02 June 2020 - Australian Court decides Queen Elizabeth's letters about PM dismissal should be made public
Australian Court Orders Release of Letters to Britain's Queen Elizabeth Surrounding PM Sacking
Reuters (The New York Times, 29/05/2020)
An Australian court ruled on Friday that the country's archives must release letters between Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her local representative during the 1970s, a move which may shed light on the sacking of its then prime minister Gough Whitlam.
The firing of Gough Whitlam by Governor-General John Kerr in 1975 remains one of Australia's most polarising political events because it represented an unprecedented level of intervention by the Commonwealth.
Gough Whitlam dismissal: Australian court grants access to Queen's letters
(BBC News, 29/05/2020)
Letters written by the Queen before the 1975 dismissal of then Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam can be made public, an Australian court has ruled.
Mr Whitlam's government was removed by her representative at the time, Governor-General Sir John Kerr, and replaced with an opposition party.
The dismissal is often described as the most controversial episode in Australian political history.
High Court decides 'Palace letters' written during the Whitlam dismissal can be accessed by historian Jenny Hocking
Elizabeth Byrne (ABC Australia, 29/05/2020)
Historian Jenny Hocking has won her High Court bid to access the letters exchanged between then governor-general Sir John Kerr and the Queen around the time of the dismissal of the Whitlam government.
Until now, the National Archives of Australia had refused to release the documents, known as the "Palace letters", saying they were private papers.
But Professor Hocking told the High Court correspondence between a governor-general and a monarch was the property of the Commonwealth, and not private.
Many stories to be told around the 'Palace letters' High Court judgment
Kim Rubenstein (The Canberra Times, 01/06/2020)
Continuing a family tradition, Professor Jenny Hocking's success in the High Court last Friday is a significant victory. It releases control over a vital part of Australia's history from the Queen's veto and places it in the hands of Australian institutions.
Following her initial request for access to "the Palace letters" just over four years ago, Hocking finally had the highest court in Australia determine that the contents of a sealed package, deposited with the National Archives and containing contemporaneous copies of correspondence sent between Sir John Kerr and Her Majesty the Queen of Australia, are "records" that are "the property of a Commonwealth Institution" and are subject to section 31 of the Archives Act.