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Book sheds new light on Whitlam government dismissal

It has been 40 years since the historic Whitlam government dismissal but a book is shedding new light on what exactly happened.

In ‘The Dismissal Dossier: Everything you were never meant to know about November 1975’, author and political scientist Jenny Hocking reveals the governor general at the time may not have acted alone.

On November 11 in 1975, Governor General Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam and appointed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister.

The Whitlam government had struggled to get supply through the Senate and Mr Fraser, then leader of the Opposition, was agitating for the prime minister to be replaced.

Sir John Kerr acquiesced and was in secret discussions with Mr Fraser about removing Whitlam in the lead-up to November 11, the book reveals.

Ms Hocking said the dismissal came as a complete surprise to Mr Whitlam, who described it as an ‘ambush’, because he had already planned to call a half-senate election.

But Ms Hocking said the Governor General’s actions were one of the most important aspects of the dismissal.

‘It is not the governor-general to determine when a government ends,’ she told Tom Elliott.

‘That is the number one thing that has been forgotten from the history.’

Listen: Ms Hocking discusses her new book on 3AW Drive