Saturday, March 31, 2012
Copied from “ The Age Newspaper ”
" ST JAMES was never going to hold the crowd coming to farewell Margaret Whitlam. So they stopped the traffic around the old church in the middle of Sydney. Broadcast vans parked in Queens Square. Prime ministers rarely get such a send-off, let alone prime ministers' wives. But Margaret Whitlam bonded with this country a long time ago. She spoke her mind, at times with startling frankness. She was funny. She never claimed privilege. In the long run, such grace wins out. She seemed always a little amused by public life. And it was no betrayal of her bedrock loyalty that she didn't always hide the absurdities of living side by side with the Great Man. That loyalty was also a loyalty to Labor. This is the funeral of a Labor matriarch, perhaps the matriarch of the party. She didn't marry into Labor. Her grandfather was a Labor candidate. She cast her first vote in the 1940s for Labor's Jessie Street. ￼ Gough Whitlam yesterday at the funeral at St James Church, Sydney, for his wife, Margaret, who died last Saturday at 92. Photo: Pool Some Tory at the coronation dinner in 1953 asked the wife of the new member for Werriwa what a nice girl like her was doing in the Labor Party. She replied: ''I belong to the party that cares about people.'' She loved people. She was endlessly curious. Margaret Whitlam was the old, wise, unshockable woman at the party locked in conversation with total strangers, listening and laughing, offering her brand of spare, no-nonsense advice. Her daughter, Catherine Dovey, told the crowd packed into and outside St James: ''She really felt she had been dealt a fortunate hand in life: loving parents, a compatible and loved younger brother, a good school and education; a perfect match with father that produced 'acceptable' children, and a stimulating and full life.'' Turning out to pay their respects to this distinguished woman were a Prime Minister, a Governor-General, a Governor, a High Court judge, several ministers of the Crown and senators - all women. But what would Margaret Whitlam have thought of this gathering and this ceremony? Hoo-ha, probably. Not to be countenanced. But because she isn't around to put her foot down any more, she got what she deserved."
Julia Gillard is currently Prime Minister of Australia and she will have a hard road to hoe as she strives to gain the same sort of respect that was Margaret Whitlam's due ! I was alerted to this story by a previous Prime Minister of OZ , that being Kevin Rudd , who recently tried to resume his service to Oz by stepping down as Foreign minister to seek re election to the post of PM !