Older News  » Gough Whitlam

Last updated 2:14 PM on 27 October 2014

Excerpt from Principal's Message from Park Press Week 4:

Gough Whitlam


I would like to devote this edition of my Park Press Principal's Report to the wonderful life of Gough Whitlam who reshaped the political landscape of Australia and gave my generation the gift of free university education, something for which I (the sixth child of a working class family of seven) am eternally grateful!

Gough Whitlam came to power in 1972 with the most famous of all Australian political campaign slogans ‘It's Time'. I personally remember, as do many of our staff, singing the song that accompanied the television advertisements and rejoicing in the success of Gough's election.

Gough revolutionised Australia's concept of equity in education and ensured an access to higher education that had never previously been experienced. His policies in education were so ground breaking that we continue to enjoy the benefits of his changes today. Gough Whitlam also gave Australia free medical support via Medibank (now Medicare) so that ordinary Aussies could afford to go to the doctor and the hospital.

Indigenous Australians hold a very special place in their hearts for Gough who personally made leaps and bounds in changing the face of what constituted a 'fair go' for Aboriginal people. Gough, who always
fought for fairness and equity, also fought and changed the rights for women.

Gough ended the hated conscription for young men in the 70s and withdrew the last of the troops from
Vietnam. He lowered the voting age to 18 years old.

Gough opened up ground breaking trade discussions with China....Can we even today imagine Australia
without excellent and crucial trading relations with China?

By reshaping and solidifying our Australian identity, his legacy of change remains today and we should all take a few minutes to reflect on how one man, in just three short years, changed our world.

Suzi Clapham