Whitlam's Foreign Policies

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Assess the effectiveness of Whitlam's progressive approach in reference to the international relations decisions made whilst in power?

Edward Gough Whitlam's time as the leader of the Government and the Australian Labour Party from 1972-1975 was a time of rapid and progressive change. After his election in December 1972 the Whitlam government would pass 203 acts the next year. These years under the leadership of Edward Gough Whitlam were years of immense change in society with reforms. He set up several government bodies including government bodies such as the Law Reform Commission and the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission, as well as an agency for Women's Affairs. From the beginning of Whitlam’s political career he would achieve firsts as an individual and for the nation. He was conscious of the world events evolving around him and was interested in developing Australia’s relationship with Asia and his wish to establish Australia’s independence from America and the United Kingdom. His decisions about foreign policies and multiculturalism throughout his time as prime minister helped to develop a bond between Asia and Australia. However all did not support his choices as many of these decisions challenged old laws and ideas and his decisions were considered radical and progressive. Overall his actions created better diplomatic relationships for Australia and opened us up to multiculturalism.

Whitlam’s first act as a prime minister in December 1972 was to end conscription, which despite troops already starting to withdraw from Vietnam, the government had continued to enforce conscription and apply the legal penalty for refusing. Whilst he was not responsible for the decision to withdraw the troops from Vietnam, as this had already started to occur before he came to power, the official proclamation from the Governor General was delivered whilst he was in power. The removal of the troops was the beginning of Australia’s loosening of its ties with America and...
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