The Dismissal by Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston. This review is by John Cook

The Dismissal

The Dismissal

By Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston

This is an updated version of Kelly’s earlier analysis of the Nov 1975 dismissal of Gough Whitlam. The new volume has additional input from Troy Bramston and research previously unavailable material most particularly the papers of Garfield Barwick. It has to be understood that Kelly has become more conservative over the years and this shows at times in the analysis. There are appendices that include detailed original documentation which is examined carefully in the text.

Much is made of a note Malcolm Fraser says he made of a telephone conversation he had with Kerr which indicates that he was given advance notification and made agreements that protected Kerr’s interests.

There is a great deal of careful argument – too much for some – but the position remains the same, that there was a collision of interests between a Liberal with a ‘born to rule’ at any costs mentality, a deeply flawed, defensive and fearful GG and a dismissive man who failed fatally to question his own judgement – all in a context of political and economic turmoil. Any external involvement is treated as being unlikely.

Kerr continues to emerge from analyses such as these a sad individual for whom only some can find pity. His internal logic and responses led him inevitably to his disastrous decision which one reviewer summed up …

Kerr had wildly misjudged the consequences of his actions on November 11. He could have been a hero if he had confronted Whitlam in advance but, too clever by half, he rejected that option.


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