An article published a week ago has just come to my attention and I find it rather sickening. I reproduce its opening below. It is written by Leftist journalist Alan Ramsey and was one part of the effort made in the Left-leaning media to idolize the recently deceased Labor party leader Gough Whitlam. Such idolatry failed to mention that Whitlam was one of Australia's worst prime Ministers, whose lunatic rule featured a great bloating of the bureaucracy and runaway spending that was financed by borrowing and unprecedented inflation.
So the point of the article was to portray Whitlam as a great soul using one incident. The incident was Whitlam making a kindly gesture to Malcolm Fraser, the conservative leader who had effectively tossed Whitlam out of office. What Ramsey failed to mention however was that, by the time of Whitlam's gesture, Fraser had drifted so far left that he had become Whitlam's "mate". Whitlam's magnanimity was to a fellow traveller, not to an opponent -- and I think most of us could manage that. There was nothing compassionate about the vast ego that was Gough Whitlam. See here for evidence that Leftists generally are ruled by ego rather than compassion.
And Fraser deserved the spray he got. Within a couple of years he moved from a supporter of John Gorton as Prime minister to the man who brought Gorton down . Gorton was a decent man who retained many admirers in his party and one of those (Tom Hughes) got to express their views at Gorton's funeral. Gorton loathed Fraser for the way Fraser undermined him in his own party and it should be no surprise that Gorton's admirers shared that loathing
Tom Hughes has become hugely wealthy from a lifetime of dismantling people in front of others. Five days ago his charmless, graceless eloquence in memory of John Gorton, his political mentor and friend of thirtysomething years, was served up to Malcolm Fraser for free. How bitter the words for stewing all those years.
And how ironic that Hughes, a Catholic, should use a Protestant pulpit so grossly in defence of his dead friend to humiliate their once Liberal colleague before a church full of people. So courageous, too.
Yet there was one remarkable instant of redemption.
In the congregation of St Andrew's Cathedral for Gorton's memorial service were three former prime ministers, not just one. Fraser and his wife, Tamie, were flanked by Margaret and Gough Whitlam and Blanche and Bob Hawke. And at some point after Hughes had finished his "eulogy", Gough Whitlam reached an arm around Tamie Fraser and, tapping her husband on the shoulder, was heard to say, gently but distinctly: "Let not your heart be troubled, comrade."
That it was a line borrowed from earlier in the service is beside the point. Whitlam's compassion for an old political foe and one who'd done him in so spectacularly was class of the highest order. So, too, Fraser's dignity in sitting there, Hughes' captive listener, the congregation's several hundred eyes boring into him, as Hughes intoned: "I realise what I'm about to say is said in the distinguished presence of a former parliamentary colleague. [But] I have to speak the truth, and I will."
And he did, as Hughes saw it.
Yet why he felt the "truth" about his old friend was not enough, but should include, too, the necessity for the "truth" about a man he posed as one of Gorton's "political assassins" 31 years after the event, only Hughes would know. Funeral rites are supposedly about resolution. Hughes ensured this one included revenge. There is no more enduring bitterness than political bitterness.
Hughes, like Ainsley Gotto and Jim Killen, has been a loyal keeper of the Gorton flame for 33 years. He came into politics in December 1963 and was there six years while the making of five Coalition ministries passed him by, the last three years of which he was a member of what was irreverently known as the Mushroom Club, a group of Liberal backbenchers, mostly Gorton supporters, who enjoyed a good dinner and a convivial drink, until Gorton's third ministry, in November 1969, made Hughes attorney-general. He survived just 15 months.