- Australians could be one step closer to finally uncovering the truth behind the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Government.
- In Hocking v Director General of the National Archives of Australia  HCA 1, the High Court found that the ‘personal letters’ between the then Governor-General & The Queen’s private secretary were in fact ‘Commonwealth records’.
- The result compels the Director-General of the National Archives to reconsider Professor Hocking’s request for access to the letters. A decision is expected to be made in late July.
Following an epic legal battle, Professor Hocking, historian and Whitlam biographer, is now closer to achieving her quest to access records stored at the National Archives concerning one of the most tumultuous periods of Australian political and constitutional history: the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975. By a 6:1 decision in Hocking v Director General of the National Archives of Australia  HCA 19 the High Court of Australia compelled the Director-General of the National Archives to reconsider Professor Hocking’s request for access to the Palace Letters: being a series of letters between Sir John Kerr, then the Governor-General, and her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in the custody of the National Archives.
On 11 November 1975, Sir John Kerr used his reserve powers as Governor-General under the Constitution to dismiss the Whitlam Government and appoint Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister. The event was a controversial episode in Australia’s political history. Yet it remains shrouded in secrecy and intrigue almost a half century later, a factor that injects considerable interest in the Palace Letters being accessed. Indeed, Professor Hocking’s legal action was supported by a crowd-funding campaign with pro bono assistance.