Saturday, 9 November 2013

Politics: November 11, 1975. Hardly our finest hour!

Monday next is November 11.. a special date in Australia's political history!

In late 1972 I had become swept up in the It's Time campaign (so brilliantly designed by Mick Young) that swept Gough Whitlam into office. I was too young to vote at 19 back then. But my word, he did impress me. The McMahon Government seemed to me to be outdated and led by a man that Whitlam could verbally lacerate with his acerbic tongue.

By the time of the  1974 election.. well I could vote and I voted for Gough! Actually.. I thought he was making fist of it all, but his "Give us a go and we'll get the job done" seemed fair enough to me. Around the time of the election I gave up the tools and went on the road as a rep for MSES (the forerunner to MAX Instruments).. and boy did that open my eyes.

What I saw was inflation out of control and small business failures everywhere. On my 22nd birthday in 1975, I sat down with my father and talked at length about the state of the country with him. He seemed objective enough… my vote was my decision.. but after discussing business and other issues with him, well I knew my next vote would not be for the ALP.

Fast forward to late October 1975. One night I am having dinner with my good friends Ken and Carol Brand at their Coorparoo home. The talk of the senate blocking supply is all over the news. As young people we believe it won't happen.. probably because it hasn't happened before.

Unfortunately, we all underestimated the sheer ruthlessness of Malcolm Fraser!

Remembrance Day1975. I am visiting a client.. Performance Craft marine in Newmarket. They made desirable hi speed ski boats. This is where I hear the news of Gough getting the coke and sars! I cannot believe it. Over the coming weeks the country is going into melt down. Families are tearing each other apart over the dinner table on this one dividing issue!

My older brother Max and I go head to head on this one too! I say it is wrong. The people would have voted Gough out anyhow.. this is pure opportunism. Fuelled by one man's desire to be PM! That is it. Max thinks the end justifies the means.  We argue. A lot! Even today 38 years later we still don't agree on this one.

As I am going to Fiji for a week with Terry Lewis, I cast my pre poll vote for the ALP! For me it is the principle that matters here. Nothing else. The Sunday after the election we are onboard a QANTAS 707 at Nadi airport. The aircraft stairs are stuck hard up against the plane and we're going nowhere. To fill in time the Captain tells us the election result.. a Landslide for the Liberals.

A cheer goes up in the plane! But not from me!

These days.. well I am a conservative voter.. cannot stand the way the ALP go mad with the country's  credit card.. don't get me started!

But November 11, 1975? Hardly the Lib's finest hour. And to this day I cannot stand Malcolm Fraser!

EG Whitlam has an incredible intellect, I have met him and photographed him.. even been photographed with him! An amazing man. Sadly his lack of ability & interest in the country's finances was his downfall!

Lives in my cupboard as a reminder!

Gough and me! C2002