Policies and Prime Ministership of Gough Whitlam

Topics: Australia, Gough Whitlam, White Australia policy Pages: 5 (933 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Policies and Prime Ministership of Gough Whitlam
Question (a): Write an outline of the changes made by Gough Whitlam when he was Australia’s Prime Minister. Overview
oWide-ranging reform plan
oAimed to quickly change the social aspects of society, rather than solving Australia’s economic problems oWhitlam’s key principles were:
Equality of opportunity
Promotion of the Australian identity
oPost-Vietnam War policies
oWhitlam’s policies addressed many social justice issues
oForeign policy
oHuman rights (women + Indigenous)
oPublic benefit
oNational Identity

Post-war policies
Abolition of conscription for national service
Immediate withdrawal from Vietnam
Release of draft dodgers from prison

Foreign Policy
Official recognition of China within a fortnight of Whitlam’s Prime ministership. Embassies were either restored or constructed in each country Australian support of China in the United Nations

oPapua New Guinea granted self-governance (1973) and independence (1975) oDistancing Australia from American foreign policy
oSouth Africa
Banning of racially-based sporting teams from South Africa Condemnation of apartheid policy in South Africa
oWhitlam supported 13 international human rights initiatives

Human Rights
Office of Women’s Affairs
Promoted policies that would help women achieve equality Wages
Creation of the ‘adult wage’ to replace notions of separate male and female wages Encouraged more women to work and enjoy working
The ‘no-fault’ divorce principle, as part of the Family Law Act (1975) Removed the ‘guilty label’ which had previously undermined rights in custody disputes and property settlements Divorce without reasons

Maternity Leave
Extended maternity leave for single mothers to aid the costs while still retaining their original job. Removal of sales tax on contraceptive pills
oIndigenous Australians
Self-determination policy
The right of a group to choose and control its own destiny Land rights
Established the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Land Rights (1973) Some land (that was denied in the 1971 Gove land rights decision) was returned to the Gurindji people. Repeal of the Migration Acts

Australian Aborigines no longer required permission to travel overseas “All of us Australians are diminished while the Aborigines are denied their rightful place in this nation.” Gough Whitlam (1972). In 4 years, the budget for Aboriginal affairs increased from $23 million to $141 million

oAl Grassby became the new Minister for Immigration
oWhite Australia Policy
Abolition of this policy improved relations with nearby Asian countries Racial Discrimination Act (1975) promoted understanding of other races and ethnic groups “I was profoundly embarrassed by it [the White Australia policy] and did all I could to change it.” Gough Whitlam (2001). oChanges to the Citizenship Act

Immigrants from the United Kingdom no longer took precedence over other Europeans and Asians oCommunity initiatives
radio programs in community languages
migrant education centres
teacher exchange program with Italian government
interpreters for emergency phone calls

Public Benefit
Establishment of the Australian Schools Commission
Disadvantaged Schools Program
‘needs-based’ funding
Expand the resources of poor schools
Abolition of tertiary education school fees
Government funding of tertiary education
Increase from 9% (1960) to 42% (1975)
System of national health insurance
Time-based payments vs. fee for service
Break connection between healthcare and money
Originally payed 85% of the medical bill
oIncreased pensions
25% of average adult weekly wage
oPromotion of ‘the Arts’
Improved facilities and pay for artists (musicians, artists, dancers, actors etc.) Australian Film...
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