Hawke, Gillard cheered, Howard booed at Whitlam farewell
MOURNERS at the state memorial for Gough Whitlam today appear to be taking his famous order to "maintain the rage" to heart, booing senior Coalition figures and cheering Labor icons.
Reports from the service suggest that former prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and Julia Gillard received cheers and standing ovations from the crowd who gathered to say goodbye to Whitlam at Sydney's Town Hall.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Immigration Minister George Brandis and former PM John Howard were each booed by the crowd.
Social media was divided on whether the crowd's reaction was appropriate, given Whitlam's inspiration to a generation of Labor figures.
"Booing at a memorial service, how dignified some people are," one wrote on Twitter.
"What a disgusting mob at Whitlam memorial to disprect TA [Tony Abbott] in the manner they just did!" wrote another.
From the other side:
"I hate that Brandis is at Whitlam's memorial when many people who truly loved and respected him won't be able to get in."
"Lol Tony Abbott got booed at so hard outside Gough Whitlam's funeral. Classic."
Earlier, some were frustrated having been told there was no room for them inside the town hall, despite thinking they had reserved their places.
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Thousands to farewell Gough Whitlam with memorial service
FORMER Prime Ministers, dignitaries and Labor Party figures will join thousands of Australians expected to gather to see off Gough Whitlam at a state memorial service at Sydney Town Hall this morning.
The huge gathering, which was reportedly oversubscribed by thousands, follows tributes in parliament from both sides of politics and a public outpouring of mourning in newspapers and social media since Whitlam died on October 21.
While the official service will be held in Sydney, large television screens have also been set up in Melbourne's Federation Square, where Melburnians are expected to gather to watch the official service.
The service, which starts at 11am, is expected to be broadcast live on ABC 24, among other live news channels, for those who could not make it to the capitals to remember the nation's 21st Prime Minister.