Professor Jenny Hocking has lodged an appeal against the decision of the Federal Court last month in ‘Jennifer Hocking v. Director-General, National Archives of Australia’. The Court ruled that the Palace letters’, between the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, and the Queen relating to Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government, are ‘personal’ not Commonwealth records, continuing the Queen’s embargo of them.
Professor Hocking, Monash University academic and Gough Whitlam’s award-winning biographer, commenced this action against the National Archives of Australia in late 2016, seeking the release of the ‘Palace letters’. She remains determined to take all steps possible to secure their release for public access to ensure access to all relevant material regarding the dismissal,one of the most contentious episodes in our history and to end the Queen’s embargo of them.
Prominent Sydney barrister Bret Walker, S.C., has been briefed to lead the appeal before the full bench of the Federal Court with Tom Brennan, instructed by Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
Professor Jenny Hocking says; ‘our legal team believes that there are strong grounds for appeal and we look forward to the full bench of the Federal Court considering this important matter. The outcome of this appeal will determine access to these key historical documents, held by our own National Archives in Canberra and yet embargoed by the Queen. It is time to end that obscure quasi-colonial control over our knowledge of our own history.’
Despite having promised three years ago that he would ask the Queen to release the Palace letters, Prime Minister Turnbull continues torefuse to provide any details, including in response to questions in Parliament, about whether he has approached, or still intends to approach, Buckingham Palace seeking the release of the letters.
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