Revealed: the third man in the dismissal

The ‘third man’ … former chief justice, Sir Anthony Mason.JOHN KERR identified the former chief justice, Anthony Mason, as the ”third man” who secretly advised and ”fortified” him in the lead-up to the most divisive event in Australian political history – his decision to sack the Whitlam government in 1975.
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The former governor-general’s private records say Sir Anthony ”played the most significant part in my thinking” and reassured him he had made the right call two days before he dismissed the government on November 11. They also assert that Sir Anthony, at the time a High Court judge, was the author of a statement that Kerr incorporated in his public statement justifying his actions.

The record was uncovered by the Whitlam biographer Jenny Hocking, whose book Gough Whitlam: His Time will be published next month. Hocking says Kerr’s records suggest ”Mason was not merely the third man: he was, in many ways, the man”.

Kerr’s records make it clear that he wanted the extent of Sir Anthony’s role to surface after his own death but while Sir Anthony was still alive, to deflect his responsibility for the deception and dismissal of Mr Whitlam.

”In the light of the enormous and vicious criticism of myself, I should have dearly liked to have had the public evidence during my lifetime of what Mason had said and done during October-November 1975 … [but] he would be happier … if history never came to know of his role,” he wrote.

”I shall keep the whole matter alive in my mind till the end, and if this document is found among my archives it will mean that my final decision is that truth must prevail, and, as he played a most significant part in my thinking at that critical time, and as he will be in the shades of history when this is read, his role should be known.”

The account adds weight to the perception of Kerr as a weak man who wanted and needed to feel his actions had the approval of others. Aside from being portrayed as a constant confidant, the record depicts Sir Anthony ”as providing a necessary bridge between Kerr and chief justice Sir Garfield Barwick”, the book asserts.

It also describes how Kerr took ”the extreme step” of raising the possible dismissal of the Whitlam government with Prince Charles in September 1975, when they met in Port Moresby for an event to mark the transition to an

independent Papua New Guinea. ”Neither Kerr nor the palace ever revealed that, weeks before any action in the Senate had been taken [to block supply], the governor-general had already conferred with the palace on the possibility of the future dismissal of the prime minister, securing in advance the response of the palace to it,” Hocking writes.

Sir Anthony’s role in the dismissal has been the subject of speculation for decades, after Kerr noted in his memoir that one person other than Barwick ”sustained me in my own thinking as to the imperative within which I had to act”.

While the Herald columnist Gerard Henderson has reported that Kerr told him he directly consulted Sir Anthony before the dismissal, the detail laid out in Kerr’s private papers on their ”running conversation” staggered Hocking, who researched the biography for seven years.

”This was the discovery that I was most excited and, to an extent, shocked by,” she told the Herald. ”I was just astonished by what I read.”

Sir Anthony has consistently refused to be drawn on his role and, when again pressed by Hocking, refused to be drawn, telling her: ”I owe history nothing.”

However, Sir Anthony has written his account of what took place and has agreed for it to be published exclusively in the Herald on Monday.

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SBW says goodbye to all that, again

Sonny Bill Williams has spent the week stamping out his emotions. He’s become pretty good at farewells over the years as his career has ducked and dived its way through Sydney, France, Christchurch and Hamilton.
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It will be thed same when the All Blacks run on to Eden Park tonight, sing the anthem, do the haka and get on with the business of defending the Bledisloe Cup. But don’t be fooled by Williams’s game face. Inside, he will be a bundle of emotions – just as he was during the Chiefs’ Super Rugby final win over the Sharks, when his true feelings came spilling out after the full-time whistle.

“It’s the same as the Chiefs – I’ve got to put all that stuff to one side, prepare as best I can, do all the homework, get all the plays down pat, do all the homework on Australia and see where we can attack them,” Williams said. “I’ll concentrate on that instead of getting all emotional because that could take away from what I’m doing.”

Read between the lines and you get the feeling the 27-year-old has come to the realisation he’s giving up something he has come to cherish.

“Skip [Richie McCaw] says every time we get in the huddle that there’s a lot of other boys who want to be in it. Sometimes you listen but you don’t really take it in. But that’s kind of hit me in the last couple of weeks that I’m going to be involved. It will really hit when the boys go away overseas to play but who knows what the future holds. Maybe I’ll be putting my hand up to be back in the mix.”

Williams’s All Blacks career will go into hibernation at 19 Tests. He will head to Japan, then back to the league scene in Sydney. Perhaps the greatest advance has been the way he has grasped where his individual talents fit within a team collective.

“It was a little rusty, but in saying that we were able to help set up a couple of tries just through our decoy lines,” he observed of his combination with Ma’a Nonu in Sydney. “He’s a dangerous player, it’s just about finding the space between us, and hopefully we do that this week.”

One person sad to see Williams leave just as he’s settling in is five-eighth Dan Carter. “He’s been huge for us and a strong ball carrier,” he said. ”He’ll be sorely missed. I would have loved him to stay and build a stronger partnership with him.”

Toby Robson

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Tigers romp, Dons out of luck

Trent Cotchin leads jake Melksham to the footy.RICHMOND 5.5 8.11 12.16 13.24 (102) ESSENDON 3.2 4.6 7.9 8.9 (57)GOALS Richmond: Riewoldt 3, McGuane 2, Edwards 2, Deledio, O’Hanlon, Astbury, Martin, Nahas, Grigg. Essendon: Monfries 3, Browne, Jetta, Hurley, O’Brien, Gumbleton. BEST Richmond: Tuck, Deledio, Houli, Cotchin, Martin, Maric, Batchelor. Essendon: Heppell, Crameri, Watson. INJURIES Richmond: White (hamstring). Essendon: Davey (hamstring). UMPIRES Mollison, Nicholls, McInerney. CROWD 47,590 at MCG.
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HERE’S a little story about how luck has been treating Essendon lately. Stewart Crameri grabbed the ball about 60 metres from goal last night, turned, looked, took a few quick, bold steps and swung. About 18 minutes into the game against Richmond the Bombers were trying: running, chasing, winning the ball, holding Trent Cotchin to just two possessions. But as Crameri kicked, Steve Morris lunged, smothering the ball. Within seconds the Tigers had whisked it to the other end, straight into the arms of Jack Riewoldt, 30 metres out. No goal to Essendon, a third  to Richmond, and with it a 16-point lead.

The margin was still two goals at quarter-time and the Bombers were still hanging in there, still winning enough of the ball, still pushing into space, and starting to turn a few half-chances into three-quarter chances, against a team that was blowing a few. But as it turned out that’s all they were doing, holding on.

By half-time, Richmond was leading by 29 points. The Tigers had won 30 more possessions — all of them uncontested — and laid a lot more tackles. They had pumped the ball towards goal over and over, 42 times to the Bombers’ 23 by the time the siren  sounded, on track for the record.

Cotchin, slipping forward, was up to 11 possessions. Jobe Watson, after an 11-possession opening term, had just two. Richmond players were still searching harder for space, taking the ball forward and when they didn’t win the ball  the Bombers gave it back to them more often than not. Their defenders were under enormous pressure given the yellow-and-black avalanche, but on at least seven occasions turned the ball over and watched it get kicked over their heads for goals, caught bewildered and doing things they didn’t need to do.

Courtenay Dempsey’s very good season has become derailed in the past few weeks by his own frustration, an unnecessary behind-the-play headlock on Cotchin, after Cotchin had cleared the ball, giving up another inside-50.

The Tigers were not by any means playing brilliant football. Riewoldt was taking marks and getting shots on goal, but missing more than he was nailing. Their midfielders had worked their way well on top, with Shane Tuck and Brett Deledio prolific, without absolutely driving home their advantage. They forced many mistakes, and benefited from other Essendon errors, but were still able to turn a patchy start into a substantial lead, setting all the initiative. They were playing better, more organised football by the end of the half, making far fewer mistakes. They were running. The only thing they weren’t doing was putting the Bombers away.

A goal to Leroy Jetta at the start of the third quarter provided a little red-and-black flicker. Others, to Angus Monfries and the energetic Alex Browne, got them back to within 20 points, but Richmond didn’t want to let them get closer and was able, each time, to find a goal of  its own and keep the Bombers far enough away.

First came Dustin Martin’s long, emphatic goal. Then it was Riewoldt — having forced Michael Hurley’s move to defence — starting to get his timing right. His third goal — and another on the siren to Robin Nahas, after Riewoldt’s pass — meant things were basically as they were by the end of the third term: the Tigers in control, six goals up, doing what they needed to do.

By the end, the Essendon players were what they have been in the past couple of months. A few tried their hearts out; Watson, as always, was one of them, and Hurley another. A few in horrible form, but trying. A bunch that looks dazed and confused. A bunch that looks frustrated. A larger bunch that looks utterly unable to run or find a teammate by foot.At least one on the bench, injured.

Richmond’s ideal finish would have seen it pile on some more goals, extend the lead and inflict more misery than it already had. That didn’t quite happen, the lead extended through more points than goals in the last term as things petered out until Brett O’Hanlon snapped his first for the night.

But this is a team still learning how much is “enough”, and that’s exactly what  it got.


Nothing lifts the mood like a debutant booting a goal with his first kick. Nick O’Brien joined that club last night and he had Leroy Jetta to thank for it. A few minutes into the game, Michael Hurley kicked to a dangerous spot and Jetta took a fresh-air swish from the goal square. O’Brien made no such mistake, keeping his cool as Richmond defenders closed in and banging the ball through. He had four kicks in the first term, hit Hurley on the chest with one of them and appeared unfazed by the occasion.


Courtenay Dempsey has displayed a short fuse in recent weeks. Last night, against the Tigers, he was punished again, this time for a crude tackle off the ball on Trent Cotchin during the second term. Dempsey has been something of a barometer for the Bombers – he made an impressive comeback from a knee reconstruction and was flying when the Bombers were hot, but mistakes have crept into his game as the team’s form faded.


Jack Riewoldt can still win the Coleman Medal and his hopes will rise if Matthew Pavlich’s injuries force him out. Riewoldt kept his hopes of a second Coleman (he won in 2010) alive with three goals to move to 59, one behind Pavlich. – CHLOE SALTAU

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From Broncos to the ballet, Kalin’s in a league of his own

Leap of fate … Kalin Eade, 16, of Gunnedah, is aiming for the Australian Ballet but has been talent spotted by the Brisbane Broncos.KALIN EADE was not particularly popular with the girls when he moved to country NSW as a young boy and swept the floor in the year 3 dancing competitions.
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”I came from the Gold Coast and went in my first eisteddfod when I first got here and I didn’t really know anyone,” Kalin, 16, said. ”Winning most of the sections, the girls got a bit cranky about it. And in year 3 it’s like the world has ended if something bad goes wrong, so I didn’t have many friends after that.”

Nine years later, Kalin is captain of the local under-16s rugby league team, the Gunnedah Bulldogs, a rare NSW veteran of the Broncos training camp and showing enough potential to play one day professionally.

But, not long ago, the year 11 student came to a decision: he wanted to be a ballerino.

”They’re so different – football to dancing. Your body shape’s different and I think it’s to the point where I’ve got to choose either one. It could be life-changing,” he said.

As the only boy in his advanced dancing class in the NSW north-west and twice a choreographer in the New England Dance Festival competition, Kalin still has to contend with the bullies on the football field.

Recently, a group of boys on the other team ripped his head gear off during a game.

”I scored and they’re like … ‘He’s a dancer, he’s a dancer. Smash him,”’ Kalin said.

But the boy from the bush, who hopes to be accepted by the Australian Ballet, is not easily rattled. ”From an early age, he never liked to lose,” his mother, Linda Gallagher, said. ”He was very competitive, but always did his very best, so whatever he competed in, he just did it to the best of his ability. [He’s] always liked music and art and things like that as well as your footy,” she said.

While football runs in Kalin’s blood – his uncle played for Penrith and his father played rugby union – there is no family precedent for dancing or much creativity at all, his mother said.

Said she would prefer he chose a career with a steady income, but he must do what he loves.

”He played his football for mateship, really, and then just became very good at that and represented your school, your region, your state,” she said. ”But his heart’s not in it and he wants to pursue dance.”

Kalin, whose room is filled with football and swimming trophies on a small property outside Gunnedah, where a lamb bleats outside his window, said ballet appeals to his inner perfectionist.

”Ballet’s black and white. You do it right or you do it wrong,” he said. ”With all the other styles, you can interpret it in your own way, but ballet’s like, you’ve just got to be perfect.”

TV deal means the Super League era is finally over – Weekend Sport, Page 6-7

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Outdoor treks no cakewalk for screen-agers

Tiptoe through the treetops … Olivier Kasteven and Angus Simpson do the high ropes course at the Baden-Powell Scout Centre, Pennant Hills.AUSTRALIA risks producing ”a generation of outdoor-illiterate adults” unless children engage with nature as part of their schooling, an outdoor education expert says.
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Associate Professor Tonia Gray, from the school of education at the University of Western Sydney, said that for ”screen-agers tethered to their computers or TV screens”, school-based outdoor education programs might offer their only opportunities for outdoor exploration.

”School-age children today are using social media, computer games and television for their entertainment,” she said. ”What this will create is a generation of outdoor-illiterate adults.

”Outdoor educators are already noticing that Australian children cannot walk confidently and skilfully in outdoor environs. They are unfamiliar with uneven ground, crossing rivers or negotiating steep hilly terrain. They’ve got absolutely no motor co-ordination or skills to deal with it.”

Outdoor education was needed now more than ever, said Scott Polley, a University of South Australia lecturer and representative of Outdoor Education Australia.

”We’ve had a major shift from general outdoor play to indoor activities and this has potential psychological and physical health consequences,” he said.

”Once we would have assumed that all kids would get dirty and play in the creek and enjoy just being outside in the fresh air. In parts of society, we’re now seeing a lot of kids who struggle to walk on a track or see a bug and are quite scared of it. The outdoors is becoming a scarier place for kids … we’re building up these ideas we have to protect ourselves from the outdoors, instead of immersing ourselves.”

Antony Butcher is a co-director of Land’s Edge, which provides outdoor education programs in Sydney, the Illawarra, Kosciuszko National Park and on the south coast for students from years 2 to 12.

”Generally, the opportunity for kids to experience the outdoor environment – and certainly off the sporting field – is diminishing,” he said.

Outdoor education allowed children to explore personal identity, community and the environment, helping them build resilience and encouraging communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills, he said.

Activities such as rafting, camping and bushwalking were ”a big contrast to the structured learning environment of the four walls of the classroom. The key thing is the … interaction with others and the environment that the activities foster”.

The draft ”shape paper” for the national health and physical education curriculum proposes that outdoor education continue as an elective in years 11 and 12.

With the final shape paper for that curriculum released this month, Associate Professor Gray wants the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to stipulate that students should engage with nature.

But Associate Professor Andrew Brookes, of the school of outdoor and environmental education at La Trobe University, said the curriculum ”has quite reasonable provisions for outdoor education and environmental awareness. Schools run outdoor programs in quite different and diverse ways at the moment and as far as I can see there’s still plenty of room for that in the national curriculum.”

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