(b. 1916) Australian Labor statesman, Prime Minister 1972–5
Australian Labor statesman, Prime Minister (1972–75). While in office he ended compulsory military service in Australia and relaxed the laws for Asian and African immigrants. When, in 1975, the opposition blocked finance bills in the Senate, he refused to call a general election and was dismissed by the Governor‐General Sir John Kerr, the first occasion in 200 years that the British Crown had removed an elected Prime Minister. The crisis was resolved when Malcolm Fraser, the Leader of the Opposition who had been appointed Prime Minister by Sir John Kerr, advised Kerr to dissolve both houses. The finance bills were then passed and Fraser's Liberal–National Country Party coalition secured majorities in both houses at the subsequent election. Whitlam remained leader of the Labor Party until 1977. He was subsequently Australia's ambassador to UNESCO (1983–86).