RIP Gough Whitlam, Australia’s greatest prime minister.
Among his accomplishments: recognising China, abolishing conscription, establishing a universal health scheme, introducing needs-based school funding, abolishing university fees, reforming family law, boosting the arts, indexing pensions, and moving to equal pay for women, voting at 18, one vote-one value and Aboriginal land rights. He removed sales tax on contraceptives. He broke the cultural cringe, introduced an Australian honours system and a new national anthem, made relations with Asia a priority and ended Australia’s involvement with imperialism.
My mum, a working class girl from Oxley in Queensland, could only attend university because Whitlam abolished the fees. University had only been for the upper middle class before Whitlam. This opportunity allowed her to go on to earn a PhD. Mum’s accomplishments meant academia felt so familiar and accessible in my family, giving me the courage to pursue a PhD of my own.
So much of what is good about Australia, the things we are most proud of and boast about when we’re around Americans, are the result of Whitlam’s time in office.
Whitlam once said about the prospect of an afterlife and meeting his maker, “You can be sure of one thing, I shall treat Him as an equal.” In Whitlam’s Australia nobody is better than anybody else. You still feel that everywhere. We call politicians ‘mate’ and address our professors by their first names.
During this period of cruel neoliberalism under the Liberal Party it is important to look back and remember how good and fair we can be when our leaders appeal to the better angels of our nature.
Rest in peace.
There are more charts if you click through.
I’m so glad this info graphic is going around, because so many people don’t realize how ageism and misogyny play hand in hand and how the sexualization of young girls play into this.
Santoine: This is an important graph I felt you all should see and understand
Me: Roll over.
GM: The hedgehog rolls over. It’s adorable.
GM: You take a few steps away. The hedgehog remains where it is.
GM: The hedgehog heals you for 5 HP.
Me: Holy shit.