The Whitlam Government

Prophetically, in a sense, Whitlam placed an epigraph to his record of The Whitlam Government, 1972-1975 (1985). It reads as follows:

“And one has to reflect that there is nothing more difficult to handle nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to conduct than to make oneself the leader in introducing a new order of things. For the man who introduces it has for enemies all those who do well out of the old order and has lukewarm supporters in all those who will do well out of the new order.

The lukewarmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries who have the laws on their side and partly from the incredulity of mankind who do not put their trust in changes if they do not see them in actual practice. Thus it arises that whenever those who are enemies have the opportunity to go on the attack they do so forcefully and the others put up a lukewarm defence, so putting themselves and their cause at risk at the same time” (from Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), The Prince, at Chapter Six).

But such was the wisdom of the hindsight.

5 thoughts on “The Whitlam Government

  1. So good to come here and read your profile. I hope you will be able to publish your memoirs soon.
    Loved the last blog, an excerpt of Machiavelli! How superb!

  2. I only learned about the CIA coup to remove Whitlam a few years ago. It explains a lot of stuff that occurs here in New Zealand (spying, pro-fluoride legislation, military and trade alliances, etc) that never goes through the full parliamentary process.

  3. Sadly, this is our world right now, Stuart. I think Whitlam was a very reasonable man. He did as much as he was able to do in the way of great reforms while he was in power. There was an election after the coup. Did he understand why the people did not vote him back in? I certainly did not understand it at the time. Now I say that people generally are just too scared of drastic changes. The people must have felt, that all the changes that the Whitlam government brought in, were too many in an extraordinary hurried way.
    People have not changed much since Machiavelli’s time, have they?

  4. Australia and its people don’t like change and are suspicious of progress. If we welcomed change we would by now be a republic, abolished private schools and have stopped kneeling down, cap in hand, to the US.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s