Podcast review: The Eleventh.

One of the benefits of self-isolation during the Age of Corona is the ability to binge listen to podcasts. This week I have gobbled up the ABC podcast The Eleventh.

Most Australians over 55 will get the reference almost immediately. The Eleventh of November is  Remembrance Day, but politically aware Australians also remember it as the day our democracy took a beating.

On this day in 1975, the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam and the elected government were sacked by the Governor-General.

I was 14, but I still remember it vividly. It’s hard to believe it was 45 years ago! I can also remember back to the night that that Labor Party was first voted in,  in 1972. That night was the first time I had ever stayed up all night. My parents were at a party, gathered around the TV, waiting for the results. Unlike these days when things are all wrapped up by about 10 PM, results took all night.

This podcast, presented by Alex Mann, is an entertaining, in-depth and balanced analysis of the events leading up to the Dismissal. His team have made extensive use of the archived materials and recordings that have been available for researchers for some time. However one set of papers of vitally important papers, letters to the Queen, remain locked up.

Listening to the podcast was eye-opening. I knew about the event and the story in outline form, I did not realise just how deep things went.  Was America involved? Did they play a part? Did they topple our government like they had in other places? This podcast answers some of those questions. Some can’t be answered.

Regardless of your politics and whether you agreed with the Whitlam Government’s reforms, it should never have happened. It had not happened before, and it has never happened again. The podcast spells out step by step and in glorious detail who had a hand in it and why it happened.

There is plenty of intrigue and mystery. Alex’s style is very easy to listen too. Even though the main players, Whitlam, Fraser and Kerr are all dead, the combination of archival footage, contemporary interviews with those who are still alive and Mann’s pleasant voice make it easy listening.

Regardless of whether you are a dyed in the wool Liberal or Greens voter, thank Gough and his government for universal health cover, childcare,  no-fault divorce laws, ending conscription, indigenous land rights and many other things we enjoy here in Australia. I, for one, benefited from his free tertiary education policy, which sadly has been dismantled. You can read a quick summary of their achievements in this speech.

AND thank goodness for the ABC!

I give the podcast 5 stars!

 

 

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This is my daughter with Gough in 2012 (?). Margaret in the background.
  • The banner image courtesy of the podcast

Australia is burning. What are you going to do about it?

Koalas and kangaroos are being incinerated in front of our eyes. Not to mention the snakes, birds, wombats and less “cuddly” creatures that call our bush home.

The sky is smoky. Sometimes it smells, other times it doesn’t.

Elton John donated a cool mill (in US dollars or pounds I hope!) Pink has chucked in $500K as well. Russell didn’t go to the Golden Globes because he was preparing his home for the onslaught of fire in the area where he lives.

“Scomo”, as we rather unfondly refer to our current Prime Minister smells more than the rotting carcasses of the animals trapped by the heat.

Meanwhile some of us are volunteering as front line fire fighters or as support to those front-liners. Some of us are making wraps for burnt animals. Some of us are donating physical goods, food and water. Schools are getting stationary packs together for the kids in communities that have been destroyed.

Many of us are angry at our politicians and their inaction. Many of us are angry at the media who are misleading us.  But we should be angry at ourselves too. We have a working democracy. We voted these people

in. We allowed them to change the media ownership rules. We allowed them to not fund NSWRFS or the NWPS by not voting them out.

Was it just complacency? Or were we swayed by the fact that we expect “others” to fix the climate. The climate is not going to change by government action alone. Of course, that is crucial but what are YOU going to do to do your bit?

It’s going to take a whole lot more than reusable shopping bags to fix this problem. What changes are you prepared to make?