Last week the BBC, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and other outlets reported on historian Jenny Hocking's landmark Australian High Court win, which has finally mandated the release of secret letters between the British monarch and the then Australian governor general, Sir John Kerr, in the 1970s.
Whitlam was a progressive prime minister whose reforms proved divisive after two decades of conservative leadership in Australia. When he could not get a budget approved, it sparked a political deadlock that culminated in his unexpected dismissal by Kerr. His dismissal was widely seen as a major constitutional crisis. More than 200 letters between Kerr and the Queen from the period exist in the archive, and historians have long believed that they could reveal the extent to which Buckingham Palace knew about or approved of the dismissal.
Professor Hocking's book will reveal the content of the letters and her four-year legal battle to make Australia’s National Archive release them, and the collusion and deception behind the dismissal.
Scribe's publisher, Henry Rosenbloom, says the acquisition is ‘both personal and historical’, due to his experience as press secretary to Moss Cass, Whitlam’s minister for Environment and Conservation, and Media.
‘I was working for the Whitlam government when it was dismissed by Kerr on 11 November 1975,’ said Rosenbloom. ‘The dismissal was a searing experience for me—but, more importantly, the controversy and the mystery about the events of those days still resonates, and still needs to be resolved, if possible.
‘Jenny Hocking has done more than any other individual to uncover the secret history of the dismissal, and her account will carry immense authority and credibility. I’ll be editing her manuscript, and we’re all looking forward very much to publishing it.’
The Palace Letters is scheduled for release in November. For press or rights inquiries, contact sarah [scribepub.co.uk].