Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Gough Whitlam Memorial Service

Photo: National Archives of Australia
Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was remembered at a state memorial service today at the Sydney Town Hall after passing away on 21 October at the age of 98.  Whitlam was one of the great leaders of the Australian Labor Party, serving as Prime Minister from 1972 - 1975.  Although his term was cut short due to the 1975 constitutional crisis, he is widely remembered for his amazing social policy agenda which included universal health care, free tertiary education, legal aid and the termination of military conscription.

Today's memorial was the closest thing Australia would have to a US Presidential funeral.  All seven living Prime Ministers were in attendance and large crowds gathered outside of the Town Hall to pay their respects.  Two of the most celebrated eulogies were by actress Cate Blanchett, who spoke of how she has benefited from his policies, and Cape York Indigenous leader Noel Pearson, who spoke of Whitlam's vision for universal opportunity.

In addition, Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody sang "From Little Things, Big Things Grow" as a tribute.

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