A Coup in Canberra

The Political Assination of an Australian Prime Minister

Alex Mitchell
Pub. WordImage
Rrp $40

Sir John Gorton (1911-2003) left a remarkable legacy of “firsts” during his maverick career: the first real bastard to occupy The Lodge, because he was born out of wedlock; the first Australian politician whose schooling included Sydney’s private boarding school, Shore, and Victoria’s Geelong Grammar; the first to gain a degree at Brasenose College, Oxford University; the first to join the RAAF and RAF to become a fighter-pilot-navigator in World War Two; the first rural socialist politician to become a senior conservative Senator from Victoria; the first Oz politician to be targeted by Australian, British and American spy agencies as a “national security” risk; and in 1968 the first Senator to win the leadership of Sir Robert Menzies’ party be defeating all his House of Representatives rivals. 

He was ousted from office by Coalition MPs in 1971; their success was assured by funding from London boardrooms and Washington militarists: they all wanted to keep Australia as their secret weapon against Asia’s struggle for self-determination and independence.

This book is (apparently) the only study of Gorton to place the coup against him in its international context illuminating the Liberal Party’s long history of in-fighting – which points to the important lessons about the hidden forces at work in Australian politics.

Alex Mitchell has worked as a journalist internationally as well as Australia, winning multiple awards. 

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