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Research Guides


Malcolm Fraser: Guide to Archives of Australia's Prime Ministers


Chapter 2: Records about Malcolm Fraser in the National Archives of Australia

The Dismissal, 1975

The controversial dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by Governor-General Sir John Kerr on 11 November 1975 changed the course of Australian history. Although the Coalition won strong majorities in both the 1975 and 1977 elections, and won a third term in 1980, the controversy continued.

Records

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1929–
This is the Attorney-General's Department's main correspondence files series.
Series: A432
Quantity: 2182 metres (Canberra), 291 metres (Sydney)
Recorded by: 1929–: Attorney-General's Department, Central Office (CA 5)
Whether the Governor-General has the power to dismiss a prime minister, 1975 A432, A1975/7778
Dismissal of Prime Minister by Governor-General, 1975–78 A432, A1975/7853 PART 1
Double dissolution, 1975–76 A432, GCD1975/7906
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH OCCASIONAL 'G' (GENERAL REPRESENTATIONS) INFIX, 1956–
This series was raised to deal with the general and policy matters handled by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Subjects vary considerably, reflecting the coordinating function of the department. Political, social, cultural, economic, industrial and defence matters are all dealt with; other aspects include the administration of the Australian Government, immigration, honours, international conferences and diplomatic relations with other countries.
Series: A463
Quantity: 962 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1971–: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (CA 1401)
House of Representatives motions, 1960–77
Includes want of confidence and censure motions against the government and individual ministers as at 16 October 1975.
A463, 1975/4000
Failure of supply – government employees, 1975
Includes reaction to the delay of Appropriation Bills.
A463, 1975/4276
Caretaker and administrative arrangements, 1974–75
Contains arrangements for the caretaker Fraser Ministry, 11 November to 13 December 1975.
A463, 1975/4375
CORRESPONDENCE FILES (TREASURY), 1901–76
This is the main correspondence series of Treasury files. Items listed below are a small example of items that contain Fraser-related material.
Series: A571
Quantity: 50 metres (Canberra), 22 metres (Sydney)
Recorded by: 1901–76: Department of the Treasury (I), Central Office (CA 11)
Caretaker government – guidance and background, 1974–75 A571, 1975/6607
Deferral of supply, 1974–75
Includes details of a scheme to facilitate access to finance for employees of, and suppliers to, the Australian Government.
A571, 1975/9083 PART 1
Image 23: Malcolm Fraser walks down the steps of Parliament House, Canberra, 11 November 1975.

Image 23: Malcolm Fraser walks down the steps of Parliament House, Canberra, 11 November 1975.
Courtesy National Library of Australia: nla.pic-an24355074
Enlarge image - View image gallery

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES WITH OCCASIONAL 'C' (CLASSIFIED) SUFFIX, 1957–
This series contains the classified files relating to general and policy matters handled by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Subjects range from departmental and domestic matters to foreign affairs, and reflect the functions of the department in the political, cultural, economic, industrial and defence fields.
Series: A1209
Quantity: 1207 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1971–: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (CA 1401)
Powers of the Senate in relation to supply and constitutional conventions – policy papers, 1975 A1209, 1975/1910
The role of the Governor-General in the passage of Supply Bills, 1975–76 A1209, 1975/1912
Double dissolution of Parliament, 1975
Includes a detailed timeline of events.
A1209, 1975/2448
Specific complaints to the Governor-General regarding the caretaker government, 1975 A1209, 1975/2964
PRESS CLIPPINGS AND COPIES OF ARTICLES RELATING TO THE DISMISSAL OF THE PRIME MINISTER, GOUGH WHITLAM, IN NOVEMBER 1975, 1975–77
These records have been arranged in series and control symbols imposed, where necessary, by the National Archives.
Series: A11473
Quantity: 0.18 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1975–77: Governor-General (CA 1)
The Dismissal – list of press clippings included in this series, alphabetical by publication order, 1975–77 A11473, 1
The Dismissal – list of journal articles included in this series, alphabetical by author order, 1975–76 A11473, 11
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1975–77
This series comprises correspondence (letters, telegrams and cards) addressed to His Excellency Sir John Kerr as Governor-General of Australia. It covers the period 1975 to 1977 and is in two distinct alphabetical sequences. Correspondence in the first sequence mainly relates to the dismissal of the Whitlam government in November 1975 (items 1–21). The second sequence consists of letters and telegrams of support addressed to Sir John Kerr following the announcement of his resignation from office on 14 July 1977. A small number of news cuttings and publications are also in the series.
Series: A10926
Quantity: 0.18 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1975–77: Governor-General (CA 1); 1975–77: The Rt Hon Sir John Robert Kerr AK, GCMG, GCVO, KStJ, QC (CP 266)
Letters and telegrams of criticism addressed to the Governor-General Sir John Kerr, 1975–77 A10926, 3
PRESS OFFICE CORRESPONDENCE, 1975–78
This series was primarily maintained in the Prime Minister's Press Office during Fraser's prime ministership. The series covers the period November 1975 to early January 1979, with several papers dating from mid-1975 when Fraser was Leader of the Opposition. The correspondence relates to a wide range of local, national and international issues.
Series: M1280
Quantity: 0.54 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1975–78: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (CA 1401); 1975–78: The Rt Hon John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH (CP 51)
Press and media relations, 1976
Relates to interview requests; includes Federal Capital Press report (1976), Heritage magazine with feature articles on the Dismissal and Sir John Kerr (nos 1–2, 1976), and an article for the Pacific Defence Reporter.
M1280, 16 PART 2
TELEXES RECEIVED AS LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND AS PRIME MINISTER, 1975–79
This series contains copies of telexes retained by Fraser. The first binder covers the last three months of his time as Leader of the Opposition (August to November 1975) and then caretaker Prime Minister (November to December 1975). The telexes in the second binder are copies forwarded to Fraser at his property Nareen in the Western District of Victoria. They cover the period April 1976 to August 1979 when he was Prime Minister.
Series: M1341
Quantity: 0.30 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1975–79: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (CA 1401); 1975: Department of the House of Representatives – Leader of the Opposition (CA 692); 1975–79: The Rt Hon John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH (CP 51)
Personal papers of Prime Minister Fraser – telexes received as Leader of the Opposition and caretaker Prime Minister, August–December 1975 M1341, 1
PERSONAL PAPERS OF SIR CLARENCE HARDERS (SECRETARY, ATTORNEY- GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT), 1965–97
Sir Clarence (Clarrie) Harders largely accumulated this series during his career in the service of the Commonwealth, including as Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department (1970–79). Topics include the 1974–75 Loans Affair, dismissal of the Whitlam government and the subsequent Sankey versus Whitlam legal proceedings.
Series: M4081
Quantity: 6 metres (Canberra)
Recorded by: 1965–80: Attorney-General's Department, Central Office – Deputy Secretary/Secretary's Office (CA 5); 1965–97: Sir Clarence Waldemar Harders OBE (CP 686)
The Dismissal – advice, 1975
Includes advice compelling the states to act regarding issuing of writs for a half Senate election.
M4081, 2/2
The Dismissal – advice, 1975
Includes opinions of the Solicitor-General and Attorney-General regarding the exercise of the Governor-General's powers in constitutional crises.
M4081, 2/6
The Dismissal – Governor-General – position where the Senate rejects supply, 1975 M4081, 2/16
SIR JOHN KERR'S PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL PAPERS RELATING TO THE 1975 CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS, 1974–91
Documents in this series were packaged together in an envelope marked 'Private and confidential'. Notes by Sir John Kerr relating to the constitutional crisis of 1975 are included. A number are handwritten by Kerr with typescript copies attached. A personal journal for 1980 is also included.
Series: M4523
Quantity: 0.18 metres (Canberra)
Notes on a conversation with Malcolm Fraser on the occasion of a dinner for the Prime Minister of Malaysia, 1975 M4523, 1 PART 2
Notes relating to Maurice Byers' opinion on RJ Ellicott's press statement on reserve powers, 1975 M4523, 1 PART 11

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Chapter 2
Records about Malcolm Fraser in the National Archives of Australia