Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam has died aged 98.
“Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98,” Mr Whitlam’s children Antony, Nicholas and Stephen Whitlam and Catherine Dovey said in a statement this morning.
“A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.
“There will be a private cremation and a public memorial service.”
Edward Gough Whitlam — born in Kew, Melbourne, a graduate of Knox Grammar and Canberra Grammar and a former barrister — was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, from 1972 to 1975. The election of the his government on 2 December 1972 ended 23 years of conservative rule.
During its three years in power, the Whitlam government instituted sweeping changes that transformed Australian society.
As The Guardian reports, those changes included the creation of Australia’s national health insurance scheme, the abolition of university fees, the introduction of environmental protection legislation, the return of traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people, the withdrawal of remaining Australian troops from Vietnam, the passing of the Racial Discrimination Act and the removal of God Save the Queen as the national anthem.
Whitlam was famously ousted by governor-general Sir John Kerr on on 11 November 1975, at the culmination of the Australian constitutional crisis — an event that remains one of the most controversial events in Australian political history.
He retired from politics in 1978.
Gough Whitlam’s wife, charity advocate and women’s rights campaigner Margaret Whitlam (nee Dovey), passed away in 2012 aged 92.