I was only ten years old when former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was unceremoniously dismissed from office in 1975, but his death last week had a profound impact
on me, as it did on so many other Australians.
I am not only sorry at his passing, he was such a towering presence — physically and politically.
Many in Australia mourn that Gough’s political legacy has been tragically trashed over the subsequent decades, by both sides of politics. I doubt we will see a return to those heady days.
I had the pleasure of meeting “The Great Man” years ago when writing radio commercials
at Sydney radio station 2KY, which at that time was owned by the Labor Council of New South Wales.
Former NSW premier Barrie Unsworth was the General Manager and was showing Gough around the palatial corporate edifice.
I was rather a fan of the Mambo clothing company. On the day in question, I was suitably attired in the standard creative uniform of a Mambo t-shirt, my wardrobe resembled a Mambo shop.
My selection that day was a satirical parody of the famous Australian match brand Redheads (apologies to Australian readers for getting the glove puppets of explanation out). In place of the flaming caricature redhead, my t-shirt depicted controversial (for want of an expletive) “politician” and all round embarrassment to Australia Pauline Hanson. The word “Redheads” had been brilliantly replaced by “Rednecks” with assorted contents and warnings as you can see.
After exchanging pleasantries with Gough, he looked down (quite literally) at my t-shirt,
smiled and said “Well done, Comrade.”
A memorable moment from an unforgettable man.
©Steve Williams 2014