Break needed

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Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 08:16 am

Even the Toriest of Tories will sympathise with Gough Whitlam after reading this:

Gough Whitlam spent a staggering 56 days overseas in 1974 because he needed a break from dealing with the “f…wits” in the Labor Party.

Dubbed “the tourist prime minister”, Mr Whitlam’s travel details are revealed in 1974 cabinet records released today, which his former departmental secretary said showed the PM’s annoyance with his party colleagues.

Thirty years on, former secretary of the department of prime minister and cabinet, John Menadue, said the travel “did seem excessive”.

“I tried to persuade him . . . after the Darwin cyclone not to resume his interrupted overseas visit,” Mr Menadue said at the cabinet document launch last month.

“He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Comrade, if I’m going to put up with the f…wits in the Labor Party, I’ve got to have my trips’”.

The Australian public has been on a break from those f…wits since 1996.

UPDATE. “It seems scarcely conceivable today but the government of Gough Whitlam almost fell for what seems to have been a 1970s version of the Nigerian scam.”

Posted by Tim B. on 01/01/2005 at 03:11 PM
    1. Comrade??? The seventies must have been rather vexatious in Australia…

      Posted by yellerKat on 2005 01 01 at 04:26 PM • permalink


    1. Aaah! Those were the days, Comrade. You could live in the freewheeling and decadent west but pretend you were really cool by aping communist forms of address, as if you were actually interested in what happened to the lumpenproletariat.
      On returning from trips to the USSR you could tell colourful stories about the hotels and the lack of plugs in the baths, but, boy oh boy, did those commies know a thing or two about hanging on to power – it was the stuff of many a pollie wet dream!

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 01 01 at 05:01 PM • permalink


    1. Gough Whitlam took a lot of holidays? Looks like a job for a Michael Moore documentary!

      Posted by Quentin George on 2005 01 01 at 05:44 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve always rated Whitlam 1/10 as Prime Minister but I am thinking of upgrading him to 2 for this. Just thinking mind.

      Posted by graboy on 2005 01 01 at 05:55 PM • permalink


    1. Funny.  Bill Clinton says the same thing about the Democrats, but with him it’s interns.

      Posted by JayC on 2005 01 01 at 06:50 PM • permalink


    1. One could make an argument that John Kerry also had an intra-party bargain, in his case to be allowed to indulge excessively in his Vietnam fetish.

      Posted by PW on 2005 01 01 at 07:55 PM • permalink


    1. Re: ‘Comrade” – this was and still is the standard salution for members of the Australian Labor (sic) Party.  The Masons call each other ‘brother’, the Socialists, ‘comrade’.

      In the national press today Medicare was lauded as Whitlam’s greatest achievement. Achievment, my ass.  It’s a social and economic white elephant. (For the benefit of non-Australian readers, it’s our socialised medicine system).

      Before Medicare private health insurance was widespread, affordable, and effective.  Post-Medicare public hospitals are choked, waiting lists are long, medical costs are an enormous burden on the taxpayer, and private health insurance is very expensive.  Among all the disasters of the Whitlam era, Medicare is the worst. (Al Grasby’s ties were pretty bad, however).

      Posted by walterplinge on 2005 01 01 at 08:22 PM • permalink


    1. what about gough’s overhaul of the dole/welfare system that enabled people to travel within australia and still claim welfare? i love it! i get to go to woodford folk festival at xmas then byron blues festival at easter, all on the taxpayers dime!! haha!!

      Posted by Lucky Nutsacks on 2005 01 01 at 09:08 PM • permalink


    1. So where’s my trip? I’ve had years listening to the “f…wits” in the Labor Party

      Posted by rog on 2005 01 02 at 08:59 AM • permalink


    1. Walter: they still call each other ‘comrade’? Jesus. Even the TUC in the UK stopped calling delegates ‘brother’ and ‘comrade’ in the mid-eighties as it frightened the horses.

      Posted by David Gillies on 2005 01 02 at 10:45 AM • permalink


  1. No problem about the ALP frightening horses any more. They bolted long ago. When Latham appeared, lighting his own farts, they’d seen all they needed to.

    Posted by Henry boy on 2005 01 02 at 03:24 PM • permalink