December 9, 1972 — The Whitlam government is elected in Australia

It was time.

After 23 years in the wilderness, the Australian Labor Party was once again elected by the Australian people. Led by Gough Whitlam, they had only narrowly lost the previous election and this time thumped home with a comfortable 9 seat majority. Whitlam wasted little time – he and deputy Lance Barnard were sworn in by the Governor-General the following day, and set about enacting their agenda.

In the parlance of today, they moved fast and broke things – one of those things, unfortunately, their own government. But in the meantime, they ended Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, introduced socialised health care and ended the White Australia Policy, among other reforms. A later Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, characterised the Whitlam government as waking Australia from its ‘Menzian torpor’, and it’s hard to argue with him.

Gough Whitlam 1972 policy speech.jpg
By National Archives of Australia – http://guides.naa.gov.au/gough-whitlam/gallery/image009.aspx, CC BY 4.0, Link

As mentioned in:

Long Run — Redgum

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