Whit­lam: The Power and the Pas­sion

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 7.30pm, ABC1 The sec­ond and fi­nal part of writer-di­rec­tor Paul Clarke’s doc­u­men­tary about Gough Whit­lam gets to grips with his sub­ject’s fall. In of­fice, Whit­lam im­ple­mented ‘‘ the pro­gram’’, an am­bi­tious cat­a­logue of widerang­ing re­forms he ap­par­ently had been dream­ing of for 30 years, at a pace that dizzied the pub­lic, baf­fled the press and ex­ceeded the ca­pac­ity of the pub­lic ser­vants charged with its im­ple­men­ta­tion. Free higher ed­u­ca­tion, free health­care, hous­ing for low-in­come fam­i­lies, sew­er­age, mo­tor­ways and no-fault di­vorce were all fast-tracked. Of course, all of this is a mat­ter of his­tory. For those of us who were there or young at the time, Whit­lam: The Power and the Pas­sion is a nos­tal­gic ex­cur­sion back to some of the head­i­est up­heavals in our po­lit­i­cal his­tory. For those who weren’t there, it makes clear how this man of great vi­sion and reck­less ide­al­ism came un­stuck with a poor grasp of the econ­omy and some very bad de­ci­sions. Clarke’s in­ter­view sub­jects are a bi­par­ti­san lot, from John Howard and Mal­colm Fraser to Bob Hawke and Bill Hay­den. Com­men­ta­tors in­clud­ing Phillip Adams, Mungo MacCal­lum, Jane Caro and a vis­i­bly moved An­drew Den­ton have their say. The only glar­ing flaw is the in­clu­sion of poorly judged dra­matic reen­act­ments that fall flat­ter than Lake Eyre.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.