There was a time before Gough, and a time after, and they were not the same. That brief sliver of the ’70s made the power of ideas suddenly seem public and undeniable, and then actual; we live now not in its shadow but its continuing light. If Australians think they are keenly egalitarian, Gough’s government made that ideal more practically possible. He was the visionary we had to have, and his government’s vision was to serve ‘the men and women of Australia.’ Farewell comrade, Edward Gough Whitlam 1916–2014.

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See: Historian Humphrey McQueen’s obituary for Gough, commissioned by the Bulletin in 2000(!). McQueen is nothing if not trenchant: ‘Whitlam displayed a Menziesian attachment to middle-class presumptions when he illustrated his vision of equality: “I want every kid to have a desk, with a lamp, and his own room to study”.’

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