Date: 2020-07-15 09:52:00
The Queen was not informed in advance about the 1975 dismissal of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, newly released letters show.
Whitlam’s government was removed by the Queen’s representative at the time, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, and replaced with an opposition party.
It is considered the most controversial event in Australian political history.
The letters, released after a court battle, show Sir John wrote it was “better for Her Majesty not to know”.
However, they also reveal Sir John – an Australian who was a judge before becoming governor-general – had discussed with Buckingham Palace whether he had the constitutional authority to dismiss Whitlam.
Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as head of state. Before the dismissal, many Australians had little idea her representative had such power.
Historians have since questioned what the Palace knew about the removal of Mr Whitlam – a progressive whose reforms divided Australia after two decades of conservative rule.
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