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2CH news comments

Gough Whitlam the family man

#991 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 9 Nov 2014.

On Tuesday the nation formally farewelled former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, with notable speeches by Noel Pearson and Cate Blanchett, among others.

Gough grew up in a Baptist household in Melbourne and, although he did not identify as a Christian in adulthood, he was faithfully married to his wife Margaret for almost 70 years. Even Family Voice Australia’s national research officer, Ros Phillips, saluted Gough as a model husband and loving father to their four children.

But she was not so diplomatic about the Family Law Act, which passed through Parliament on Mr Whitlam’s watch, saying it sparked a huge rise in divorce, sometimes instigated unilaterally against the wishes of one partner, and led to “a generation of fatherless children, who grow up to disproportionately fill our prisons and psychiatrists’ offices.”

“Gough was a family role model,” Ros Phillips said. “But I cannot in all honesty say the same for his government’s legacy.”

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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