Fully Flushed Friday Raffles

“It was said of Caesar Augustus that he found a Rome of brick and left it of marble. It will be said of Gough Whitlam that he found Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane unsewered, and left them fully flushed.”

Neville Wran

From Laurie Oakes’ book Power Plays: The Real Stories of Australian Politics:

Happy 80th, Gough! Now, about your funeral

16 July 1996

Here’s a cheerful thought for Gough Whitlam as he celebrates his 80th birthday – a spectacular funeral is being planned for him. Not that anyone is in a rush, mind you. Fortunately, the great man is in such robust health that official approval of arrangements for a state funeral fit for such a legend will very likely not be required until well after Prime Minister Mark Latham, a former Whitlam staffer and protégé, moves into the Lodge. But it is best to be prepared. Something special will be called for – not at all the sort of thing that can be thrown together overnight. So an informal group of family and friends has been discussing the matter, on and off, for some years. The plans are stowed away in a file kept by the former prime minister’s eldest son, Nick. Big, wonderful, over-the-top plans, like the man himself; mostly serious, but with an element of tongue in cheek, as you’d expect.

Winston Churchill issued instructions for his own funeral. Whitlam is not that involved, even though the plans are of Churchillian proportions. In fact, apparently he goes uncharacteristically quiet when the matter of funeral arrangements is mentioned in his presence. But he has made one major contribution: his wishes on the music that should be played are part of Nick’s file.

* * * * * * *

So . . . the funeral plans. One of the pieces Whitlam has selected is Va, pensiero, the slaves’ chorus from Verdi’s opera Nabucco which gave expression to the Italian people’s aspirations for liberty and self-government. Va, pensiero became the theme song of Garibaldi’s followers during the Risorgimento – the uprising to unite Italy. The second piece he has nominated is more esoteric, but no less Whitlamesque – The March of the Consular Guard at Marengo, by an obscure French composer, celebrating one of Napoleon’s great victories. Whitlam was fascinated by Napoleon even as a child, but his sister, Freda, once told me that it was not so much the warlike side of Napoleon that appealed to young Gough as the French emperor’s civic achievements and the legal system he established.

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral is the loose model for what is being planned. The idea is that the main ceremony would be held in Sydney Town Hall, after which a catafalque bearing the coffin would proceed to the historic Mortuary Station, built in 1869 and heritage-listed. Lincoln became the first president to lie in state at the US Capitol rotunda before being carried home to Springfield, Illinois, by train, with stops along the way for people to pay their respects . . .

Not surprisingly, the funeral will be private. But I bet the memorial service on 5th November will go close to breaking records for attendance:

This evening, then, let’s charge our glasses and drink to the memory of one of Australia’s greatest-ever prime ministers. Let’s have music, dancing, merriment, and celebration of the light that has been, and the light that will come again as long as the men and women of Australia keep the faith.

(Image Credit: Australian War Memorial)

(Image Credit: Sydney Morning Herald)

(Image Credit: Bytes)

(Image Credit: News Limited (sorry))

(Image Credit: ABC)

(Image Credit: Courier Mail)

(Image Credit: SBS)

(Image Credit: ABC)

(Image Credit: Wentworth Courier)

Ave et vale Gough Whitlam

200 thoughts on “Fully Flushed Friday Raffles

  1. Talking to my mother tonight, and the subject of Gough came up. Turns out it was The Dismissal that got her (not quite 15 back then) interested in politics and how we’re governed-a passion I have inherited.
    Before I arrived and buffered things up, she was a journo with the local paper. She met Gough several times in that capacity. Every time, he remembered her, amongst what must have been thousands of people he encountered. He had, as Mum put it, an ability to make it seem like the conversation he was having with you was all he was interested in at that moment.

  2. Nature imitating art. A giant sunspot pointed at earth is/was causing concern. An eruption now would fry all our electronics. This picture of it looks quite Vincent Van Gogh.

  3. As I said:

    Yasir Shah to Warner, OUT, but he follows that turner with a ripper, and Warner has no answer, huge turn and bounce
    DA Warner b Yasir Shah 133 (174b 11×4 2×6) SR: 76.43

  4. Evening all. The BlackHawks must be harrassing some other neighbourhood tonight; all is quiet tonight.
    Congratz to narns! Thanks once again CK.

  5. Just watching the Stones on 7.5 local…jeez!..thems were the days!…crikey, us boomers had the best ..; sex, drugs and rock and roll !………..paradise lost.

  6. CTar,

    I know that only too well – and I’ve been teaching a bunch of 3rd year uni students (including a fair swag of mature age grad dip students) all of whom consider themselves entitled to top range grades on all of their assessments.

    Doesn’t work like that.

    It has been interesting, but shocking, to observe the level of entitlement rise over the past two decades – and, to my horror, I’ve been teaching for nearly that long.

  7. ANARCHY….!!!!!!!!!!…greta one…I got their album…great when you want to “slum it” or play ; “air-lead-singer” !

  8. Fiona

    Worked with a guy who gave up teaching at Uni. He was damn good and had led a team who won a Eureka Prize a couple of years before. I can still hear the incredulity in his voice as he explained why he left. An old school chemist he said things are such now that when a student fails something management makes him justify the result and made him feel to blame for the student’s failure. He took quite a pay cut moving into industry but he was mighty happy to be out of that BS.

  9. Kaff
    But students are ‘consumers’ now, and the course is the ‘product’ and if the student does not get a good mark, it is the fault of the lecturers errr suppliers of the product.

    Get with the program, mate.

  10. Kaffeeklatscher,

    I will never have a full-time position at any university – my publications list isn’t long enough.

    This year I’ve been sessional (for the previous four I’ve had a 0.2 annual contract), and I’m at an age where I don’t particularly care.

    I do care, however, about being a good teacher (very much to my surprise it appears I am one); I provide as much encouragement and support to the students as is reasonable.

    However, what makes me violently ill is seeing the Entitled Ones turn up with their mummies and daddies AND barristers to demand that the EOs’ grades be reassessed.

    I do understand that sense of entitlement on the part of graduate diploma students. However, the fee does NOT buy you the grade of your preference.

    Will I have a job next year? Dunno, and I’m now almost indifferent.

  11. The Zombie Terror Jihadi Terror in Canadia story unraveling.

    ‘I want to be in jail so I can overcome my crack addiction’: Why 2011 testimony from Canadian gunman throws into doubt terror theory as it is revealed there is ‘no evidence’ of jihadist links

    This comes as Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says there is currently ‘no evidence’ of any terrorist ties in the shooting


  12. Fiona,

    BBC is my overnight can’t sleep preference too. Makes the ABC look like occupants of Third Class, which they are.

  13. Kaffeeklatscher,


    They are already well on their way to burning books – anything to do with climate change, to begin with.

  14. http://www.afr.com/p/special_reports/opportunityasia/john_kerry_to_tony_abbott_steer_uldTHDLLR59nsVZ5y7aluL

    John Kerry to Tony Abbott: steer clear of China bank
    PUBLISHED: 23 Oct 2014 23:36:00 | UPDATED: 24 Oct 2014 11:23:20
    Phillip Coorey and Lisa Murray

    United States Secretary of State John Kerry has personally asked Tony Abbott to keep Australia out of China’s new ­infrastructure development bank, ­intensifying Canberra’s dilemma over which way to jump.

    Australia has been under pressure from the US for some time to not become a founding member of the bank and it is understood Mr Kerry put the case directly to the Prime Minister when the pair met in Jakarta on Monday ­following the inauguration of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.


    Foreign scientists call on Stephen Harper to restore science funding, freedom
    Open letter warns about effects of Canadian science policy on international collaboration
    By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2014 5:27 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014 1:19 PM ET

    Hundreds of scientists around the world are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end “burdensome restrictions on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.”

    The call was made in an open letter drafted by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that represents U.S. scientists and uses science to advocate for environmental sustainability.


    Surveillance, intelligence and accountability: an Australian story
    PUBLISHED: 19 hours 37 MINUTES AGO | UPDATE: 11 hours 26 MINUTES AGO
    John Faulkner

    Of all the responsibilities of the Australian Parliament, none is more important than ensuring the security of our nation and its people. Today we confront emerging and serious threats to our national security.

    The Australian Parliament’s responsibility is clear. It must ensure our intelligence and security agencies have the necessary powers and resources to protect Australian citizens and Australian interests. But these powers can impinge on the values and freedoms on which our democracy is founded – qualities which Australian citizens rightly expect Parliament to protect.


    ABC planning secret news-chat show to replace state-based 7.30
    October 24, 2014 – 7:09PM
    Michael Lallo
    Entertainment reporter

    The ABC is secretly planning a national news-chat show – inspired partly by commercial programs such as The Project – to replace its state-based editions of 7.30, Fairfax Media can reveal.

    The new program would be anchored by 7.30’s national presenter Leigh Sales, with Kitchen Cabinet host Annabel Crabb and comedian Dan Ilic touted as possible co-hosts or guests. It is likely to be produced by Sally Neighbour, 7.30’s executive producer, who is spearheading its development.

    But the plan – understood to be a response to the Abbott government’s ABC budget cuts – may anger some viewers, who fear a reduction in localised news and current affairs.

    Management is yet to sign off on the axing of the state-based 7.30 programs and sources say its replacement is merely being “discussed as an idea, that’s all … it’s very early days and nothing is certain”.


    Barney backs down on funding figures
    23 Oct, 2014 12:10 PM

    SHADOW Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon is claiming a salutary political victory over his National party rival Barnaby Joyce, after a vocal debate over drought support payments that boiled throughout the week in Canberra.

    Yesterday, Mr Joyce was forced to correct an answer he made during Monday’s question time on the number of drought support applications, which Mr Fitzgibbon said amounted to “an enormously embarrassing retraction”.

  15. So, is China or the US Tone’s BFF? US without a shadow of doubt. To the detriment of Australia in the Asian C21.

  16. If the ABC wants to improve “ratings” then dropping a “serious” (stop laughing) program for look-at-me stuff then they are seriously deluded.

    The ABC will never capture the 17 to 35s: they lost them years ago. Think Bandstand.

  17. Oz have avoided the follow-on with 4 wickets standing. Not that that matters. At the end, the Aussies should congratulate Pakistan for winning the toss.

  18. “….Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says there is currently ‘no evidence’ of any terrorist ties in the shooting”

    I told you so……

  19. Fiona….My OH…shared to a “t” those same sentiments and situations when she was in that position…..you are not alone.

  20. “….Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird says there is currently ‘no evidence’ of any terrorist ties in the shooting”

    Vive le Québec libre!

  21. Leone,

    The Pub universe was well aware. That doesn’t stop Sauron’s servant from serving up self-serving disaster scenarios.

    Joseph G would have been proud of him.

  22. I don’t have a high opinion of Canadian PM Harper, but at least he and his ministers seem susceptible to rational thinking and evidence – at least, some of the time.

    Unlike our present goons.

  23. I think those three ladies, how shall I put it, should have some advice about upper torso garments.

  24. Although there’s another (Freudian) interpretation – Pyne regards Blood Oaf as a girlie boy.

    If I were Blood Oaf, I’d be worried.

  25. Been givin’ it a bit of thought of late…all these little bits and pieces of tricksey the Abbott and co. have been up to lately..a lot of quasi and real criminal activity…and everyone involved and associated is keeping shtoom..it is now like a house of cards..all it needs is just one person to lose it, shoot their mouth off, get a guilty one and it all comes tumbling down….there’s a key to it all there…Credlin?..Texta?…Loughane? (sp.)…any one of the cabinet or the embedded MSM.? …..someone in ASIO?, the AFP?…Fairwork Aust?…the patrons in mining, energy, banking, media?….who or whatever is holding this whole rotten, decaying, scrappy heap of junk together, certainly has their hands full…and it cannot last much longer…something has to give.

  26. For many years now it has been the case that if top Oz batting fails then the tail makes up for it. Let’s see.

    Mind you, I wouldn’t call 128 runs before the first wicket fell a fail.

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