‘Palace letters’ show the Queen did not advise, or encourage, Kerr to sack Whitlam government

The Constitution Unit Blog

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Four decades after the dismissal of the Whitlam government, letters between the Palace and the Governor-General of Australia have been made public. Anne Twomey explains that they show the Queen acted properly, neither advising or encouraging the government’s dismissal, recommending simply that he obey the Australian Constitution.

For more than four decades, the question has been asked: did the Queen know the governor-general, Sir John Kerr, was about to dismiss the Whitlam government, and did she encourage or support that action? The release of the ‘palace letters’ between Kerr and the palace can now lay that question to rest. The answer was given, unequivocally, by the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, in a letter to Kerr on November 17 1975. He said:

‘If I may say so with the greatest respect, I believe that in NOT informing The Queen what you intended to do before doing it, you acted…

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