Comparing Whitlam’s legacy to other governments

Willow Tree’s Neil Forscutt decided to check out what legacies Gough Whitlam left behind in his term as prime minister and compared them to some other Australian leaders’ achievements.

Reminiscing about Edward Gough Whitlam, one is encouraged to look up his political history with the purpose in mind, to compare that government with those governments that followed.

Having done this, it is quite obvious that the Whitlam government’s decisions in many areas, including the universal health scheme, no- fault divorce and the national sewerage scheme, ranked in importance alongside John Curtin’s decision to bring the Australian Diggers back from the Middle East, to defend Australia from the Japanese invasion.

It is difficult to find more than two acts by any government that would rank equal in importance, as most that followed, changed things, rather than initiating anythinguseful.

One act of Parliament that ranks alongside Whitlam’s initiatives is, of course, The National Disability Insurance Scheme introduced by Julia Gillard and her government.

The other is the “compulsory superannuation scheme” introduced by Paul Keating.

The reason for the super move was to lessen the demand on the budget by retirees, but given that so many hands are getting an annual cut, it is doubtful that this scheme will fulfill its obligation any time soon.

Today we see many unnecessary people fighting against a modest and sensible reduction to their retirement entitlements.

This was the starting point for many Australian governments.

The first cab off the rank would be a review of their wages and entitlements – all done by an independent tribunal, of course.

The second move would be to create a list of what public assets they could sell to help pay for their own spending.

Keating sold the Commonwealth Bank and Peter Costello sold half of the gold we had in the vault – 167 tonnes at $306.00 an oz.

Most of the initiatives created by governments today get much headline space in the newspapers, but are not really of universal value.

They generally assist asmall, preferred section of thecommunity.

Anyone who cannot applaud Whitlam’s tenure as prime minister, is a diluted commentator in regard to advice on politics.

He was responsible for so much – supporting mothers’ benefits,

Aboriginal land rights, abolishing the White Australia policy, Trade Practices Act, protection for the Great Barrier Reef (now under threat again), Council for the Arts, Royal Style and Titles Act – just to list a very few.

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