Sunday, 11 November, 2018
$50 MCH members, $35 concession, $65 non-members
We expect places to book out fast, so you can book early at https://www.trybooking.com/YQWH
The Day of Ideas will look at two significant events on 11 November, 57 years apart – namely the end of World War One and The Dismissal. A programme outlining the speakers and topics for the day will be issued shortly. Expert speakers will include Professor Nicholas Brown, Professor Jenny Hocking, Andrew Clark and more …
One hundred years ago – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 – World War One, ‘the war to end all wars,’ ended. Australia lost more than 60,000 soldiers in a conflict largely fought at the other end of the world.
Exactly 57 years later – on November 11, 1975 – the Governor General, Sir John Kerr, sacked Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Some labelled his action a constitutional coup; at the very least it was a politically lethal Vice Regal ambush against an elected Labor Government. Both events are decades apart; one lasted four years and cost 20 million lives, while the other was over in the space of a few minutes.
For Australians, however, both are linked by more than just a coincidence of dates. World War One was followed by the worst sectarian divide in Australia’s history, partly caused by the bitterness and rancor surrounding the issue of conscription, and this divide was later exacerbated by the terrible economic slump known as the Great Depression.
The Dismissal also left a deep scar in Australian public life. The Australian soldiers’ heroism in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was hailed as the arrival of a distinctive Australian nationalism, but nearly 60 years later The Dismissal raised fundamental questions about the nature and direction of that Australian nation.
Since then, there has been debate about a possible future switch from the British monarch, or the Monarch’s representative in Australia, as the head of state, to having a President of the Australian republic, helping Australians to accept their future as a country in the Indo-Pacific region.
The shaping influence of these two key events, and what we should do as Australians to make this a better society, will be addressed in the Manning Clark House Day of Ideas, which will be held on November 11.