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Release the Palace Letters – the High Court Appeal

Jenny Hocking, Emeritus Professor at Monash University and biographer of Gough Whitlam, has launched a new crowd-funding campaign to support her efforts to have the National Archives of Australia release the secret correspondence between Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, and the Queen regarding the dismissal of the Whitlam government.

Readers interested in supporting Professor Hocking’s ongoing campaign to access the ‘Palace letters’ can visit her crowd-funding site via the link below.

‘My name is Professor Jenny Hocking, I am a Monash University academic and Gough Whitlam’s biographer. In 2016 I launched an historic Federal Court action against the National Archives of Australia to release the ‘Palace letters’, secret correspondence between the Governor-General Sir John Kerr and the Queen relating to the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government.

‘With your great support we have taken this case on a remarkable three year journey – from the Federal Court to the full Federal Court on appeal and now, with the success of our Special Leave application before the High Court of Australia, we’re heading to the High Court for its final resolution.

‘To reach this ultimate goal and to put our case for the release of these historic letters before Australia’s highest court I need your continued support. I urge you to donate and to spread this message among your friends and colleagues so that these extraordinarily significant documents in our history are available for all Australians to see and to know what really happened when the Queen’s representative dismissed the elected government of Gough Whitlam.

‘The Palace letters are held in the National Archives and withheld from the Australian people under the embargo of the Queen, they are the final missing piece in the puzzle on the most controversial episode in Australia’s political history.’

The big reveal: Jenny Hocking on what the ‘palace letters’ may tell us, finally, about The Dismissal

Jenny Hocking writes in The Conversation (14.7.20) about today’s public release by the National Archives of Australia of the ‘palace letters’, and what ramifications their contents might have for our understanding of the events of November 11, 1975.

‘Forty-five years after they were written, hundreds of previously secret letters between the queen and the governor-general of Australia, Sir John Kerr, relating to the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 will be released in full by the National Archives of Australia this morning.

‘Containing 211 letters and 1,200 pages in total, the “palace letters” will be the greatest addition to the history of the dismissal of the Whitlam government since the revelation of Sir Anthony Mason’s role nearly a decade ago.

‘The letters have been held in the National Archives, locked away as “personal” records under the embargo of the queen. That is, until the High Court’s emphatic 6:1 decision in June this year that they are Commonwealth records and to be made available for public access.

‘… Whatever the palace letters may reveal, the most important thing is that now we can know it. With that knowledge, the full history of the dismissal of the Whitlam government can finally be told.’

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