Gough Whitlam and the politics of universal human rights

Adam Hughes Henry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The Gough Whitlam Labor government (1972-1975) was short but synonymous with social and political changes in Australian health, education, citizenship and indigenous policies. These changes were often linked to human rights and international law-areas that Whitlam professed strong commitments. In international affairs, Whitlam signalled a stylistic shift for Australian diplomacy emphasising increased regional engagement, greater Australian independence and international law. Whitlam's status as a 'visionary' was heightened by the lamentable manner by which his Labor government lost power-a constitutional crisis brought on by bitter domestic politics ended when he was controversially sacked by Sir John Kerr (the Australian Governor-General) on 11 November 1975. The political and ethical legacy of Whitlam rests on his anti-racism, support for indigenous rights, the erasure of racial preferences within Australian immigration practices, and his stated support for human rights. Another of Whitlam's longest lasting legacies was Portuguese Timor.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)796-827
    JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'Gough Whitlam and the politics of universal human rights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this