John Kerr Leadership

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SIR JOHN KERR AND THE WHITLAM DISMISSAL: 1975 A turning point in the authority of the Governor-General’s ‘reserve powers’ in Australia’s history, the 1975 Dismissal of Gough Whitlam from Government by Sir John Kerr, is regarded as the result of “one of the most tension-filled years in Australia’s political history” . The decisions of the Governor-General at the time caused widespread debate, and Sir John Kerr’s actions are still remembered, because of the political and moral disagreement in his choices. Sir John Kerr: Brief Biography John Robert Kerr was the first child born to Harry and Laura May Kerr on the 24th September, 1914, in the working-class suburb of Balmain. Before John turned two, the family moved to Rozelle where it was…show more content…
Instead, the Opposition saw an opportunity and instantly acted. Three Government money bills which required the approval of the Senate were deferred “until the Government agrees to submit itself to the judgement of the people” . The Opposition attempted to force another election, but once again the Government refused. The Liberal Party was keen to make their way into Parliament in any possible way. Kerr’s Role in the Dismissal of Whitlam When Kerr realised the problems the Government was facing in the Senate, he began to consider what role his position had in the events which were occurring. He met his friends, Solicitor General Bob Ellicott and Chief Justice Garfield Barwick for advice. Both advised that he could bring a double dissolution of Parliament, which he did, on December 13th, and Barwick legally endorsed the action of dismissing Whitlam from Government on Monday, 10th November, 1975. On Remembrance Day, November 11th 1975, the Governor-General dismissed Whitlam from office and called Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal leader, to form a caretaker government. He dismissed Whitlam’s request to call an immediate half-Senate election. With the Liberal leadership, the Supply Bills were passed, allowing Australia to function normally until the December…show more content…
Many Australians opposed to the choice he made, however many also agreed. The use of his ‘reserve powers’ has influenced Australia, as the ‘most significant Constitutional Crisis’ in the history of Australia. The events which occurred are relevant to how we select Governments in Australia and also the conventions of the constitutional. The constitutional and political effects of the Whitlam Dismissal have remained an important reference in the topic of the Australian structure of politics, and even today it provides evidence for debates about Australia becoming a

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