Author Archives: Jenny Hocking

Jenny Hocking

About Jenny Hocking

Jenny Hocking is emeritus professor at Monash University, Distinguished Whitlam Fellow at the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University and award-winning biographer of Gough Whitlam. Her latest book is The Dismissal Dossier: Everything You Were Never Meant to Know about November 1975 – The Palace Connection. You can follow Jenny on Twitter @palaceletters.

The question avoided by Kerr and the Palace ‘What does your Prime Minister say?’

In the rush to judgement on the Palace letters one image stands out – the early call, made  before the letters had even been released  – ‘the Queen was NOT informed!’. As if the entire cache of Palace letters could … Continue reading

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Letters of an insecure and indiscreet John Kerr make a mockery of the claim that the Queen played ‘no part’

The Palace letters have brought Kerr’s extensive, even obsessive, ‘reporting’ to the Queen into sharp relief, placing Kerr himself and his peculiar conception of his role as Governor-General under intense scrutiny.

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The Palace Letters have blown apart the claim the Queen had no part in the Whitlam dismissal.

The letters show that the Queen’s responses, and at times even advice, particularly in relation to Kerr’s concern for his own position and the possible use of the reserve powers, played a critical role in his planning and in his … Continue reading

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Sir John Kerr’s secret ‘Palace letters’ to be released

History will be made this week with the release of hundreds of secret letters between the Queen and the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, relating to Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government.

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JENNY HOCKING. High Court says ‘Release the Palace Letters’

In an emphatic 6:1 decision the High Court has ruled that the ‘Palace letters’ between the Governor-General and the Queen relating to the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government are Commonwealth records, ending the Queen’s embargo over them and opening … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING supports Pearls and Irritations.

I am a long-time reader, contributor and supporter of Pearls & Irritations.

Posted in Commendations | 5 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. ‘If I were to terminate his commission’: Sir John Kerr’s secret ‘Palace letters on Whitlam’s dismissal

The final act in the landmark ‘Palace letters’ case seeking access to the Queen’s secret correspondence with the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, relating to Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government will play out in the High Court later this month.

Posted in Politics | 18 Comments

PROFESSOR JENNY HOCKING The ‘Palace letters’ case at the High Court

Echoes of the Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s vice-regal dismissal of the Whitlam government reverberated across the High Court this week, as the long-running Palace letters case came before the full bench on appeal.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. High Court to hear bid to release the Queen’s secret Whitlam dismissal letters.

As the Queen reels from one family crisis to another, Buckingham Palace would be looking on a little anxiously as the ‘Palace letters’ case is heard by the full bench of the High Court next week.

Posted in Politics | 8 Comments

PROFESSOR JENNY HOCKING ‘I never had any doubts about the Palace’s attitude’: Sir John Kerr’s Royal secrets exposed

Letters between Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace show that the Palace pressured Kerr to omit from his autobiography his secret exchanges with the Queen’s private secretary before his dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. This Royally sanctioned erasure is … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Brexit in the Antipodes

There is a growing air of desperation in the cross-party efforts to stymie British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to by-pass parliament, and even to ignore a motion of no confidence against him and his government by the House of … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. ‘A tawdry distortion of history: How the Palace airbrushed Sir John Kerr’s Memoirs’

There have been dramatic revelations from the National Archives of Australia with the release of letters between the Governor-General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace following Kerr’s dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. These letters provide remarkable and disturbing new … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. The ‘Palace letters’ case heads to the High Court

Professor Jenny Hocking’s long-running case against the National Archives of Australia seeking the release of the secret ‘Palace letters’ about the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, stepped up again this week with the … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. A national humiliation. We are not allowed to read our own history: The Queen’s letters on Whitlam’s dismissal Remain Secret

As the media debated the political precedents for the Morrison government’s historic defeat in the House of Representatives last week – some pointing to the Bruce government in 1929, and others to the Fadden government in 1941 – largely forgotten … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Historical myths die hard: What the Queen really knew about the dismissal of the Whitlam government

Historical myths die hard. And historical myths have plagued our understanding of the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government by the Governor General, Sir John Kerr, on 11 November 1975. Chief among these foundational myths is the claim that the … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. The Best of 2018: Royal distortions of history: why the Queen’s secret “Palace letters” about Gough Whitlam’s dismissal should be released.

The long-running ‘Palace letters’ case over the Queen’s secret correspondence regarding the 1975 dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam heads back to court on Wednesday 28 November, with an appeal hearing before the full bench of the Federal Court in … Continue reading

Posted in Tributes | 1 Comment

JENNY HOCKING. Unmasking history: the Queen, the governor general and the Whitlam dismissal (The Guardian newspaper, 06.12.18)

The ghosts of the dismissal of the Whitlam government 43 years ago were on display at an appeal hearing before the full bench of the federal court last week: Gough Whitlam, the deposed prime minister; Sir John Kerr, the governor … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Royal distortions of history: why the Queen’s secret “Palace letters” about Gough Whitlam’s dismissal should be released.

The long-running ‘Palace letters’ case over the Queen’s secret correspondence regarding the 1975 dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam heads back to court on Wednesday 28 November, with an appeal hearing before the full bench of the Federal Court in … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. ‘Bullying, betrayal and backstabbing’: Can the Liberal party survive?

Scott Morrison is an unlikely Prime Minister. The day before the latest Liberal leadership change Morrison appeared in a memorable photo, arm casually draped around then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s uncomfortable shoulders, and proclaimed his support; ‘This is my leader. … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Archival Manoeuvres in the Dark

This month’s federal court ruling that the ‘Palace letters’, between the Queen and the Governor-General at the time of the Whitlam dismissal, are ‘personal’ and not subject to the Archives Act means that this historic correspondence will remain under lock … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Snub over ‘palace letters’ underlines why Australia should ditch the Queen

On Friday the federal court handed down its judgment in my action against the National Archives of Australia seeking the release of the “palace letters” between the Queen and the governor general, Sir John Kerr, regarding the Whitlam dismissal. In … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. News release. The Palace Letters.

TODAY, Friday 16 March 2018, Justice Griffiths handed down his decision in the Federal Court  action ‘Jennifer Hocking v Director-General, National Archives of Australia’, in favour of the National Archives. Justice Griffiths has ruled that the ‘Palace letters’ between the Queen and the … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Relics of colonialism: the Whitlam dismissal and the fight over the Palace letters

We will make better decisions on all the great issues of the day and for the century to come, if we better understand the past. – Gough Whitlam The celebration of the “Queen’s birthday” in Australia is a perfect reflection … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. The palace treats Australia as the colonial child not to be trusted with knowledge of its own history-A REPOST from September 11 2017

Forty-five years after Governor-General John Kerr dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, records of his communications with the British monarchy in the lead-up to that event are still withheld from us, the Australian people.

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JENNY HOCKING. Pressure Builds on Turnbull Over the Secret ‘Palace Letters’ on the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government -REPOST from June 16, 2017

Pressure is building on the Prime Minister to intervene in the long-running dispute over the release of the ‘Palace letters’, the secret correspondence between the Queen and the Governor-General Sir John Kerr in the months before Kerr’s 1975 dismissal of … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. An Australian republic inevitable as Turnbull disappoints again.

The republic is now emerging as a key election issue, with the Prime Minister a mere observer in its wake. In considering the powers of a president in a new Republic it is important to affirm that government can only … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. Harold Holt: The legacy is evident, 50 years after his disappearance.

It was a quintessential Australian death. On 17 December 1967, Australia’s 17th prime minister, Harold Edward Holt, waded into the churning surf at Victoria’s Cheviot Beach, defying a swift current and a strong under-tow that left others in his party … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. “A Royal Green Light”: The Palace, the Governor-General and the Dismissal of the Whitlam Government

Contrary to the accepted story that the Queen was not involved in the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975, it is now clear that the Palace had a significant role in the process. Those involved, in Australia and in … Continue reading

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JENNY HOCKING. ‘Secret “Palace letters” not so secret after all’ and where is Malcolm?

The Federal Court case against the National Archives of Australia, seeking the release of the ‘Palace letters’ which are embargoed by the Queen, concluded in Sydney last week. The case centres on the critical question of whether these letters, between … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

JENNY HOCKING. The palace treats Australia as the colonial child not to be trusted with knowledge of its own history

It’s more than 40 years since the dismissal of the Whitlam government, but under instructions from the Queen the secret ‘palace letters’ are still embargoed.

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments