed to think that Gough was a Bodhisattva.
Certainly the difference I feel between, say, Menzies...the towering Tory...and Whitlam is that Gough was charismatic, imaginative and above all idealistic. Menzies ran government (for far too long...but he had gone by the time I became an Australian...thank goodness)
We have much to be thankful for from the few years Gough was PM. Universal health coverage, a whole generation and a half of free tertiary education. As a teacher and (as in the picture above) the solemn commitment to return to our indigenous peoples the land that Europeans just assumed they could take.
Whitlam poured sand into the hands of Aboriginal patriarch Vincent Lingiari AM saying  that the land, presumptuously taken by the colonial plunderers, should and would be returned.
From Little Things, Big Things Grow we were reminded by the wonderful song of Paul Kelly

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