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The drama surrounding the dismissal of Mr. Gough Whitlam as the Labor Prime Minister of Australia - on 11 November, 1975 - by the then Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr - and the subsequent installation, in Parliament, of the Liberal 'caretaker government' and Mr. Malcolm Fraser as the 'caretaker' Prime Minister. Written by
David McAnally <D.McAnally@uq.net.au>
[referring to Opposition Leader Billy Snedden]
Before the Leader of the Opposition can talk about leadership, let him serve his apprenticeship. Let him do some on-the-job training. Better still, let him do some adult re-training.
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Very Detailed but Understandable Account of Events
As a Canadian, I didn't know very much about the Whitlam dismissal. I had read the Wikipedia page about those events, but that was about it. Earlier this year, when Canada went through a potential constitutional crisis (it fizzled out, thankfully) that might have led to intervention by our Governor-General, the Whitlam dismissal was mentioned in the press. In an effort to learn more, I ordered the DVD of this mini-series through EBay.
I was greatly impressed by how interesting the account was. As dramatic as events were, this could have been a very boring political drama. However, it was a pretty suspenseful mini-series. I was also impressed by how understandable it was, despite my lack of familiarity with Australian politics. It didn't take long to figure out who everyone was, and what their roles were.
Having said that, it is not an entirely impartial account. Malcolm Fraser is certainly portrayed as a rather Machiavellian figure, who lets no person or thing get in the way of his quest to be Prime Minister. Gough Whitlam is portrayed in a more noble, almost saintly, light. However, the actor portraying Whitlam channels the nobility in such a way that it comes across more as pomposity. I thought that Sir John Kerr was portrayed in a fairly sympathetic manner.
I must warn people that the DVD is of very poor quality. I understand that it was made for television in the early 80s, but it would appear that no effort was made to restore the picture quality or sound quality. It was very disappointing that no extras were added either. A documentary, or even some interviews with the historical figures, would have enhanced the experience, but there is nothing.
I highly recommend this mini-series for anyone interested in the real-life events.
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