Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides


Gough Whitlam: Guide to Archives of Australia's Prime Ministers


Chapter 4 - Member for Werriwa, 1952–67

There are several officially recorded series of papers at the National Archives of Australia relating to Gough Whitlam's significant period as a Member of Parliament. Several of these records overlap with his later rise to prominence within the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the subject of Chapter 5. These include records from his membership of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, the parliamentary and policy records he collected as local member, records of the ALP Federal Executive and daily Hansard copies closely annotated by Whitlam.

Gough Whitlam was elected to the federal seat of Werriwa on 29 November 1952, at a by-election following the death of the long-term sitting ALP member HP (Bert) Lazzarini. Whitlam was well known in his local community, having previously unsuccessfully stood for the NSW Legislative Assembly seat of Sutherland 1950 and contesting the Sutherland Shire Council election later the same year for the Cronulla Ward. With his success in the Werriwa by-election Whitlam achieved a record vote for the ALP of 66 per cent and a swing of more than 12 per cent. He celebrated by buying the family's first car and a hat – seen as an essential part of the politician's outfit.

Early parliamentary service

National Archives of Australia

RECORDS OF THE CONSTITUTION REVIEW COMMITTEE, 1949–59
Sydney

The series comprises records relating to the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review. It includes records of proceedings, minutes of meetings, transcripts of hearings and the final report. The committee was appointed by Prime Minister Menzies in 1956 to review all matters relating to the Australian Constitution. Whitlam was a member of the committee from 1956 to 1959. The final report was tabled on 26 November 1959 (Parliamentary Paper Number: 108).

Series: M178
Quantity: 0.6 metres
Recorded by: 1956–59 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (Leader of the Opposition) (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
'GRAHAM FREUDENBERG'S FILES' – FILES OF THE PRINCIPAL SPEECH WRITER TO GOUGH WHITLAM, 1961–73
Sydney

The series consists of the files of Graham Freudenberg, Gough Whitlam's chief speech writer. It contains drafts and final copies of speeches made by Whitlam in the period 1961 to 1973.

Series: M156
Quantity: 1.8 metres
Recorded by: 1967–73 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (Leader of the Opposition) (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
Edward Gough Whitlam notes, 1966–72

This file comprises examples of Whitlam's working method. It contains annotated copies of Hansard as well as notes on scraps of paper to Freudenberg and Whitlam's Private Secretary, Race Mathews. One note reads 'ask Race how many deaths in Vietnam'.

M156, 1
PARLIAMENTARY AND POLICY RECORDS COLLECTED BY WHITLAM AS DEPUTY LEADER AND LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, 1960–72
Sydney

This series comprises reference materials from Whitlam's parliamentary office in Canberra. The contents include annual reports of Commonwealth agencies and other organisations, parliamentary publications, ALP publications, and correspondence files accumulated during Whitlam's terms as Deputy Leader and Leader of the Opposition.

Series: M157
Quantity: 44 metres
Recorded by: 1960–72 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
ELECTORAT E FILES CREAT ED BY GOUGH WHITLAM AS MEMBER FOR WERRIWA
Sydney

The series consists of Gough Whitlam's electorate files as the Member of Parliament for the seat of Werriwa; it covers the period 1952 onwards. Whitlam was first elected at a by-election on 29 November 1952, following the death of Bert Lazzarini.

The series is arranged in three distinct parts: Elections – House of Representatives and Senate, both state and local; Departments of state and other government agencies; and General.

Series: M181
Quantity: 12 metres
Recorded by: 1952–78 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE, CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES, 1960–78
Sydney

This series comprises ALP Federal Executive records. It is arranged chronologically and includes the minutes of meetings, correspondence regarding the convening of meetings and ALP publications.

Series: M2282
Quantity: 2.5 metres
Recorded by: 1960–78 The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE OF THE AUSTRALIA LABOR PART Y COLLECTED BY MR WHITLAM, 1960–78
Sydney

This series of records comprises ALP documentation and correspondence collected by Gough Whitlam while he was a member and then leader of the party. Materials include correspondence with ALP branch offices, the results of branch office elections, agenda items for ALP Federal Conferences, briefing notes, policy directions, and Caucus meeting agendas and notes. The records have been arranged by subject.

Series: M2283
Quantity: 4.5 metres
Recorded by: 1960–78 The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
Dunstan, Don, 1968–72

This file comprises examples of Whitlam's working method. It contains annotated copies of Hansard as well as notes on scraps of paper to Freudenberg and Whitlam's Private Secretary, Race Mathews. One note reads 'ask Race how many deaths in Vietnam'.

M156, 1
FOLDERS CONTAINING ACCEPTANCES TO INVITATIONS AND REPLIES, CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES, 1963–77
Sydney

This series consists of folders of invitations that Whitlam accepted; copies of replies are attached. The invitations are arranged chronologically by date of function, there being one or more folders for each month. Some folders include details of Whitlam's overseas visits. From dates on folders, it appears some may be missing.

Series: M875
Quantity: 2.5 metres
Recorded by: 1963–77 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99); 1972–75 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Prime Minister's Office (CA 1401)
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO MESSAGES, FOREWORDS AND ARTICLES WRITTEN BY MR WHITLAM FOR PUBLICATIONS , 1967–75
Sydney

The series comprises folders of letters to Whitlam from authors and editors soliciting messages, forewords or articles for publication in journals and other publications. It includes replies and copies of corresponding completed messages, forewords or articles.

Series: M534
Quantity: 0.2 metres
Recorded by: 1967–75 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99); 1972–75 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Prime Minister's Office (CA 1401)
ORIGINAL CARTOONS FEATURING WHITLAM, 1967–75
Sydney

This series comprises various-sized original drawings of Whitlam by political cartoonists for publication in newspapers.

Series: M547
Quantity: 0.4 metres
Recorded by: 1967–68 The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99); 1967–75 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (CA 692)
ANNOTATED DAILY (PROOF) HANSARD, 1972–77
Sydney

The series comprises daily (proof) copies of Hansard for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Copies are annotated on the front covers with subjects and page references that act as an index to Whitlam's speeches or other items of interest. The series is by no means complete – there are large gaps – but it provides an interesting insight into Whitlam's working method, his meticulous note taking and extensive use of Questions on Notice.

Series: M545
Quantity: 1.8 metres
Recorded by: Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (Leader of the Opposition) (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
PHOTOGRAPHS RELATING TO WHITLAM'S PARLIAMENTARY TERM OF OFFICE, CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES, 1952–78
Sydney

These photographs cover Whitlam's activities during his parliamentary career, from the time he became the Member for Werriwa until he retired from parliament in 1978. The photographs show family gatherings, meetings with foreign dignitaries on overseas trips, electioneering activities, and various official and unofficial occasions. Also included are publicity portraits of Gough and Margaret Whitlam and of Labor ministers.

Series: M155
Quantity: 3.7 metres
Recorded by: 1952–78 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (Leader of the Opposition) (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
Photographs taken on trip to Vietnam, 1966

Gough Whitlam toured Vietnam in 1966 with his private secretary John Menadue.

M155, B8
Whitlam and US President LB Johnson, 1967

Gough Whitlam met with President Johnson in 1957. Whitlam was presented with a photo album from the visit.

M155, C2
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED MATERIAL, 1966–76
Sydney

The series comprises printed and published materials received or collected by Whitlam. The materials relate to ALP and government matters and include printed copies of speeches, lectures and broadcasts made by Whitlam in the lead-up to the 1972 election. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series: M541
Quantity: 3.1 metres
Recorded by: 1966–76 Department of the House of Representatives – Member for Werriwa (Leader of the Opposition) (CA 692); The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
Personal papers of Prime Minister Whitlam – Australian Labor Party Federal Executive decision regarding Victorian Branch, 1970

This item consists of six copies of the ALP Federal Executive's historic decision on the Victorian Central Executive, enabling federal intervention in the Victorian branch.

M541, 24
PAPERS OF CAROL SUMMERHAYES (WHITLAM'S PERSONAL SECRETARY), 1963–72
Sydney

The series comprises miscellaneous correspondence, notes, reports and press material collected by Carol Summerhayes in her capacity as Gough Whitlam's personal secretary and longstanding member of his office.

Series: M176
Quantity: 0.9 metres
Recorded by: 1963–72 The Hon. Edward Gough Whitlam AC, QC (CP 99)
Personal papers of Prime Minister Whitlam – relating to the Constitution Review Committee, 1956–57 M176, 16
Personal papers of Prime Minister Whitlam – Australian Labor Party Federal Labor Women's Organisation – copies of letters and newsletters, 1970

Whitlam gave regular speeches to the ALP Women's Organisation. This item includes his correspondence with the organisation.

M176, 54

Early speeches and policies

Whitlam Institute
ALP Werriwa by-election, 1952

This newspaper advertisement declared Whitlam's stance on employment, social services and public assets, and spending on homes, schools and hospitals.

Australian Labor Party – selection of a candidate for Werriwa, Saturday, 19 April 1952

This flyer featured a photograph of Whitlam and listed the various local and community activities in which he was involved, along with personal details and a 'How to vote' sample card.

Troops for Malaya – federal minister opposes, 1955

Whitlam argued the case for political self-determination and economic selfdetermination for the people of Malaya and questioned the Menzies government's unqualified commitment of Australian troops to the conflict.

Commonwealth aid to universities; why not to schools?, 1963

Whitlam outlined his plan for state aid to government schools based on need through federal funding.

Northern Territory, 1956

Whitlam argued the need for appropriate parliamentary representation for Australia's territories.

Equal pay for men and women, 1958

This is an early statement by Whitlam on the need for equal pay for work of equal value.

The 14th Roy Milne Lecture, 1963

A major foreign policy speech covering the importance of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security (ANZUS) Treaty, racial discrimination, decolonised independence in New Guinea, the need to recognise communist China, the importance of the United Nations and international covenants.

Australia: Base or Bridge? Inaugural HV Evatt Memorial Lecture in International Relations, 1966

Whitlam further elaborated his and the ALP's approach to critical issues in Australia's foreign policy, particularly in the context of the escalating war in Vietnam.


TOP OF PAGE