The Whitlam Institute hosts Professor Jenny Hocking lecture

Whitlam Institute Distinguished Fellow: Professor Jenny Hocking: "The entire history of the Dismissal is important, as all history is," she said. Picture: Janusz Molinski Photography

Whitlam Institute Distinguished Fellow: Professor Jenny Hocking: "The entire history of the Dismissal is important, as all history is," she said. Picture: Janusz Molinski Photography

The Whitlam Institute hosted a lecture by biographer Professor Jenny Hocking on the anniversary of the Dismissal of GoughWhitlam on Saturday, November 11.

During the  hour session she discussed the alarming findings of her new book, The Dismissal Dossier: The Palace Connection, which contains explosive new revelations and is the culmination of a decade-long exploration.

“I’ve always been interested in Australian politics and history,” she said. “It’s just always been something that has been apart of my background.”

The author said her parents were partly responsible for her interest in Australian politics and history.

In 1982, Ms Hocking’s mother was the first barrister briefed in the Mabo Case, a significant legal case in Australia that recognised the land rights of the Meriam people, traditional owners of the Murray Islands (which include the islands of Mer, Dauer and Waier) in the Torres Strait.

“I grew up with my mother’s huge folders marked ‘MABO’ many decades ago and only realised when I grew up how significant her role had been,” Ms Hocking said. “We had many fascinating discussions around the dinner table, as you might image.”

She said she was particularly interested in the Dismissal of Gough because she believes there are tensions in how Australia functions as a democracy.

“We’re challenged by the circumstances of the Dismissal,” she said. “One of the most critical elements I uncovered during my research was to open up Sir John Kerr’s papers – which are lodged with the National Archives of Australia.”

Ms Hocking, a Whitlam Institute Distinguished Fellow, has unraveled a web of intrigue to reveal British involvement behind Sir John Kerr’s actions, done in the name of the Queen.

Her lecture will explore the Dismissal of Whitlam, as well as providing the latest on the Palace Letters case that she is currently taking in the Federal Court of Australia. 

“I’m asking Australia’s Federal Court to force the country’s National Archives to release the letters between the Queen and Sir John,” she said.

The Archives have classified the letters as “personal”, meaning they might never be made public. Lawyer Antony Whitlam is arguing the case on behalf of Ms Hocking.

Ms Hocking argues Australians have a right to know the details of their history, and that the letters written in the months leading up to the unprecedented dismissal are key to unravelling the truth.

“The history is still unfolding,” she said. “My research findings have alerted me that there’s an enormous degree of secrecy – and to some extent deception – around the circumstances of the Dismissal. And that secrecy continues to this day.”

  • The Whitlam Institute at the Female Orphan School, Western Sydney University. Details: here.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: John Johnson (from left), Gough Whitlam, Jenny Hocking and Margaret Whitlam at the launch of a biography on Mr Whitlam, A Moment in History, in Sydney, November 2008.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: John Johnson (from left), Gough Whitlam, Jenny Hocking and Margaret Whitlam at the launch of a biography on Mr Whitlam, A Moment in History, in Sydney, November 2008.