Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam

Where were you during The Dismissal?

WHERE were you when Gough Whitlam's Labor Government was dismissed?

I was attending Ainslie Primary in Canberra.

I have this vague recollection of a teacher rushing into the classroom and telling us the government had been sacked.

It wasn't until I got home later that night and gathered around the family TV that I began to take in the full enormity of what happened.

I am not sure it meant much to me, but it had a big impact on my father, who had rushed from his office in Canberra's CBD to be at Parliament House for the delivery of THAT famous speech by Whitlam.

Gathered on the steps of Old Parliament House was a rag tag bunch of people including comedian Norman Gunston.

Revolution was in the air. And there were boos as first the Governor's General's proclamation was delivered and then wild cheers as Whitlam launched into his 'well may we say god save the queen....' speech.

My father didn't really have a reason to be there. He felt shocked by what had happened enough to go and see for himself as events unfolded.

It must have been upsetting and caused a lot of uncertainty as a coup had never happened in Australia before.

The Dismissal, as it has become known, has had so publicity it is hard to separate fact from fiction.

It makes today's leadership tussles pale in comparison.

Rudd and Abbott were both knifed in the back by their own party, not by the governor general and opposition leader working in cahoots.

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