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Memento : Issue 25
Legislation Never before in Australian history, and never since, has a government been so prepared for comprehensive and fundamental reform, so determined to implement it, and so bent on doing it without delay. The objective was 'to achieve basic changes in the administration and structure of Australian society' for 'the promotion of equal opportunity' and 'the promotion of Australian ownership and control of our industries and resources'. The scope of these principles was extraordinarily wide, encompassing programs for, among other things, the cities and local government, racial and gender equality, health, education, social security, minerals and energy, migrants, human rights, rural industries, the environment, the national estate, and electoral law reform. The government in 1973 surpassed all its predecessors in the number of Cabinet decisions reached in any one year, and the volume of legislation introduced and approved. Domestic politics There was bound to be drama where a government was engaged in extensive and intensive social engineering, especially one which brought together men who had chafed in Opposition and had their own missions to accomplish. There were occasions when ministers very publicly clashed with each other; for example, over the competing demands of developers and environmentalists and over approaches to inflation. On occasions, too, Caucus and the Labor's Federal Executive challenged Cabinet, while Bob Hawke -- when President of the ACTU and of the ALP -- openly opposed the government's attempt by referendum to control incomes as well as prices. Over-the-top words and actions contributed to the theatrics. In March, Senator Lionel Murphy, the Attorney- General, concerned about ASIO's inaction in relation to Croatian terrorist training camps within Australia and the state of security for the forthcoming visit of the Yugoslav Prime Minister, led a 'raid' on ASIO's headquarters in Melbourne in search of particular files. Murphy's inadequate responses to questions in the Senate led to wide- spread criticism, boosted Opposition morale, and effectively ended the government's smooth ride with the press. In August 1973, Gough Whitlam admitted that the Murphy 'raid' was 'the greatest mistake' of his government's nine months in office. The Opposition, with DLP support, could obstruct the government's program in the Senate which, by the end of 1973, had rejected 13 bills, deferred 10 and amended 2. However, the Parramatta Our cover image shows Sir Robert Helpmann and Barbara Chambers performing Coppelia with the Australian Ballet. It comes from our series of 25,000 colour photographs taken by photographers working for the Australian Overseas Information Service. National Archives contacts National Reference Service Tel: 1300 886 881 Fax: 1300 886 882 Email: email@example.com World War I service records Email: firstname.lastname@example.org World War II service records Email: email@example.com Memento is a free publication of the National Archives of Australia. It is issued three times a year in hard copy and online. To subscribe, fax, phone or email us (see details below). Subscriptions: Tel: (02) 6212 3609 Fax: (02) 6212 3914 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial inquiries: Tel: (02) 6212 3923 Email: email@example.com Address: Queen Victoria Terrace Parkes ACT 2600 PO Box 7425 Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610 Internet: www.naa.gov.au/publications NAA: A1500, K2/0992 January 2004 Issue 25 ISSN 1327-4155 2 MEMENTO News from the National Archives voting age now 18 Patrick White wins Nobel Prize university fees abolished 19 73 Each January we release Cabinet records that have reached 30 years of age. In an embargoed release last December, our consultant historian Ian Hancock briefed the media on the 1973 Cabinet records. Here are excerpts of his talk on the political, social and economic activities and debates of the time. Sydney Opera House opens The National Archives is an Australian government agency. Indigenous Australians are advised that this issue may contain images of people now deceased. "