ONE of Australia’s most towering political figures, former prime minister Gough Whitlam, has died aged 98.
Parliament has been suspended and flags fly at half mast today as the nation remembers Australia’s 21st prime minister serving from 1972 to 1975.
Mr Whitlam was one of Australia’s most controversial public figures and was spectacularly dismissed from the prime ministership by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in 1975.
He will be remembered as one of Labor’s great reformist leaders.
In office, he launched trailblazing reforms that included abolishing national service, pulling troops out of Vietnam, giving extra pay to women, establishing free university courses and improving Aboriginal rights.
Whitlam was also credited for reforming the Australian Labor Party and established diplomatic relations with communist China.
Mr Whitlam was the victim of one of Australia’s great political scandals, the 1975 constitutional crisis that will forever be known as The Dismissal.
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