jack lang - gough whitlam


setting the scene

These two dismissals, in particular, that of Gough Whitlam in 1975, are two of the most contentious political events of Australia's history. Both are still remembered with very strong feelings and you only need to look at the language used in some of the websites linked to this webquest to realise that. They have also caused a great deal of discussion amongst historians, constitutional lawyers and academics over the rights and wrongs of the cases.

In this webquest you are not going to be asked to join in that debate. Rather you are being asked about What constitutes democracy and, using the actions of the various political leaders, to assess whether, in fact, we live in a democracy. If two appointees (note this word) who represent the Queen can legally (note this word) dismiss our political leaders then how democratic is our parliamentary system? Be careful, the answer is not as simple as you might think.

According to general dictionaries democracy is

- government by the people; especially : rule of the majority, or
- a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
(source Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary -

Now to your task. Click on the link below to find out what you have to do.

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