Editorial - Wednesday, October 22: Whitlam legacy lives on

FOUR decades since he was unceremoniously booted from office, and one day after he died, Gough Whitlam still divides opinions utterly.

There are many who revere his time in office, and just as many who loathed his government and still do today. Few seem to fit in between.

No matter what side you are on, it is unarguable that Mr Whitlam was one of the most significant figures in Australian politics. Essentially, he created modern Australian politics, taking it from the shadow of the Second World War and the Cold War into the era dominated by the Baby Boomers.

And as chaotic as his government often was (today's politics just doesn't have characters like Jim Cairns and Junie Morosi or Rex Connor and Tirath Khemlani, although Clive Palmer might come close), history has been far kinder than the voters were in 1975, when, after being dismissed, Mr Whitlam lost the subsequent election in a landslide.

The Whitlam Government's record has stood the test of time and achievements such as universal healthcare, free tertiary education, relations with China and no-fault divorce have shaped the nation since.

David Moase,

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