Palace Coup? Shocking New Revelations About The 1975 Dismissal Of Gough Whitlam’s Labour Government



SCEPTICISM ABOUT THE EXISTANCE of the “Deep State” is very strong in New Zealand. This country has been fortunate in avoiding the sort of constitutional crises that bring the machinations of Deep State actors into public view. Our neighbours across the Tasman have not been so fortunate.

It is almost exactly 40 years since the Governor General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, sacked the government of Gough Whitlam’s Labour Party. The “dismissal” of the Whitlam Government was long thought to be the work of Kerr alone; a vice-regal intervention intended to resolve a constitutional stalemate that was threatening to bring Australia to its knees. This “official” version of events is now being challenged.   In The Dismissal Dossier: Everything You Were Never Meant To Know About November 1975, Australian Research Professor, Jenny Hocking, makes it frighteningly clear that Kerr had help.

One of the questions often asked by students of Whitlam’s dismissal is: Why didn’t the Prime Minister simply pick up the phone and dial Buckingham Palace? The Governor-General is, when all is said and done, merely the monarch’s stand-in. Should he so forget his place as to seriously contemplate dismissing a democratically re-elected government from office, then, surely, a quick conversation between the Prime Minister and Her Majesty would secure his instant removal from Government House and replacement by somebody more committed to the democratic process.

According to Hocking, that most simple of solutions was denied to Whitlam for the very simple reason that the Queen and her Private Secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, were forewarned of the dismissal. Kerr had taken the precaution of both writing and speaking to the Queen about what he was planning to do well in advance of 11 November 1975. Indeed, the Queen’s Private Secretary and the Governor-General had together run through the options should Whitlam attempt to secure Kerr’s removal from office. In the event of this “contingency”, Charteris informed Kerr, the Queen would “try to delay things”.

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Had Whitlam dialled Buckingham Palace, it is highly likely that Charteris would have informed him that Her Majesty was indisposed and unable to take his call.

At no time during the course of these alleged exchanges, says Hocking, did the Palace think it appropriate to speak to the Prime Minister of Australia about his Governor-General’s intentions. In such circumstances it would have been very difficult for Kerr to interpret the Palace’s silence as anything other than tacit support.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, Hocking claims that, in addition to the Queen, Kerr also discussed his plans to dismiss the democratically-elected government of an independent Commonwealth nation with the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles. The latter’s alleged response, if accurately reported by Hocking, raises serious questions about Charles’s suitability as New Zealand’s next head of state.

According to Hocking, the Prince of Wales’ reply was: “But surely, Sir John, the Queen should not have to accept advice that you should be recalled at the very time should this happen when you were considering having to dismiss the government.”

It seems that the Royal Family was not Kerr’s only source of advice and support. The Governor-General is also said to have consulted senior members of the Australian judiciary and, shockingly, the Liberal Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser. Apparently, they, too, saw no reason to acquaint the Prime Minister with the fact that Kerr was planning to overthrow the Australian government.

There was another person in Australia who seemed to be extraordinarily well-informed about the future of Whitlam’s government – Rupert Murdoch. He had returned to Australia in the early months of 1975 peculiarly confident that the Labour Government would be gone by Christmas. Accordingly, the Murdoch-controlled press, well-informed by sources deep with the civil service, waged an unrelenting campaign against Whitlam’s beleaguered ministry, and was entirely supportive of the bloodless coup that toppled it.

Hocking’s accusations are, of course, political dynamite. They call into question not only the constitutional reliability of the House of Windsor, but all of Australia’s and the United Kingdom’s unelected power structures – their Deep States. Australians also have cause to wonder about their country’s relationship with the elected governments of the United Kingdom. After all, how likely is it, if Hocking’s allegations are true, that the Queen would have kept her own Prime Minister and his Cabinet in the dark about Kerr’s intentions? Mind you, these were the years in which rumours of coups against the Labour Government of Harold Wilson were rife. Was Her Majesty advised that it might be wisest to keep Sir John Kerr’s intentions to herself?

Of course Hocking’s allegations, if wide of the mark, could very easily be corrected by releasing all of the Palace’s 1975 communications with Kerr. Unfortunately, these remain sealed under a 50 year suppression order not set to expire until 2027. Even then it is most unlikely that they will be released until all of the persons involved in the events of November 1975 are deceased.

The Deep State does not like the light.



  1. The old timers always tell the new full share guys where to get free Booz from. This ones an old story so no harm done.

    Up until the dismissal of Gough Whitlam for exposing the Australian conservative links to fascists and terrorists. the public could drink in the parliament house bars next to politicians. Subsidized drinks.

    beer was still currency up to the 2000’s. The beer tents are drying up though.

    • Maybe the Queen was part of the problem not the solution, there is enough written to doubt her intentions ,but we will never know,i don’t think Prince Charles will be King, so the next monarch could be Prince William, I expect he will do what hes been trained to do, same old same old sadly.
      Kerr wouldn’t have instigated the removal of Whitlam on his own,he would have taken orders from UK or USA who are good at removing heads of state who don’t do their bidding, if Australia was a republic other countries wouldn’t have had an imput such as it did, but a removal could have been arranged,like Syria or Iraq etc have suffered, no one would have been happy at Australia being bombed.

      • Whitlam dealt with England cancelling all dairy imports from Australia and New Zealand. Lucky he opened up China’s economy. If it wasn’t for Whitliam mining booms may have come 30 years later.

  2. And on that note I’d like to remind us of our very own enigma . Norman Kirk . I heard a retired National Party MP talking to Kim Hill. He believed Norman Kirk was murdered . ( Never did catch the Nat MP’s name. )

    Courtesy Wikipedia .

    ” On 15 August 1974 he decided to take two days off, and on 26 August he decided to have six weeks of complete rest. He had been checked over by many doctors, and an examination by Professor Tom O’Donnell on 27 August confirmed that he had an enlarged heart gravely weakened by embolisms, and which was not pumping regularly enough to get sufficient oxygen into his bloodstream; one lung was two-thirds incapacitated by the clot; and his stomach was very sore as his liver was swollen with retained fluid. He went into the Home of Compassion Hospital, Island Bay, Wellington on 28 August. He was photographed going in the boilerhouse door to avoid the media at the front. He rang and reminisced with close colleagues, and his bed was covered with official papers. On Saturday 31 August he told his wife Ruth, who had been told of his serious situation and came to Wellington, “I am dying .. please don’t tell anyone”. Soon after 9 pm, while watching a police drama on television, he slowly slid from a sitting position. He died of a pulmonary embolism when a blood clot released from a vein into his heart cut off the blood flow and stopped the heart. O’Donnell signed his death certificate.[9]

    While colleagues had been urging him to take some time off, none were aware of the seriousness of his last illness.[10] Bob Harvey, the Labour Party President, said that Kirk was “a robust man” with the “constitution of a horse”. He proposed a Royal Commission to investigate rumours that he had been killed, perhaps with contact poison, by the CIA. This story returned during the 1999 visit of Bill Clinton to New Zealand.[11] “

  3. Yes Chris,

    But our Governor General is a spineless gutless stool pigeon and I wished he would grow a spine someday and kick out half of the Key Government for their corruption including Captain Keyster himself as Chief arch pigeon.

    • Gov Gen,was put in office by a far seeing American prompter to cover this type of situation, they picked a weak compliant man who was in the spy agency ,moved him into position. All hes done so far is cut ribbons and tap someone on the sholder with his sword, give merit awards,something a kid in school could have performed.
      So far hes no more use than an ornament,to be fair he knows if he tried to oust Key,
      he would disappear from sight.

      Join all the dots of NZs situation, the blatent criminality is coming out
      Key no longer cares, hes done the job his puppet masters ask of him,
      so if he was found guilty of murder his minders would whip him off to USA, no extradition would work they would see to that. Examples are Bush, Cheyney, Rumsfield etc all guilty of war crimes but protected in America .America is quick to bring overseas people to justice if it suits them.
      In every walk of life the cracks are showing that we are owned and controlled by USA, pity help us if the TPP is ratified then we will be prisoners in our own country,America owns the prisons ,,so we can be incarcerated on demand.
      The Daily Blog has shown us what we are in for,what are going to do about it?

      • The US Second Amendment is exactly for this eventuality.
        “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

        • Yeah nah, just no. Being pro gun isn’t something we want.

          If you want to blow stuff up, join the army.

          If you want to change policy, become an MP.

          Guns don’t change that.

  4. Chris, I worked with a former Senate in the Whitlam government. He was a very interesting man, and we had to take major precautions in the work place. The police would harass us on a regular basis, and the labor party people would never speak to us. Fun times. The one thing I remember him saying at a Friday wet lunch was when Whitlam was rolled, was that the Liberal Senates all knew before it happened, they would make snide comments and odd asides when he and other Senators would walk into the chamber. He was convinced there was a conspiracy to remove Whitlam, and that mining, and in particular the mining of Uranium, was the main driver in his removal.

  5. Hey Chris!
    Note that many of the posters above wish our Gov Gen would do what Kerr did?

    …Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think….

  6. “The Falcon and the Snowman” is an interesting film based on real events that touches on this and its possible influencing by the CIA.

    The NSA contractor (sound familiar) who by chance reads a top secret message about the dismissal becomes so disillusioned by the US government he starts secretly working for the Soviets, then finds out they are no better.

  7. Whitlam was dismissed because:

    ” From 1972-1975, the Whitlam Government changed the face of Australia and altered its place in the world. As John Pilger puts it, ‘Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years.’ Of course Whitlam made some mistakes ( Timor, for example) but it’s in the context of independence that I want to pay tribute. Within days of coming to office, Whitlam pulled Australian troops from Vietnam, abolished conscription and released draft resisters from jail. Equal pay and equal rights for women, free tertiary education, land rights, Medicare, public Arts funding, and anti-racism legislation were enacted. The White Australia policy was over: he oriented Australia towards Asia and the Pacific, refused to be a colonial power and granted Independence to Papua New Guinea. The Whitlam government was anti-nuclear, challenged the legitimacy of the US spy base at Pine Gap and began to chart a foreign policy independent of Britain and America. His government sought to ‘buy back the farm’ – to have Australia’s rich natural and mineral resources under Australian control and to use the funds to support its ambitious welfare programme. This is just one of the parallels with the Scottish Independence campaign – the desire for autonomy and control of our own resources. The desire to fund social justice. The spirit of the era was optimistic. As one of Whitlam’s advisers later noted: ‘ 1972 was one of the really happy years in Australia…there was just an abundant air of good feeling.’ ”

    • I remember those years. It was the same in NZ. Enormously creative times artiscally which forged a strong identity in both Oz and NZ. Our film industries took off our own pop music and great writing and theatre.

    • The Whitlam government was in fact more complicated and like the Lange Government was in proceeding in two opposite directions, on one attempting to develop a more independent foreign policy and radical social policy while on the other Whitlam under the direction of Treasury secretary John Stone, adopting radical economic reform abandoning import licensing and adopting a very low tarrif policy, ending the protected nature of the Australian economy. Like Lange the advice Whitlam received on the economy was deliberately misleading suggesting the government business enterprises were overstretched and freeing up to allow private business to expand was need to take up the slack. Neverthess the key economic changes in Australia were made a decade earlier in Australia than New Zealand and the Hawke Keating Government is not the radical regime of the Douglas Caygill sort and like Gillard is really attempting to advance by finding consensus, which Douglas only pretends to.
      The real fear of the United States and Nixon and Kissinger was that Whitlam and radical Deputy were threatening the operation of his Key Naval Communications base at NW cape, one of three major communications on earth which communicated with US nuclear attack subs and SSBNs ( and yes they are in continuous communication- despite denials) and also the Nurrangar and Pine Gap satellite communication bases which were ground stations for the US eyes in the sky over the Soviet Union investigating activity at naval bases, ICBM construction and status, movement of key Soviet assets and were in future intended to monitor how much the Soviet Union with any future arms control agreement. With this background the Whitlam condemnation of Operation Linebacker the ferocious B-52 and cruiser bombardment assault on North Vietnam and Hanoi, the mining of theHaipong harbour and the legendry three cruiser raid in Haipong harbour, were greeted with more outrage by the Nixon cabinet than Jane Fondas mounting a Vietcong AA gun mount. Kirk was actually greeted by the US as a visionary statesman throughtout the US in his 73 tour of the states while Whitlam was not invited.

  8. Chris,

    Are the words “deep state” are supposed to explain everything? Why was Whitlam’s ministry so beleaguered in 1975 that necessitated Kerr to step in you forgot to mention. Whitlam’s government was corrupt and he was taking actions that went against the constitution and had a cabinet full of associates whose limited talents had been brutally exposed since the election in 1972. The only reason Kerr went to Fraser was to ask if he would form a government if Whitlam was dismissed.

    This work seems to be another exercise of Labor history in whitewashing how bad Whitlam was a leader and Prime Minister by blaming the situation on anything but the man’s own actions and those of his ministers. I get that your generation like to cling to the popular mythology but there is plenty of well written and properly sourced material on the subject around and I do not think that this work makes any contribution to the historiography of the event.

    I know Chris you like to think he was brought down by a CIA/Kerr led coup but it was Whitlam who forced Kerr to act and there is no getting away from that fact. Ask yourself, if Whitlam was so great, why then when it came time for a general election was the Labor party under his leadership rejected by the voters.

    Sadly for you Chris, some much time has passed I don’t actually think people will care that much about something that happened 40 years ago. Australia has more pressing current challenges to face.

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