Gough Whitlam 1916-2014

The Socialist International mourns the passing of Gough Whitlam, former Prime Minister of Australia, former Leader of the Australian Labor Party, and Honorary President of the Socialist International, who has died at the age of 98.

Edward Gough Whitlam was born in Kew, Victoria, on 11 July 1916. He began working with the Labor Party whilst serving for the Royal Australian Air Force in the early 1940s and this became a life-long mission. Gough was elected to Parliament in 1953, representing Werriwa in the House of Representatives. In 1960 he became Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in Opposition, and in 1967 Leader.

After 23 years out of government, he brought the Labor Party in to power in 1972 and continued to win the following election in 1974. Despite his loss of power in 1975, during his terms in government, Gough implemented long-standing policy changes of which included universal healthcare, free university education, and the ending of military conscription. He retired from Parliament in 1978 but remained politically engaged. Gough Whitlam was active in many of the activities of the Socialist International and at the XVII Congress in Lima in 1986 he was made an Honorary SI President. Gough was appointed Australian Ambassador to UNESCO in 1983.

Gough Whitlam will be long remembered by our global political family for his enduring policies, socialist vision and his tireless work.

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