November 11

Sir David Smith administers the coup de grace

ABC  TV Lateline also reported the launch of Sir David Smith’s handsome new book, HEAD OF STATE by Bill Hayden, the Whitlam government’s treasurer at the time of the dismissal, who later served as Governor-General with Sir David as his official

Lateline lamented that its cameras were barred from the launch in Sydney –it was at a dinner organized by Quadrant, which describes itself, I believe justifiably, as Australia’s leading intellectual magazine (

Mr Hayden told those at the launch: "A governor-general cannot sit on his hands, meekly servile to his prime minister’s directions when the process of good governance and order of the affairs of the people of the nation is seized up, or about to be, and no resolution of the crisis is available."

 "Let me make it clear at the outset that our opposition to this  budget is no mere formality. We intend to press our opposition  by all available means on all related measures in both houses. If the motion is defeated, we will vote against the bills here  and in the Senate. Our purpose is to destroy this budget and to  destroy the government which has sponsored it."

Sir David, in exquisite detail, sets out the very clear overwhelming evidence that Mr Whitlam and Senator Murphy were wedded to the accepted indubitable constitutional doctrine that a government cannot govern without supply and must resign.

But later, on 24 November 24, 1975, Mr. Whitlam opened his campaign for the 13  December election,” his theme was that the removal of his government from office was the end of parliamentary democracy as we knew it because an elected government in full command of a majority in the House of Representatives had been brought down by the Senate’s attack on its budget” In HEAD OF STATE , Sir David delivers the coup de grace to those who argue that 11 November, 1975 is reason to change our constitutional system.

Until next time,

David Flint 


Gough Whitlam, Sir David Smith

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