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Palace letters: Secret correspondence sheds light on Whitlam’s dismissal

The release of more than 200 historical letters shows the Queen was not informed before Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was sensationally sacked in 1975.

Buckingham Palace had advised then Governor-General Sir John Kerr the constitution gave him the power to remove Mr Whitlam.

Quoting from the letters, Director General of the National Archives of Australia David Fricker said the Queen was only told after Mr Whitlam was dismissed.

The letters reveal to the public the correspondence with the Palace for the first time, after a High Court ruling back in May.

Until now, they were deemed secret documents.

Sir John wrote in one letter: “I should say, that I decided to take the step I took without informing the Palace in advance, because under the Constitution the responsibility is mine and I was of the opinion that it was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance.”

Ray Hadley said there was no smoking gun.

“There’s no smoking gun, it wasn’t collusion on behalf of the palace, and her appointee, the Governor-General,” he said.

“He took the decision independently, we know that via the trail of letters.”

Image: National Archives of Australia

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