Year 10 History – Research Assignment – Gough Whitlam Part A

Edward Gough Whitlam was born on 11th July 1916. He is well known as Gough Whitlam, Australian politician and 21st Prime Minister of Australia. In 1972 he led the Labor Party into government after a period of 23 years of conservative (against reform and progress) government in Australia. Major Policies Gough Whitlam came to office claiming a demand for a wide-ranging program of social reforms. In a lot of activity the government: • Ended conscription and withdrew Australian troops from Vietnam giving students and mothers the peace of mind. • Implemented equal pay for women which influenced more females to work and enjoy the benefits all other males do. • Launched an inquiry into education and funded government and nongovernment schools on a needs basis to provide equal and more education and resources to students. • Established a separate ministry responsible for aboriginal affairs and supported the idea of land rights which gave Aboriginals the rights and land they deserved. • Recast our foreign policy by withdrawing support for South Africa, recognising China, granting independence to Papua-New Guinea and distancing Australia from USA foreign policy which proved ourselves to be more individual while maintaining strong economical links. • Abolished tertiary education fees and established the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme to attract more students to study in uni and further education. • Increased pensions. • Established a universal system of health insurance known as Medibank which at that time provided many benefits to the family and which gradually involved to a free medical service to all applicable. • Established controls on foreign ownership of Australian resources to ensure our economical gains go towards us. • Passed the Family Law Act, establishing no-fault divorce which allowed to divorce without reasons. • Passed a series of laws banning racial and sexual discrimination to make multicultarism more equal and fair. Whitlam believed in equality and he achieved that with applying this to all public of Australia. • Extended maternity leave and benefits for single mothers to aid the costs while still retaining the original job. • Sought to democratise the electoral system by introducing one-vote-onevalue which aimed to get the government in equal say. This still applies today and greatly affects the way we vote and set out laws and bills. Post-war development (how the policies affected Australia) Increasingly, a citizen's real standard of living, the health of himself and his family, his children's opportunity for education and self-improvement, his access to employment opportunities, his ability to enjoy the nation's resources for recreation and cultural activity, his legacy from the national heritage, his scope to participate in the decisions and actions of the community, are determined not so much by his income but by the availability and accessibility of the services which the

community alone can provide and ensure (Whitlam, 1985, p. 3). This was Whitlam’s concept and guidelines for his government, and this is what made a difference for the working class people in Australia. People When he ended conscription, students and parents were relieved that that no one would have to fight a war for nothing. Women finally saw equal rights in the workplace. It was no longer fair and more women thought of working and pursuing their ambitions. Whitlam also introduced the no-fault divorce which allowed married couples to divorce without any reason. This helped many people who were in situations where they had to escape. Now that women were now equally paid, they also received maternity leaves while ensuring they didn’t lose their jobs. The set Education Education was one of the main concerns held by the Whitlam government was Education, and because of the policies in schools and universities, today working class children have access to university education they can afford. Aboriginals Aboriginals had always been left out, no voting rights, no land rights and discrimination throughout Australia. Whitlam introduced policies that would grant aboriginals the right to have their land and the treatment they deserved. In the policy speech in 1972 Whitlam said that “All of us as Australians are diminished while the Aborigines are denied their rightful place in this nation”. Economy The Whitlam government started to establish new connections and trades with other nations around the world. He made links to China, which now, holds an important part of our economy. It gives us the boom in our resource industry and furthermore the bonds with one of the largest economies in the world. Foreign Policies Foreign policies were changed to give Australia individuality but at the same time, give it strong economic relations to all the nations in the world. Whitlam withdrew support for South Africa due to racism and inequality in their country. This showed the world our strong beliefs on multicultarism. We started to go further away from America and granted independence to Papua-New Guinea. Health Whitlam proposed a plan to provide universal health insurance (paid by tax) which would provide a working family with free dental and medical services throughout Australia. This later evolved into the medical program now called Medicare. This has provided all families with low prices on medicine, and free medical assistance. Multiculturism The main aim of Whitlam’s government was to provide equal opportunities and that everyone is treated equally. He established policies which helped create a stronger sense of Australia’s identity of a fair go. Today, the laws are stronger and have dire consequences for racial and other types of discrimination. Gough Whitlam helped Australians and Australia itself in many ways. He looked after the working man, while maintaining the ever rising economy of Australia. Source A

This was the successful poster and campaign launched by the Labor government to show the time of change and understanding. This poster particularly shows the labor party’s strength in doing the things they do and change. This strong image and the success has given Labor party respect and outlook. The public saw this as Labor’s strength and their time to change the way Australia is and will be.

Source B We see Whitlam handing over the land and other rights to Aboriginals. This shows what the Whitlam government really wanted to achieve. They wanted to make things equal for everyone, and show the world that we are a multicultural society where everyone gets along and gets a fair go. This was historical as the aborigines were never regarded and were always left out. But here, The Whitlam government handed land rights and other benefits to all Aboriginal people.

Bibliography Lessons of the Whitlam Government (2000)- Gough Whitlam's 1974 Policy Speech (2002) The History of the Whitlam Government (1999) - Gough Whitlam (2007) - Australia’s Prime ministers: Meet a PM (2006) Fiscal Federalism in Australia: Keating to Whitlam by Russell Mathews and Bhajan Grewal (1995)