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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2455


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/1971

Release Type: Correspondence

Transcript ID: 2455

FOR PRESS: PM No. 80/ 1971
The Prime Minister, Mr. Vqilliam. Mvahon,
this afternoon released the texts of the letters
between himself and Mr. Gorton.
The texts are attached.
13 August 1971

The Prime 1' Iinister's letter to YMr. Gorton 12 August 1971
My dear John, I refer to our discussion this afternoon when
I said that I had given the most careful consideration
to your decision to write a series of articles for the
" Sunday Australian", the first of which has already
been published. In my opinion, your action breaches basic
principles of Cabinet solidarity and unity. Your
first article deals with a number of controversial
issues involving other hMinisters and affecting their.
integrity. These Ministers are not free to comment if these
principles are to be respected. If any other practice
were to be permitted, a precedent would be created which
would, I believe, make the Cabinet system of Government
unworkable. I know how deeply you feel about the contents of
the recent book. But Other Ministers have had to endure
this type of criticism, which is part and parcel of
political life. The overriding consideration, in my
view, must be Cabinet solidarity and unity.
I will make a short statement this evening
stating that I have discussed -Uis matter with you and
that you have, in accordance with my request, agreed to
tender your resignation to me.
His Excellency the Governor-General has been
informed. Yours sincerely,
William Mcl~ ahon

Mr. Gorton's letter to the Prime Minister
My dear Prime Minister,
I acknowledge your letter of 12 August
concerning our discussion this afternoon.
In my recollection the only article you
referred to was the one already published, which
you said in your view breached Cabinet solidarity
and unity. You said that as a result of this
article and your feeling concerning it you felt
you must ask for my resignation.
In accordance with your request, I now
tender you that resignation. Yours sincerely,
12 August 1971

Transcript 2455