Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 November 2015



3:42 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that Wednesday, 11 November 2015, marks 40 years since the dismissal of the Whitlam Government by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr;

(b) recognises the significant contribution made by the Whitlam Government to the creation of modern Australia, inspiring and transforming the nation, including through:

(i) ending conscription,

(ii) establishing universal healthcare through Medibank, the precursor to Medicare,

(iii) implementing education reforms like needs-based funding for schools and free vocational and university education, and introducing the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme,

(iv) ending the last legal vestiges of White Australia,

(v) slashing tariff barriers by 25 per cent,

(vi) establishing diplomatic and trade relations with the People's Republic of China,

(vii) replacing Australia's adversarial divorce laws with a new, no-fault system,

(viii) introducing Australia's first federal legislation on human rights, the environment and heritage,

(ix) introducing sweeping electoral reforms—the vote for 18-year-olds, Senate representation for the territories, and 'one vote, one value',

(x) establishing the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Law Reform Commission, the Australian Film Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission, the Technical and Further Education Commission, a national employment and training program;

(xi) launching construction of the National Gallery of Australia , making the Australia Council a statutory authority, and vigorously promoting the arts,

(xii) improving the position of women and our Indigenous population through reforms such as laws banning discrimination of the grounds of race and sex, equal pay for women in the Public Service and the creation of a separate ministry responsible for Aboriginal affairs and instituting Indigenous land rights,

(xiii) creating a single Department of Defence rather than separate departments for Army, Navy and Air Force,

(xiv) establishing the Royal Commission on Human Relationships,

(xv) changing the national anthem to Advance Australia Fair,

(xvi) replacing the British Honours system with the Order of Australia,

(xvii) abolishing appeals to the Privy Council,

(xviii) replacing the Postmaster-General's Department with Telecom and Australia Post, and

(xix) establishing the Legal Aid Office, the National Film and Television School, the Australian Development Assistance Agency, the Prices Justification Tribunal and the Trade Practices Commission;

(c) affirms the principle that the Senate should not withhold supply;

(d) supports the view of the Prime Minister that letters between Sir John Kerr and Her Majesty The Queen concerning the dismissal are official records written by the Governor-General in discharge of his duty and should be released under the existing 30-year disclosure rule applying to such records; and

(e) calls on the Government to act to facilitate the release of the correspondence.

Question agreed to.