January 11

The dismissal, the Head of State and the definitive book


The central element of Remembrance Day ceremonies is the one minute silence.

According to the official website, Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey, first proposed a period of silence for national remembrance in a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919.

The suggestion came to the attention of King George V. After testing the practicality of five minutes silence – a trial was held with five Grenadier Guardsmen standing to attention for the
silence – the King issued a proclamation on 7 November 1919 which called for a two-minute silence. His proclamation requested that "all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance
of the glorious dead".

At 11am on 11 November 1919, Australians, for the first time, paused and stood in silent tribute to the men and women of the Australian Imperial Force who died on battlefields in the Middle East, Gallipoli and Europe.

In 1997 the Governor-General issued a Proclamation urging all Australians to observe the one minute silence on Remembrance Day. It is still appropriate for two minutes silence to be observed.

The day is also the anniversary of the decision by Sir John Kerr, 30 years ago to the day, to remove the commission to Mr Gough Whitlam to be Prime Minister because Parliament had not granted the government supply, and Mr Whitlam was openly planning to breach the Constitution by governing without a proper appropriation of funds.


Until next time,

David Flint


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