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 will host a lecture by biographer Professor Jenny Hocking on the anniversary of the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam on Saturday, November 11.

During the one hour session she will discuss 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 are 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 is particularly interested in the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam because she believes there are tensions between how Australians function 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 Gough 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 that 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,” Ms Hocking 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.”

  • Details: 11am until noon, Saturday, November 11 at The Whitlam Institute at the Female Orphan School, Western Sydney University. This is a free event, all welcome, but numbers are limited and registration is essential. Register HERE.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: (L to R) John Johnson, 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: (L to R) John Johnson, Gough Whitlam, Jenny Hocking and Margaret Whitlam at the launch of a biography on Mr Whitlam, A Moment in History, in Sydney, November 2008.

The Female Orphan School is open to the public from 11am-4pm on Saturday, November 11. There’s plenty to see, including:

  • 11am: free lecture by Professor Jenny Hocking
  • 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm: free tours of the magnificent Female Orphan School est. 1813.

All day events include:

  • Treasures from the Prime Ministerial collection for the anniversary of the Dismissal and Armistice Day - A specially curated selection of personal and official items from Gough Whitlam’s archive, with the Institute’s own Archivist on hand to answer your questions.
  • Missing - an exhibition by award-winning multimedia artist, Tianli Zu - An intriguing exploration of shadow matters, reflecting memory, time and space.
  • A Changing Australia: The Time of Gough Whitlam - An interactive, engaging exhibition that vividly recalls the dramatic and transformative years of the Whitlam Government.