North bundled out

BRAGGINGrights from the inaugural Northern Inland Premier League All Stars match went to the Southern Conference after a 3-1 victory over their northern opponents at Doody Park on Saturday.
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TUMBLED OVER: Northern Conference’s Heath Milne outmuscles Southern Conference oppenent Ryan Searle on Saturday. Searle and his teammates would have the last laugh however, winning the match 3-1.

That match and the earlier Rising Stars game raised $3000 for Ronald McDonald House.

Southern Conference found themselves up 1-nil after only five minutes after a mistake at the back by the Northern Conference defence.

The match evened out after that early goal and mid-way through the opening half Northern Conference were pushing hard for an equaliser.

But South scored a goal against the run of play to go up 2-nil.

A Josh Quaife penalty just before the break reduced the deficit to one.

Northern Conference coach Andy Lennon thought his side had the upper hand in the second half, but they were unable to find an equaliser and pushed everyone forward in the dying minutes, allowing Southern Conference to nab a late goal for a 3-1 win.

“It was a little diapointing,” Lennon said.

“We didn’t start well, but once we settled in we didn’t look too bad.”

Lennon had nothing but praise for the new concept and believes it will be bigger and better in 2015. “The main thing about the day was to pit the best against the best and we did that,” he said.

“The boys loved the concept.

“To raise $3000 for Ronald McDonald House was great as well.”

Lennon thought 2014 golden boot winner Jake Davies was close to the best on the park and was also impressed with midfielders Rhys Andrews and Willow Grieves as well as back Brendan Hatte.

The Rising Stars match finished at 1-all after Callan Macgregor scored in the dying seconds for Northern Conference. “It was a good game,” Northern Conference coach Mark Gwynne said.

“It was a very entertaining game.”

Southern Conference scored from a free kick deflection in the first half.

Northern Conference had plenty of chances to equalise throughout the match, but were unable to hit the back of the net until Macgregor finished off a beautiful Naran Singh through ball in the final minutes.

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New look for Tamworth in Country Cup

AN ENGLISHMAN, a miner and teenage spinner are the new faces in Tamworth’s Country Cup team to tackle a Newcastle adversary first up in Sunday’s Country Cup clash at Tamworth’s No 1 Oval.
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Adam Jones plays a back foot drive for his Bective-East side against South Tamworth and wicketkeeper Tom Groth. The pair will be united in the Tamworth side on Sunday for a Country Cup clash with Toronto, with Groth to skipper the side. hoto: Geoff O’Neill 191014GOF03

Tamworth selectors named one of North Tamworth’s two English recruits, Adam Mansfield, in their side to play Toronto on Sunday as well as Boggabri-based miner Brad Jenkinson and young Old Boys spinner WillChesterfield.

Mansfield was in sparkling form with the bat and gloves in Sunday’s War Veterans Cup run chase against Namoi at No 1 Oval.

He struck a fine 45, including some spanking off drives against left-arm Gunnedah seamer Troy Sands.

He and Redback teammate Kris Halloran (75) added 105 for the fourth wicket on a dying wicket to snare North Tamworth a six wicket win and a War Veterans Cup semi-final berth.

With Halloran playing for Gwydir in the Country Plate and Connolly Cup, it enables Mansfield to fill his spot in the Tamworth top order.

“He’s been pretty exciting so far,” said Tamworth selector and fellow top order batsman Adam Jones of the English Redback.

“He hasn’t missed out yet with the bat – he’s scored two or three 40s and a half century in the trial we had.

“He’s earned a spot in the top order and will open the batting with Simon (Norvill).

“That’s a pretty exciting pairing too.

“Adam’s got a pretty tight defensive technique too and I think he and Simon will make a very good opening partnership – I think they’ll be the perfect fit.”

Jenkinson, who plays with Jones at Bective-East, has made an immediate impression on his Bulls teammates with both bat and ball.

He took wickets and scored runs for the Bulls in their two WVC wins on the weekend and will form a four-man pace attack with Angus McNeill, Jack McVey and left-armer Col Smyth.

That leaves Chesterfield as the main spin option, with James Psarakis and Michael Rixon also quite capable of bowling tight off-spin.

“Will’s in good form and been doing all the right things,” Jones added.

“Last year he was one reason why Old Boys won the first grade premiership and has shown that talent all the way through the juniors as a 15 and 16-year-old.

“He is our main spin option but Jimmie and Ricko are also handy.

“This is the best-balanced Tamworth side I’ve seen for a while.”

Tamworth selectors have also come up with a strong Second XI to play Armidale in their Country Shield clash in Armidale on Sunday.

Matt Everett, Will Howard and English teenager Jack Beaumont drop back from the Tamworth First XI squad to bolster a side to be captained by Ben Middlebrook and containing the likes of Aaron Hazlewood and Adam Lole.

Hazlewood and Lole have been long- term members of the First XI and the pair of left-handers ensure there is a strong batting lineup, with Everett in the top order with Middlebrook.

“It was hard on Matt but we couldn’t fit him in with Grothy to keep and Adam his backup,” Jones said.

“With Ben to captain the side, Matty can concentrate on his keeping and batting.

“Will (Howard) just missed out as well and he and Jack (Beaumont) will be very handy in the bowling.

“It’s a very good side too.”

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‘It was definitely satisfying’: Kate Pulbrook looks back on undefeated national hockey title with NSW

ORANGE BORN AND BRED: Eva Reith-Snare (left) and Kate Pulbrook (right) with Edwina and Meredith Bone in Brisbane two weekends ago.AFTER the Hockey Australia Under 13s Girls’ National Championships in Brisbane earlier this month, Hockey NSW western region coaching coordinator Kate Pulbrook has found herself boasting a forgotten sporting success story.
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It’s become common knowledge Orange guns Bailey Ferguson and Eva Reith-Snare were a part of their respective boys’ and girls’ undefeated national title winning NSW teams.

However, few are aware Pulbrook coached the girls’ side to the championship – in her first crack at the job. Despite having a wealth of coaching experience, Pulbrook acknowledged mentoring a young side at the national level presented a welcome challenge, which turned into a wonderful success story.

“It was definitely satisfying,” Pulbrook said.

“The girls did an incredible job. [Winning] was definitely an aim, but with a group of girls from all over the state you never really know.”

Pulbrook’s side’s title was NSW’s second in as many years, and the sky blues’ mentor said the expectation from outside and within the camp posed a problem for her side, one the players dealt with exceptionally.

“There was a bit of expectation,” she said.

“In fact, the girls who played last year had that expectation on themselves for this year, so we had to try and get them to just focus on our game rather than that, which they did well.”

NSW won nine of its 11 games and drew the other two to secure the title, and had the added advantage of being able to learn from, and mingle with, several Australian Hockey League (AHL) teams.

Pulbrook said she had personally made a huge effort to watch the ACT Strikers’ games, to have the chance to watch and catch up with Orange’s Edwina and Meredith Bone.

“Yeah that was great, the NSW AHL came and worked with our under 13s, and I’m sure they learned plenty,” Pulbrook said.

“We had pool sessions, and some of them answered questions for the girls if they asked. It was great.

“And I’m pretty good friends with Eddie and Mere (Bone) so we caught up with them and always made sure to watch their games. More for me, but Eva knows they’re from Orange and wanted to see them in action.”

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Michael Cheika as Wallabies coach: pros and cons

Rupert Guinness takes a look at the prospects of Michael Cheika coaching the Wallabies – from what’s good to what may be a worry.
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The positives

Boasts a winning record in the northern and southern hemispheres with wins in the 2009 Heineken Cup at Leinster and the 2014 Super Rugby competition with the Waratahs. He knows success and how teams in both hemispheres train and play.

Will attract player buy-in, and not just from his Waratahs roster, but from players in the Wallabies squad who come from Australia’s other Super Rugby sides and are excited to experience playing for a coach who turned underachievers into champions.

A straight-talking no-nonsense coach who provides clarity and direction on issues ranging from selection and game strategy to team culture. He doesn’t have to coach the Wallabies because he needs the money or fame. Importantly, he wants to.

Is taking over a team that despite its 29-28 loss on Saturday to the All Blacks has self-belief. They just need more of it to go to play out games. He is a master at bringing the best out of players when even they may doubt they have more.

Will encourage a high-tempo but physical game, such as the Wallabies played on Saturday. Interestingly, the run-on team had six Waratahs – Sekope Kepu, Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau.

Not afraid to provide opportunity to lower-profile names if they are performing and he feels they have earned it. Similarly, unafraid to drop a player, no matter how big the name. He won’t kowtow to outside pressures to pick players either.

Empowers players with a sense of self-responsibility, on and off the field – to the point that they take it upon themselves to live up to what is expected of them in training, games and after – rather than browbeat them over and over with rules.

He may only have nine games (eight Tests and one Barbarians game) before the World Cup; but there is plenty of time to work on his Wallabies World Cup squad in and around those periods. He won’t waste time on unimportant issues.

Enjoys a laugh. Everyone knows or learns quickly that he is top dog, but when the work is done, treats all staff and players as equals. Can surprise, as he did with his motivational ploys before big games.

Wallabies appointment means Australian rugby is spared his taking the job at Argentina – which courted him – or any other country. Making sure he remains in Australia for three years eliminates fear of a sudden exit after World Cup.

The questions

How will he deal with ARU chief executive Bill Pulver, whose handling of recent affairs has already been questioned? He admits he is not a corporate type and showed that at the Waratahs, where he didn’t take to interference from the top office.

He will want it his way when dealing with the expectation that he will steer the Wallabies to success in a job now likened to a poisoned chalice; and dealing with ARU interference when he feels it should not be there. But after Ewen McKenzie, will the ARU allow that?

His explosive nature. Memories are fresh of him accidentally breaking the coach’s box window after a loss to the Brumbies in Canberra, and his $6000 fine and six-month suspended ban for abusing a cameraman in the Tahs loss to the Sharks in Durban.

Pressure for the Tahs to defend the Super Rugby title will heighten. Robbie Deans coached the Crusaders to the 2008 Super Rugby title before the Wallabies – who won their first five Tests under him – but his tenure was not rated a success.

The potential of a provincial divide created by those who fear a pro-Waratahs push from within the Wallabies – or even from the Sydney-based ARU – come team selections, despite Cheika’s reputation for being his own man.

Improving Wallabies set piece to take on the best scrums and line-outs in the World Cup. Some feel the Waratahs’ scrum was better than the Wallabies’. Too bad Kane Douglas is playing in Ireland and Jacques Potgieter is South African.

Who to select at No. 10? Bernard Foley, a direct runner, whom he helped develop at the Tahs to where he is? Or try for Reds star Quade Cooper, also an attacking pivot but who offers more on-field extravagance and is a better general play kicker.

Embracing Kurtley Beale’s return (if there is one) pending the outcome of his ARU code of conduct tribunal on Friday. Will the progress Beale made off field under Cheika’s watch prove to have been undone? Can he keep him in union? Is it too late?

Michael Hooper led the Waratahs after Dave Dennis was felled by injury, then the Wallabies when Stephen Moore went down in the first Test against France. Will he be better for the experience? Should Moore have it back? Or someone else?

He says he’s not a corporate type. So, how will he fit in to the Wallabies’ suit on game day? Pity the poor tailors who will have to fit him out in a hurry in Sydney before Friday’s departure for the Wallabies’ sprint tour. He doesn’t like to be told what to do.

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Disability advocates blast post

AUSTRALIA POST take note: your refusal to install a drive-through street postal box for the elderly and disabled has drawn the ire of Disability Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan.
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It has also drawn a huge response from ratepayers and readers, many of whom have signed a petition calling for a reversal of the service’s ban on such an installation in Armidale.

The matter was first raised about a year ago, when Armidale Dumaresq councillor Andrew Murat, for the sheer love of it, designed a prototype box allowing the elderly and disabled to post letters and parcels from their vehicles.

But instead of applauding such an idea, Australia Post has ruled out taking up the offer to install the special post box in Armidale.

It claims such an installation could be dangerous to posties clearing mailboxes and also to passing motorists.

It would be difficult to think of sillier reasons for such a refusal.

There is apparently a precedent in Queanbeyan where no such danger is posed to the public or posties.

The fact Australia Post, in its own accessibility action plan of two years ago, espouses a service providing accessible products and services makes its decision over the special postal box even more mysterious.

Maybe Australia Post is hoping the issue will simply fade over time; that people will forget Cr Murat’s prototype and it will be left to gather dust.

No way.

We will be watching and reporting as Ms Ryan takes up the cause of Australia Post’s disabled customers in Armidale.

At the very least we call for a trial of this drive-through street postal box.

What is there to lose?

No more procrastination. Every town in Australia must provide parking for the disabled; why not a postal box, too?

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Central Wagga home broken into while family of five asleep

A family of five has been left shaken after their Central Wagga home was broken into while they slept at the weekend. File photoA FAMILY of five has been left shaken after their Central Wagga home was broken into while they slept at the weekend.
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The Brookong Avenue address was targeted in the early hours of Sunday morning, with two wallets and a handbag taken from the kitchen table when entry was gained via a laundry window.

Although physically unharmed, one of the occupants, Jacinta – whose surname has been withheld – says she was frightened by the ordeal.

Jacinta said her partner, two sons and daughterslept through the break-in, but believe it happened between 12.30am and 1.30am.

“We didn’t hear a thing,” Jacinta said.

“They were sort of in and out.

“We had a light on inside and everything, I’m sure they would have realised someone was home.”

Another bag – which contained cash – was left untouched in the lounge room, as was an expensive watch.

“It sort of looked like they were looking for money,” she said.

The family’s dog was also let out.

Jacinta fears those responsible returned on Monday night, with a mobile phone heard ringing near the house.

Investigations revealed neither Jacinta or her partner’s phone had rung that night.

Wagga police yesterday confirmed another house in the street was also broken into on Saturday night.

Crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Cloake said the incidents followed a number of offences in the Forest Hill area earlier this year, where brazen thieves snuck into the bedrooms and stole keys to vehicles and homes.

Inspector Cloake said four groups of offenders were “running around at the moment”, including one of three 13-year-olds in the Tolland area who were “breaking in day and night”.

Others are active on Pinaroo Drive and Naretha Street in Glenfield Park.

“All break and enters are of concern to us, especially when there’s the potential for offenders to be startled and for victims to be confronted,” Inspector Cloake said.

“If there’s any indication a person, or persons, are acting suspiciously … call us, we will respond.”

Inspector Cloake urged people seeking reprieve from the summer heat by opening a window to use extra caution.

“That presents as an opportunity for these people to do that (break in),” he said.

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Great score secures win for Thomson and Magill

Troy Thomson (left), and Peter Magill (right) were congratulated by Life Members Paul Thomas and Wally Norman at the presentation of the Life Members trophy day. subA great field of 86 members contested Saturday’s Life Members sponsored two person Ambrose that saw some red hot scoring.
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Troy Thomson and Peter Magill took home the spoils of victory after recording a great 61.5 nett.

In accepting their trophies from Life Member Wally Norman, both Thomson and Magill congratulated all the club’s dedicated Life Members for their commitment and for helping make the club what it is today.

Runners-up and leading home the ladies section were Anita Medcalf and Leone Stevenson who recorded a solid 65.5 nett.

Wally Norman, in representing the surviving Life Members of Lionel Grady, Cliff Cowell, Trish Wyatt and Paul Thomas, stated it was a pleasure to sponsor the event.

He stated it was the first time in three years since he contested an 18 hole event and he enjoyed the day immensely.

Wally especially enjoyed playing in the same group as Blake Parker and said to watch him hit the ball was inspiring.

Ball winners were 62 Mitch McGlashan and Wayne Powter, 62.5 Blake and George Parker, 62.75 Greg Powter and Mal Westcott, 63 Paul Massurit and Paul Morgan, 63.5 John Davies and Jim Buckley, and Robert Hey and John Pearce, 63.75 Jack Cole and Wayne Tucker, and Ron Klein and Garry Phillips.

In nearest the pin awards, Vince Kelly started in great fashion when he claimed the Idlerite Tyrepower 1st hole at 210cm, narrowly missing out on a percentage of the jackpot.

Steve Edmonds fired a superb 7-iron to just 77cm to win the Griffins Leading Edge 4th hole. Ron Klein added to his ball collection when he fired a well hit 3-wood to within 309cm of the flag on the Dirt Doctor Landscaping 6th hole.

On the back nine, Steve Simpson fired a lovely 7-iron to within birdie range at 178cm on the Harvey Norman 11th hole.

On the final par three, the tough Westlime sponsored 15th hole, Ian Phipps at 351cm gained the accolades.

The day’s final two awards on the best-in-two-shots final holes of each nine saw Robert Hey birdie the Parkes Ready Mixed Concrete 9th hole after his second shot finished 73cm from the pin.

On the Parkes Heavy Mechanical Repairs 18th hole, Brian L Hogan hit the shot of his life to come within 12cm of an eagle as he collected the two golf balls on offer.

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BMX: Bike gift gives Alsop new edge

IN A SPIN: Kimberley Alsop with the new BMX bike this week. Picture: Jamieson MurphyBMX young gun Kimberley Alsop has a new set of wheels thanks to the generosity of local businesses and community groups.
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Southlakes Old Boys, Prestige Smash Repairs, South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-branch, Cheeky Bikes and Advance Traders all pulled together to get Kimberley a top-of-the-line bike.

The Silverwater resident was previously racing on a bike bought second-hand for her older sister five years ago.

Kimberley thanked everyone involved in the collaborative effort and said the support means a great deal.

“Hopefully the new bike will help me get closer to achieving my goals,” she said.

Among those goals is a strong performance in the Lake Macquarie team to contest the Lake Macquarie International Children’s Games in December.

Once Kimberley received the bike, she had a week to get used to it before racing in the NSW BMX State Titles in Elderslie.

Her mum Melissa said adapting to the new bike in under a week was a big effort and compared it to a V8 Supercar driver jumping in a new car for the first time.

The first time Kimberley took the new bike for a spin around the Argenton BMX track she was going so fast she came off over the handle bars.

Despite the tumble she pulled herself together and resumed practising.

At the state titles, Kimberley finished third in the cruisers and fifth in the 20-inch division.

“She’s always had the skill level to be competitive, now she’s got the competitive edge on the bike as well,” Ms Alsop said.

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Gough Whitlam’s free university education reforms led to legacy of no upfront fees

A generation of Australians will forever remember Gough Whitlam as the man who gave them a free university education. Whitlam’s abolition of university fees cemented him as a Labor folk hero yet his higher education legacy remains contested and contradictory.
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In a pre-election speech in Bankstown in 1972, Whitlam said: “We believe that a student’s merit, rather than a parent’s wealth, should decide who should benefit from the community’s vast financial commitment to tertiary education.”

Surprisingly, the Australian Union of Students lobbied for fees to be retained – reportedly because the students believed making higher education free would redistribute resources to those who did not need them.

Nevertheless, the Whitlam government abolished university fees in 1974. The policy would remain in place for 14 years, including the entire life of the Fraser government.

Whitlam also gave the Commonwealth full control over university funding and introduced a system of student income support that survives today through Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy.

While more working-class students and women attended university, the introduction of free higher education did not lead to a dramatic change in the composition of university enrolments. That’s because most working-class Australians did not complete high school, meaning university was not an option for them. And about 80 per cent of students had not paid fees anyway because they were covered by Commonwealth scholarships and other subsidies.

While free higher education remained popular, by the late 1980s senior members of the Hawke government were determined to unwind it. More students were finishing year 12, leading to a growing queue of prospective students. Funding the entire cost of their education would place a significant burden on the budget. It would also be regressive, higher education minister John Dawkins concluded, because most university students came from well-off backgrounds and would earn more over a lifetime because of their degree.

In 1989, Labor established HECS, meaning students would pay tuition fees but only when earning a decent wage.

The Abbott government is now proposing allowing universities to charge students as much as they want for a degree.

While Australia is moving ever further away from the era of no university fees, Bruce Chapman, the architect of the HECS scheme, says Whitlam’s impact should not be underestimated.

“Whitlam’s higher education agenda and Dawkins’ had one thing in common: to take away any need for people to find money to enrol in university,” Chapman says. “Gough Whitlam left a legacy of a system without upfront fees that has lasted for 40 years.”

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Gough Whitlam left a long list of achievements

Gough Whitlam is perhaps best known for the manner in which he prematurely exited from power rather than how he chose to wield it
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But wield it he did. Whitlam’s short three-year shelf life as prime minister is generally recognised as one of Australia’s most reforming governments.

Conservative government has been the norm in Australian politics since federation and the preference is for reform by increment rather than by rush. Consequently, much of what Gough Whitlam built – such as a free university education – has been torn down by successive governments on both sides of the political spectrum.

But what remains continues to shape Australia’s national life like a guardian angel. Here is some of the Whitlam legacy:

● His government extricated Australia from the Vietnam War and abolished conscription. Australia had been fighting in South Vietnam since 1962. Two years later conscription was introduced but the first wave of baby boomers rebelled and eventually they, and their elders, took to the streets in moratorium nationwide marches that saw mass civil disobedience reflect the prevailing view. Labor’s anti-war policy became one of Whitlam’s most powerful election campaign assets.

● Whitlam took the demonology out of foreign policy, recognising China after the Coalition had refused contact with Beijing for 24 years. Whitlam ripped the rug from beneath Bill McMahon when he led a Labor delegation to China in July 1971 and the Coalition prime minister accused him of being a Communist pawn only to see United States President Richard Nixon announce his proposed visit to China a week later. Whitlam also attempted to redefine the alliance with the US.

● Medibank, the precursor to Medicare, was established.

● Social welfare reforms included the supporting mother’s benefit and welfare payment for homeless people. Before 1973 only widows were entitled to pension payments, so other women who were raising children alone faced invidious choices. But the pension payment gave single mothers choices and options around the raising of their children. It also helped remove old stigmas around single mothers.

● Equal pay for women: One of the first acts of the Whitlam government was to reopen the National Wage and Equal Pay cases at the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The 1972 Equal Pay case meant that Australian women doing work similar to that done by men should be paid an equal wage. Two years later the commission extended the adult minimum wage to include women workers for the first time.

● The Postmaster-General’s Department was replaced by the twin-headed Telecom and Australia Post.

● The Australian Legal Office and Australian Law Reform Commission were set up.

● The death penalty for Commonwealth offences was abolished. Melbourne escapee Ronald Ryan was the last man executed in Australia on February 3, 1967, for shooting a prison guard. Victoria and some state governments (not NSW which abolished capital punishment for murder in 1955) remained proponents of the death penalty. Whitlam’s reforms led to the 2010 federal legislation prohibiting the reinstatement of capital punishment in all Australian states and territories.

● The Family Law Act providing for a national Family Court was enacted, and simplified, non-punitive divorce laws were introduced.

● The Whitlam government also established needs-based funding for schools after appointing Peter Karmel to head a committee examining the position of government and non-government primary and secondary schools throughout Australia. Karmel’s report identified many inequities in the funding system, which for the first time led to the federal government providing funding to state schools.

● A free university education was briefly available to all Australians. In Whitlam’s three years of government, participation in higher education increased by 25 per cent, to 276,559 enrolments. The main beneficiaries were women.

● Amid widespread business and union opposition, in 1973 the Australian economy was opened to the world by a 25 per cent cut in tariffs across the board. An early forerunner of the Productivity Commission was established as was the Trade Practices Act and a predecessor of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

● The Australian Assistance Plan to fund regional councils and employment projects continues in the concepts of “social planning” and “community development”.

● The National Sewerage Program connected suburban homes to sewerage. The government spent $330 million on the program before it was cancelled by the Fraser government but in Sydney the backlog of unsewered properties fell from 158,884 in 1973 to 95,505 in 1978. Similarly, in Melbourne, the backlog was reduced from 160,000 in 1972-73, to 88,000 in 1978-79.

● The Whitlam government reduced the voting age to 18 and provided the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory with representation in the Senate.

● It replaced God Save the Queen with Advance Australia Fair as the national anthem.

● Queen Elizabeth became Queen of Australia when she signed her assent to The Royal Style and Titles Act 1973. The legislation also deleted the traditional reference to the Queen as Head of the Church of England by removing “Defender of the Faith” from her Australian titles.

● An Order of Australia replaced the British Honours system.

● The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 conferred rights to equality before the law and bound the Commonwealth and the states to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

● The Department of Aboriginal Affairs was set up and the first Commonwealth legislation to grant land rights to indigenous people was drafted. The subsequent Malcolm Fraser government passed the legislation.

● Land title deeds were handed to some Gurindji traditional lands owners in the Northern Territory in 1975, a real and symbolic gesture that became a touchstone for the land rights movement.

● The Whitlam government also established the National Gallery of Australia, the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Heritage Commission. It introduced FM radio, pushed for the setting up of 2JJ, a radio established to support Australian music and connect with young Australians. It set up multicultural radio services – 2EA Sydney and 3EA in Melbourne – and issued licences to community radio stations for the first time.

● The Australian film industry flowered and the Australian Film and Television School, an idea of a previous Coalition prime minister, John Gorton, was opened.

● The reorganisation and modernisation of Labor’s policy platform saved the ALP from its past.

● Papua New Guinea became independent on September 16, 1975, after being administered from Australia since the First World War.

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Sir John Kerr came off worse in the dismissal of Gough Whitlam’s government

When Sir John Kerr presented the 1977 Melbourne Cup, it was almost exactly two years since he had committed his constitutional faux pas. He was dapper in a a three-piece suit and, it seemed, awfully drunk.
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His obvious inebriation, combined with his thicket of white hair and his aristocratic bearing, made him seem more like a Barry Humphries’ character than the governor-general.

The crowd hissed as he tottered through his speech.

“Any little noises that you may happen to hear are only static,” he proclaimed. “It’s just something wrong with the system.

“Cheers from a small minority! However, life is wonderful for all of us.”

Whitlam later said Kerr was a “drunk” and he made an mistake in appointing him.

The irony is that Kerr, much more so than Whitlam, was a true working-class man. Born in Balmain, the son of a boilermaker, he won a scholarship to Sydney University, where he studied law and won the university medal.

He later became a member of the Labor Party and a a protege of Labor great H.V.Evatt as he forged a brilliant legal career. He was made chief justice of NSW in 1972, and in 1974, after a period of negotiation with Whitlam, he was announced as governor-general-designate.

Whitlam thought he knew was he was getting: a Labor man. But Kerr’s political views had evolved and he had firm views on the exercise of the governor-general’s reserve powers.

Sir John will always be viewed by many as the villain of the extraordinary 1975 story. He was also a former intelligence officer, leading some to believe his role in the dismissal was part of an intelligence conspiracy.

Following the dismissal,Whitlam and his supporters denigrated him, and he was often abused when he appeared in public, even after he left his vice-regal role.

He eventually moved to London to escape the public disapprobation, where, according to historian Phillip Knightley, he “could be seen most days, usually the worse for wear, at one or other gentleman’s club”.

He died in 1991. His family did not request a state funeral, which would have been his due as a former governor-general.

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Gough Whitlam’s foreign affairs legacy was to give Australia a new independence

Diplomatic vision: Gough Whitlam meeting Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong in China in 1973. Photo: National ArchivesHistory judges Gough Whitlam got China and Vietnam right – and East Timor so tragically wrong.
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Yet his enduring legacy, far beyond individual relationships, was to infuse a greater sense of independence into Australia’s approach to the world.

Whitlam ended military conscription and formally withdrew Australia from the Vietnam War.

He switched Australia’s vote at the United Nations to oppose the white minority regime in then Rhodesia, and hastily ushered Papua New Guinea to independence.

He dominated his government’s foreign policy, remaining both prime minister and foreign minister for much of his term.

But it was diplomatic recognition of communist China that most embodied Whitlam’s vision for Australia to decide its own fate.

“It was a risk because it was going against the policy of the United States, which was about to change too, but no one knew,” said Stephen FitzGerald on Tuesday.

FitzGerald was just 34 when Whitlam made him Australia’s first ambassador to China. The controversy of recognition seems hard to fathom now, especially with China as Australia’s largest trade partner.

But at the time, Whitlam made his visit to Beijing in opposition, and conservative politicians frothed at his “instant coffee” diplomacy and the threat to the US alliance – only for Richard Nixon to go to China a few months later.

University of Sydney historian James Curran believes Whitlam ranks as the leader best prepared in foreign affairs to come to office in the post-war era.

“He clearly revelled in his role as international statesman and there can be no doubt he carried it off with considerable aplomb,” Curran said.

But in a book to be released next year, Unholy Fury: Nixon and Whitlam at War, Curran has unearthed new evidence to show the Americans, incensed by Whitlam’s policies, almost abandoned the treaty with Australia and even costed withdrawing US bases.

Veteran diplomat Richard Woolcott said Whitlam was determined for Australia to be independent within the framework of the alliance, but had to manage a Labor left faction declaring he should not meet the White House “maniac” bombing Vietnam.

Whitlam’s extensive overseas trips, including long sojourns across more than a dozen nations, became the subject of ridicule back home.

Woolcott remembers Whitlam reading in the newspaper about newly independent Bangladesh, Guinea-Bissau and Grenada joining the UN, and quipping: “Having you seen this, comrade? They are creating these countries faster than I can visit them.”

But as his government was overwhelmed by political and economic problems at home, Whitlam’s mistake was not to recognise the determination of the people of East Timor to join the ranks of independent nations.

Indonesia’s violent takeover of the former Portuguese colony, and the debate over whether Whitlam gave the “green light” to Indonesian dictator Suharto, left a stain on what was otherwise a time Australia’s flag waved anew.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


Whitlam and conscription – an end to the lottery of death

Gough Whitlam speaking at a Vietnam peace rally in in 1965. Photo: John O’GreadyIt was called the lottery of death.
Nanjing Night Net

From 1964 until 1972, 20-year-old Australian men had to register for the national service scheme where, twice a year, a ballot was held to decide who would be called up.

If a man’s birth date was randomly drawn from a barrel, two years of full-time service in the army beckoned, which from 1966 could also mean combat duties in Vietnam, according to the government’s commemoration website.

Over the eight years of the scheme, more than 15,000 national servicemen served in Vietnam. Two hundred lost their lives.

Among the Whitlam ministry’s first acts after it was sworn in was to release the seven men who were in jail for resisting the draft, Sydney University associate professor James Curran said.

The pending prosecutions for 350 other draft resisters were also dropped and conscription was ended in December 1972. Australia then withdrew its remaining military advisers from Vietnam.

“The lottery of death was abolished,” associate professor Curran said. He is writing a book on the US alliance under Mr Whitlam, Unholy Fury, to be published next year.

Monash University associate professor in politics Paul Strangio said there is no doubt Whitlam’s actions were a “powerful symbolic moment”.

“It lifted an enormous millstone off a generation,” he said.

But he and associate professor Curran cautioned that the issue of conscription was a complex one for Gough Whitlam and for Labor.

While public opposition to the Vietnam War and conscription built to a fever pitch in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was little opposition in the early years of Australia’s involvement in the conflict.

“Whitlam was always mindful of trying to navigate public opinion [on it],” associate professor Strangio said.

He said Australia had already begun disengaging from Vietnam under the Coalition. Liberal prime minister William McMahon withdrew Australia’s combat troops at the end of 1971.

Associate professor Curran also pointed out that Mr Whitlam had broken with then Labor leader Arthur Calwell on the issue before the 1966 federal election.

Mr Calwell had wanted to bring home all conscripts from Vietnam and withdraw the remaining regulars in consultation with the United States. Mr Whitlam instead argued that if further Australian participation in Vietnam was needed, the regular army would be used, confusing Labor’s public position.

“Whitlam had to walk that fine line between opposing the war, but also maintaining support for the US alliance,” associate professor Curran said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.