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Fast facts: Gough Whitlam

Personal profile

Edward Gough WHITLAM


11 July 1916, Kew, Victoria


Telopea Park High School and Canberra Grammar School; University of Sydney (1946)


RAAF navigator; barrister


Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues and World Heritage Committee; International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); University of Sydney Senate; Academy of Athens; Hanoi Architectural Heritage Foundation


22 April 1942, Vaucluse, Sydney


Antony (1944); Nicholas (1945); Stephen (1950); Catherine (1954)


21 October 2014


Queen’s Counsel (1962); Socialist International Plate of Honour (1976); Companion of the Order of Australia (1978)

Margaret Elaine WHITLAM (née DOVEY)


19 November 1919, Sydney


Australian Labor Party (National Life Member 2007)


17 March 2012


Order of Australia (1983); D.Litt (UQ 1994, UNE 1995)

Political profile

Terms as PM:

5 December 1972 – 11 November 1975

Terms as MP:

House of Representatives: 17 February 1953 – 31 July 1978 (Werriwa); Deputy Leader of the Opposition (March 1960 – February 1967); Leader of the Opposition (February 1967 – December 1972; November 1975 – December 1977)


Thirteen portfolios: 5–19 December 1972
Foreign Affairs: December 1972 – November 1973
Environment: July 1975

Political memberships:

Australian Labor Party (NSW branch, 1945–, National Life Member 2007; federal parliamentary Labor Party leader, February 1967 – December 1977); Socialist International; UNESCO Executive Board


Australian Ambassador to UNESCO (1983–86); Chair, National Gallery of Australia Council (1987–90); Chair, Australia–China Council (1986–91)

Quiz facts

  • only Prime Minister to grow up in the national capital
  • dubbed ‘the young brolga’ when he entered parliament, for his height (194cm) and imperious bearing
  • one of only two Prime Ministers whose lifetime spanned the lives of all 25 Prime Ministers in Australia’s first century (John Gorton was the other)
  • was on active service in World War II as a RAAF navigator, despite suffering badly from airsickness
  • only Prime Minister dismissed from office
  • the Whitlam government introduced a record number of Bills, and a record number were enacted, though the Senate rejected 93 Bills, more than the total number rejected during the previous 71 years of the parliament
  • Whitlam is Australia's longest-lived Prime Minister 
  • the Whitlam Institute was developed within the University of Western Sydney in 2000


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