The release of royal secret correspondence was immediately linked to the dismissal of the prime minister Gough Whitlam will again invoke the role of monarchy in modern Australia, experts say.
National Archives of Australia will be on Tuesday morning released the much-awaited “court papers”, a series of more than 200 exchanges between the Queen, her personal secretary, Martin Charteris, and Sir John Kerr, the then governor general of Australia, in the critical period leading up to Kerr’s highly controversial dismissal. Gough Whitlam’s Labor government in November 1975.
Kerr moves to force Reform of Whitlam’s left-wing government from office, after conservative opposition has blocked allocation bills in the upper house of parliament, remains the most sensational moment in modern Australian politics, caused a grudge for years.
Despite the importance of the letters to Australian history, they remain hidden from the public’s view of the wrong reason that they are “private” records, and are therefore excluded from the usual 30-year access rules and under a potential Queen embargo. unlimited.
Historian Jenny Hocking’s a landmark case in the high court, after a four-year legal battle, causing the rejection of that argument and forcing the archive to reconsider its request for public access.
Speaking before the letters were released, Hocking said it was impossible to imagine they would contain anything other than “dramatic revelations”.
“We know that there are more than 1,000 pages, we know that there are more than 200 letters, they will be a series of truly dramatic revelations, it is impossible to imagine otherwise,” Hocking told the Guardian. “They will tell us how much detail Kerr gave the Queen about what he hoped to do.”
He said other records kept by Kerr – including his 1980 journal – had been already pointed for importing documents.
The sheer volume of the letters was unknown until Hocking brought the archives to court to secure their release.
“We don’t know how many letters there are except that it came out as part of a court case, that there are hundreds of these letters, there are a total of 1,200 pages in material that we will see,” Hocking told the Guardian.
“So, ownership is extraordinarily significant, I would say the most important set of documents about the sacking of the Whitlam government has been released in the last decade.”
The archives will release letters at 11:00 on Tuesday (2:00 in the UK). This release is expected to consist of six files, consisting of 212 letters, including attachments such as “newspaper clippings, reports and copies of letters relating to meetings and events attended by Sir John Kerr during his tenure as governor general”.
Whitlam’s dismissal is one of the most controversial episodes in Australian political history.
Kerr was dismissed without warning the elected government holds a clear parliamentary majority and appoints Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal leader.
Hocking believed that court papers could reveal what the Queen said, through her secretary, and whether she influenced Kerr’s actions.
“I am very happy, really, that the archive has agreed to open all the letters in full,” he said.
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