- Title: Britain's Queen Elizabeth not told before Australia's historic PM sacking
- Date: 14th July 2020
- Summary: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (JULY 14, 2020) (REUTERS) LETTER FROM NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA FROM FORMER GOVERNOR GENERAL SIR JOHN KERR TO QUEEN ELIZABETH'S FORMER PRIVATE SECRETARY MARTIN CHARTERIS PERSON READING LETTER PERSON POINTING AT PARAGRAPH OF KERR EXPLAINING WHY HE DIDN'T INFORM THE QUEEN VARIOUS OF LETTER FROM THE PALACE
- Embargoed: 28th July 2020 08:24
- Keywords: Governor-General John Kerr Prime Minister Gough Whitlam Queen
- Location: CANBERRA, SYDNEY, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
- City: CANBERRA, SYDNEY, ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
- Country: Australia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004CMS51S7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Queen Elizabeth's representative in Australia fired a Prime Minister without warning the palace - or the Prime Minister - because "under the constitution the responsibility is mine", according to archived letters released on Tuesday (July 14).
"It's an insight into Sir John's rationale. Sir John's thinking as the Governor General for why he did what he did and this is his explanation to the Queen as to why he took the action he did," said Director-General of the Australia National Archives David Fricker as he presented the findings to the media on Tuesday.
In a Nov. 11, 1975 dispatch, Governor-General John Kerr told the Queen's private secretary he took the unprecedented step to sack Prime Minister Gough Whitlam as Whitlam prepared to end a months-long budget standoff by calling a partial Senate election.
"I decided to take this step ... without informing the Palace in advance," Kerr wrote to former private secretary Martin Charteris on the day of Whitlam's dismissal.
"It was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance, though it is ... my duty to tell her immediately," Kerr added, according to the documents.
The release of 211 so-called "palace letters" pulls the veil from one of the great mysteries of Australian politics, and may reignite a conversation about whether the country should cut ties with Britain and become a republic.
(Production: Jill Gralow)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None