Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Whitlam Republic

Alternate history is a subgenre of science fiction that contains elements of historical fiction and sometimes time travel, but is unique in that it extrapolates upon how, if a given event is changed, the course of history will be altered from that point forward.

On Tuesday, 11 November 1975, the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister and appointed Malcolm Fraser as a caretaker Prime Minister. For the first time, an unelected vice-regal representative had removed from office a government which commanded a majority in the House of Representatives. As a result a double dissolution election was held on 13 December 1975, at which the Whitlam Government was soundly defeated.

The Dismissal of the Whitlam Government on 11 November 1975 was the most dramatic political event in the history of Australia's Federation and remains a controversial subject in Australian history. The dismissal is central to any understanding of the current debate about becoming a republic.

At David Atwell has written an alternate history timeline that explores the creation of an Australian republic after the events of the 1975 Dismissal.

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