Despite all the political scandals, Gough Whitlam was indeed a great leader and reformer. Much of the lingering bitterness directed at Whitlam’s economic performance has completely ignored the then world’s greatest real estate bubble which burst on his watch and put extreme financial pressure on many Australians. Our hip pockets certainly felt it. It hurt.
Yes, like all of us Whitlam had his weaknesses, but can you name one Australian prime minister who has been able to manage a collapsed real estate bubble? (Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan spent $50 billion in an effort to delay the current one from bursting.)
Although TIME magazine supplement 1 Oct 1973 (some photos edited out) devoted a special cover story to the bubble which doubled US and world land prices from 1972 to 1973, there was no mention at all of it in the ABC’s two hour coverage of the Whitlam prime ministership last Tuesday night. Then, as now, a revisionist view of history–which allows us to speak of the OPEC crisis–obscures these speculative real estate disasters so we can repeat them again.
Again, vale Gough Whitlam.