The Politics of Biography

The Politics of Biography

In this year’s Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture, Jenny Hocking explores a matter that goes to the heart of questions of power and sovereignty in Australia, the secret role of the Palace in the dismissal of the Whitlam government, and her latest book, The Dismissal Dossier: Everything You Were Never Meant to Know About November 1975 – the Palace Connection.

‘It is now more than 40 years since the dismissal of the Whitlam government and the palace continues to treat us as the recalcitrant colonial child, not to be trusted with such a dangerous thing as knowledge of our own history.’

Gough Whitlam's award-winning biographer Jenny Hocking is pursuing the release of letters between Governor General John Kerr, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Queen’s private secretary, Martin Charteris, through Federal Court action against the National Archives of Australia. Under instructions from the Queen, these letters are embargoed. Do Australians know the full story of the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the extent of the Queen’s involvement?

Presented in partnership with Writers Victoria and the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship.


Portrait of Jenny Hocking

Jenny Hocking

Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking is an award-winning biographer, script-writer and one of Australia’s best-known political biographers. She is Emeritus Professor at Monash University and the inaugural Distinguished Whitlam Fellow with the Whitlam Institute at the University of Western Sydney. Professor Hocking is the author of the two-volume biography of Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam – Gough Whitlam: His Time and Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History – winner of the Fellowship of Australian Writers Barbara Ramsden Award and shortlisted for several major literary awards including the National Biography Award, The Age Book of the Year, the Magarey Medal for Biography and the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literature. She has also written biographies of High Court justice Lionel Murphy and the Australian communist author Frank Hardy.

Listen to The Politics of Biography