In just a few short years, the Whitlam government: created Australia’s national health insurance scheme, Medibank; abolished university fees; introduced state aid to independent schools and needs-based school funding; returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people; drafted the first commonwealth lands right act; established diplomatic relations with China; withdrew the remaining Australian troops from Vietnam; introduced no-fault divorce laws; passed the Racial Discrimination Act; blocked moves to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef; introduced environmental protection legislation; and removed God Save the Queen as the national anthem.
“Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.”
-Gough Whitlam’s 1969 election pitch for equal access to education.