Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Anecdote: Gough Whitlam

Edward Gough Whitlam (1916 - ), commonly known as Gough Whitlam, was Prime Minister of Australia between 1972 and 1975 when his government was dismissed by Sir John Kerr, the Governor General and the Queen's representative. Whitlam was known for his intellect, width of learning and knowledge, and for a giant sense of self and self confidence.

An item from Barry Cohen’s Life With Gough:

The Great Communicator 

In 1977 Michael Duffy, later to become Minister for Communications, Minister for Trade Negotiations and Attorney General in successive Hawke Governments, was by his own admission a relatively minor figure Victorian Labor politics. As a member of the ‘Independents’ with John Button and barry Jones, he was not particularly influential. He was not yet a member of parliament and had only juist won pre-selection for the Liberal-held seat of Holt. 

He was therefore quite surprised when, in the middle of the Whitlam/Hayden battle for Party leadership in mid-1977, he suddenly received a call from the Great Man himself. 

‘It has been suggested to me, Comrade, that you might speak to a few people in Victoria on my behalf,’ said Gough. 

‘Well, thank you for the compliment Gough, but quite frankly I’m not sure I have any influence with some of the people you want me to talk to,’ replied Duffy. 

There was a long pause at the other end of the line. ‘Yes,’ said Gough pensively, ‘I was wondering why they suggested I should talk to a useless bastard like you.’ 

SOURCE: Michael Duffy

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