Whitlam Labour Rally, Brisbane 1975

A film shot at an official Labor Party rally in Brisbane on Friday 14th November 1975, three days after the Governor General sacked the elected Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. Some 15-20,000 people jammed into King George Square and surrounding streets to hear Gough Whitlam speak.

Significantly, the rally was backed by a strike estimated to involve 100,000 workers. The right-wing Storemen and Packers Union called its 7000 members out on 24-hour strike and 1000 job delegates marched to the rally after a morning meeting addressed by Bob Hawke as part of his campaign to limit union action. Other strikers included 1000 waterside workers, and builders' labourers whose union had called a national strike for the day. Seamen were called out for 24 hours, as were the 8500 members of the Meat Union, and 3000 members of FED&FA. Building tradesmen walked off the job, while railway workers -- other than those connected with the running of trains -- stopped for two hours. Thousands of metal workers attended the rally and were expected to stay out for the rest of the day, as did Electrical Trades Union members employed by the Brisbane City Council and the Southern Electric Authority and transport workers from several depots.

A march from the University of Queensland started with 300, but had grown to 1000 by the time it arrived in the city.

Copyright: Peter C. Gray