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Memento : Issue 22
Where were you in 1972? January 2003 Number 22 continued on p. 3 Where were you in 1972? ach January, Cabinet records that have reached 30 years are made publicly available. The records reveal the issues that consumed us three decades ago and offer insights into our recent past. In his December briefing to the media, our consultant historian Ian Hancock interpreted the Cabinet records of 1972. NAA: A6180, 19/3/75/5 McMahon was ridiculed by the press and effectively deserted by some of his Liberal ministers during the election campaign. Meanwhile, the Labor band- wagon, rolling along to the theme of 'It's Time', looked unstoppable. Government in crisis The reverberations of the leadership change from Gorton to McMahon in March 1971 continued to affect the government's stability and unity throughout 1972. There were four obvious problems: McMahon did not look or sound like a Prime Minister, there were strains in the Coalition hanging over from the devaluation crisis of late 1971, the Democratic Labor Party was proving to be a fractious ally, and the Liberal Party was disunited and unhappy. The visit of renowned feminist Germaine Greer in 1972 spearheaded a year of social action for women. Achievements included the formation of the Women's Electoral Lobby and rulings on equal pay. Following are excerpts from Ian's talk in which he sketched the social, economic and political landscape of the time. E