For Australians, Tongan dismissal has parallels with events of 1975

    For Australian observers of the unfolding crisis in Tonga, there are inescapable parallels between the events of August 25, 2017 and November 11, 1975.

    Shortly after lunch on that November day Australians learned that the Governor General, Sir John Kerr, had sacked the Labour government of Gough Whitlam.

    Parliament was dissolved and after an often violent election campaign, Labour was defeated, but the bitterness engendered by The Dismissal, as it became known, left a permanent stain on Australian politics.

    Like King Tupou VI, Australian Governor General was acting legally and within the powers granted to him by the constitution.

    However, his action was seen by many Australians as an unwanted interference in the democratic process.

    Kerr was the representative of Australia’s Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, and conspiracy theorists claimed that the dismissal was part of a royal plot.

    Others claimed that Kerr was working for the CIA and it emerged long after Kerr’s death that during the political crisis leading up to the dismissal on November 11, 1975, he had met regularly with the head of the CIA station in Sydney.

    Like Pohiva, Whitlam was a visionary who swept into power on a tide of popular approval in 1972, fought and won a second election in 1974 and overturned decades of rule by conservative politicians who were often criticised for acting as if they thought they had a right to rule.

    Whitlam introduced new rules that brought greater equality and freedom to Australians, introduced free tertiary education, supported the arts, strengthened Australian’s sense of pride and national identity, gave proper recognition to Aboriginal Australians and supported the campaign for women’s rights.

    But for all his achievements, his government was fatally damaged by Whitlam’s inability to control his cabinet, catastrophic misjudgements of public opinion and major errors of judgement on international issues.

    He was accused of sometimes acting as if he was the only member of the government and was blamed for the deterioration of the Australian economy  in the wake of the global oil crisis.

    Whitlam left Parliament after a series of defeats by Liberal Party leader Malcolm Fraser, who had engineered the 1975 political crisis by refusing to pass the Whitlam government’s budget.

    Fraser left Parliament after he was defeated by Labor’s Bob Hawke. In the years that followed, the enmity between Fraser and Whitlam cooled and they became political allies on a number of causes, particularly the push to make Australia a republic.

    The dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor General in 1975 strengthened the support for a republic among many Australians who felt angry that a royal representative could interfere in their country’s political life.

    For more information 

    The Whitlam dismissal

    1 COMMENT

    1. Ki he kau ʻAositelēlia ʻoku nau siofi ʻa e faingataʻa ko ʻeni kuo hoko ʻi Tongá, ʻoku ʻi ai ha ngaahi meʻa ne hoko ʻo ʻikai ha toe ala kalo mei ai ʻi ʻAokosi ʻaho 25, 2017 mo Nōvema ʻaho 11, 1975.

      Hili siʻi e kaihoʻataá ʻi he ʻaho ʻi Nōvema ko iá kuo mahino ki he kau ʻAositelēliá kuo kapusi ʻe he Kōvana Senialé, Sir John Kerr ʻa e puleʻanga Leipa ʻo Gough Whitlam.

      Naʻe veteki ʻa e Fale Aleá pea hili ha ngaahi toutou kemipeini fili fekeʻikeʻi ne ulungia e Leipá ka ko e kona ko ē ne ʻomeia ʻe he Kapusi, hangē ko ia ne ʻiloaʻakí, ne hoko ia ke ne meleʻi aipē politiki ʻa ʻAositelēliá

      Ne hangē pe ʻa Kingi Tupou VI, ko e Kōvana Seniale ʻa ʻAositelēliá ʻo fakalao pe ʻene tuʻutuʻuni ne faí mo ʻi ha mafai ne foaki kiate ia ʻe he konisitutoné.

      Ka neongo iá, ko ʻene tuʻutuʻuni ne faí ʻi he vakai ʻa e kakai ʻo ʻAositelēliá ko e foʻi kaunoa nae ʻikai fie maʻu ʻi he founga fakatemokālatí.

      Ko Kerr ko e fakafofonga ia e ʻUlu ʻo ʻAositelēliá, Kuini ʻIlisapesi II pea ne ʻi ai e tui ne ʻi ai e palani fakapulipuli ko e kapusi ko ʻení ko ha konga ia ʻo ha faʻufaʻu fakapulipuli fakatuʻí.

      Niʻihi ne nau tukuakiʻi naʻe ngāue ʻa Kerr ki he CIA pea ne fuoloa hili e mate ʻa Kerr kuo ʻasi hake ne lolotonga ʻa e faingataʻa fakapolitikale ne iku ai ki hono kapusi ia ʻi Nōvema ʻaho 11, 1975 naʻá ne toutou fakataha ia mo e taki ʻo e CIA ʻi ha ʻapitanga ʻi Senē.

      Hangē pe ko Pōhivá, ko e tangata ʻa Whitlam ne ʻi ai ʻene vīsone pea naʻá ne hū hake ʻo taki ʻi he 1972, toe lava ki Fale Alea ʻi he 1974 mo ne liua e laui hongofuluʻi taʻu e pule ʻa e kau politisiani konisevativí ʻa ia ko e faʻahinga ʻeni ne aʻu ia ki ha tuʻunga kuo nau pehē ʻe kinautolu kuo ʻi ai ʻenau totonu ke pule.

      Naʻe fakahū mai ʻe Whitlam ʻa e ngaahi tuʻutuʻuni foʻou naʻa nau ʻomeia e tuʻunga tatau mo e tauʻatāina lahi ange ki he kau ʻAositelēliá, fakahū mai mo e ako taʻetotongi ki he ngaahi akoʻanga tēsialé, tokoniʻi e ngaahi ʻātí, teke e ongoʻi māteakiʻi fonua mo e ʻaitenititī fakafonua ʻo e kakaí, fakapapauʻi e tuʻunga totonu ʻo e kakai ʻApolisinolo ʻAositelēliá mo ne poupou’i e taukave ma’a e ngaahi totonu ‘a e kakai fefiné.

      Ka ʻi he kotoa ʻene ngaahi lavameʻá, ne mate maumauʻi hono puleʻangá ʻe he ʻikai malava ʻa Whitlam ke puleʻi ʻene kapinetí, mātuʻaki maʻuhala ki he anga e fakakaukau ʻa e kakaí pea mo e ngaahi hala lalahi ne hoko ko e hala ʻene fakaʻutoʻuta ki he ngaahi ʻīsiu fakavahaʻapuleʻangá.

      Ne faʻa fakaangaʻi foki ia he taimi niʻihi he hangē ne ne pehē ko ia toko taha pe ʻoku mēmipa ʻi he puleʻangá pea tukuakiʻi ki he holo ʻa e ʻekonōmika ʻa ʻAositelēliá he hoko ko ia ʻa e faingataʻa fakakolope he loló.

      Naʻe mavahe ʻa Whitlam mei he Fale Aleá hili ia ha hokohoko ulungia ʻi he taki ʻo e Liberal Party Malcolm Fraser, ʻa ia ko ia naʻá ne ʻenisiniaʻi ʻa e foʻi faingataʻa fakapolitikale ʻo e 1975 ʻaki ʻene fakafisi ke tali e patiseti ʻa e puleʻanga ʻo Whitlam

      Ne mavahe foki ʻa Fraser ia mei Fale Alea hili ʻene ulungia ʻi he taki ʻo e Leipá Bob Hawke. ʻI he ngaahi taʻu hokó, ne kiʻi pehē hifo e vā ʻo Fraser mo Whitlam ʻo na iku kafataha fakapolitikale ʻi he ngaahi meʻa lahi tautefito ki he teke ko ia ke hoko ʻa ʻAositelēlia ko ha puleʻanga lepapiliká.

      Ko hono kapusi ko ia ʻa e puleʻanga ʻo Whitlam ʻe he kōvana senialé ʻi he 1975 ne ne toe fakafefekaʻi e poupou ki ha lepapilika mei he tokolahi ʻo e kau ʻAositelēliá ʻa ia ne nau ongoʻi ʻita he lava ke kaunoa ha fakafofonga fakatuʻi ʻi he moʻui fakapolitikale ʻa honau fonuá.

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