In that short term, Gough left his mark with what was known as “the program” after ending 23 years of conservative leadership on the back of his famed “It’s Time” campaign. 

The national health insurance scheme, Medibank. Axed university fees. The first draft Commonwealth land rights act and gave the traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people. Brought troops home from Vietnam. Struck up diplomatic relations with China. Passed the Racial Discrimination Act. Saved the Great Barrier Reef from oil drilling. Environmental protection legislation introduced. Got rid of God Save the Queen as the national anthem…

All that and more under Gough’s watch as the nation’s 21st PM. 

Yet he’ll be most remembered as the bloke brought down by Governor General Sir John Kerr on December 11, 1975. 

While he won a double dissolution election in 1974, the parliament was deadlocked and the Opposition used its senate majority to block the budget. Instead of Kerr agreeing to a half Senate election, the GG stripped Gough of his post and gave the Prime Ministership to Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser.

Whitlam lost the next election to Fraser and bowed out of politics in 1978.

“Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’ because nothing will save the governor general,” he famously posed after his axing.

More books have been written about Whitlam than any other Australian PM.

Whitlam served in the Royal Australian Air Force after volunteering with a year left in his legal studies.

It’s here he began political activity and in 1952 won the western Sydney seat of Werriwa. He was elected leader of the Labor party in 1967. 

After leaving politics he worked as Australia’s ambassador to Unesco and accepted a number of visiting professorships. He and wife Margaret, who died in 2012, were given life memberships of the Labor party in 2007.

“Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98,” Whitlam’s family said in a statement.

“A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.

“There will be a private cremation and a public memorial service.”

Image via Getty