Rob Whiddon

Interviewed by
Sue Yarrow
Sep 11 2011
Rob Whiddon
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Rob Whiddon discusses his interest in politics and how he became involved in the Labor Party. He discusses his appointment to work for Senator Jim Cavanagh who was a Minister in the Whitlam Government. He then joined the party in the wake of the Whitlam dismissal. Gough Whitlam
00:06:52 Rob Whiddon discusses the Labor Party in South Australia. unions
00:08:17 Rob Whiddon discusses his move to Queensland after the election of the Fraser Government. In January 1976 he took up a position with Senator Mal Colston in Queensland. media
00:11:36 Rob Whiddon discusses his involvement with social movements during the Bjelke-Petersen era. George Georges
00:13:39 Rob Whiddon discusses his shift from working in Senator Mal Colston's office to work for Senator George Georges. He outlines how his involvement in the Labor Party reform group led to his dismissal by Senator Colston. He discusses the internal tension in the Queensland branch of the Labor Party before intervention. George Georges, Manfred Cross
00:18:04 Rob Whiddon describes the Queensland Labor Party's lack of support for the social movements of the time. He notes the internal conflict in the Queensland branch and notes the attempts by some in the party to build coalitions with other left groups, including Christian groups. George Georges, Raymond Whitrod, religion
00:20:36 Rob Whiddon describes Ian McLean, Manfred Cross and George Georges as important Labor Party organisers and participants in the social movements of the time. George Georges, Ian McLean, Manfred Cross
00:21:56 Rob Whiddon discusses the electoral insignificance of the Queensland Labor Party in this era.
00:22:21 Rob Whiddon details his own involvement in the Labor Party. Harry Hauenschild, Terry Hampson
00:23:16 Rob Whiddon describes the importance of the street march campaign and the media in undermining the Bjelke-Petersen Government. Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, media, Mike Ahern, Police
00:27:16 Rob Whiddon discusses his desire for the reform of the Queensland Labor Party. He discusses the dominance of the Trades Hall group and lack of diversity in the party's parliamentary wing. Neville Warburton, Peter Beattie, unions, Whitlam Government 1972-75
00:29:48 Rob Whiddon discusses the changing membership of the Labor Party after the Whitlam years. He states that some members became more involved with the rise of the reform group. Australian Democrats, Greens Party, Jack Egerton
00:32:17 Rob Whiddon recalls the rise of the reform group and his personal view that Queensland and the Labor Party in Queensland needed to be reformed. Manfred Cross, Peter Beattie, Whitlam Government 1972-75
00:35:22 Rob Whiddon highlights his role in the reform group. He discusses the divisions in the reform group. Denis Murphy, George Georges, Madeline McPherson, Peter Beattie
00:38:06 Rob Whiddon discusses the process of reforming the Queensland branch. He describes the importance of federal involvement in enacting reform. Paul Keating
00:40:36 Rob Whiddon discusses the key individuals involved in the reform movement. He notes the importance of the unions in pursuing reform. Barbara Cross, Denis Murphy, George Georges, Ian McLean, Madeline McPherson, Manfred Cross, Peter Beattie, Terry Hampson, unions
00:42:46 Rob Whiddon describes the key goals of the reform group. He emphasises the importance of renewing and broadening the parliamentary team and achieving government. Anne Warner, Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, David Hamill, Denis Murphy, Wayne Goss
00:44:56 Rob Whiddon recalls divisions within the reform group. He states that differences of opinion emerged over tactics. He notes the vicious nature of the internal dispute. Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, factions, Peter Beattie
00:48:06 Rob Whiddon discusses Bill Hayden's lack of active involvement in the reform group. He reflects on the build up to intervention and debates the merit of federal interference. Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, Manfred Cross
00:50:44 Rob Whiddon discusses the key events in the lead up to intervention. He highlights the attempts to expel a number of reform group members. He also notes the role of Ed Casey as the leader of the parliamentary wing in Queensland. David Hamill, Ed Casey, Manfred Cross, Neville Wran, Peter Beattie
00:54:20 Rob Whiddon discusses the first wave of federal reform in 1978. He goes on to discuss the 1979 Rockhampton conference.
00:58:02 Rob Whiddon recalls the actions taken by the Queensland Central Executive against key activists of the reform group. George Georges, Joe Harris
00:59:14 Rob Whiddon comments on the emergence of the Centre Caucus in the 1970s and the emergence of the factional system. factions, George Georges, Peter Beattie
01:03:27 Rob Whiddon discusses the possibility that the Queensland branch of the Labor Party might split.
01:04:21 Rob Whiddon discusses the factors that contributed to the push for reform. He relates the importance of electoral factors in guaranteeing federal support for intervention. media
01:06:48 Rob Whiddon describes the emergence of the Centre Caucus faction. He notes the differences between various factions. factions, George Georges, Joy Ardill, Peter Beattie, Wilf Ardill
01:10:49 Rob Whiddon reflects on what he would do differently if he could live the intervention period over. He discusses the long term impact of the emergence of factions. factions
01:12:48 Rob Whiddon discusses the long term impacts of federal intervention.
01:16:37 Rob Whiddon discusses the period between the 1980 intervention and achieving electoral success in 1989. He highlights the importance of leadership in obtaining government. Gough Whitlam, Kevin Rudd, leadership, Wayne Goss
01:19:15 Rob Whiddon discusses the reaffiliation of the AWU and role the union plays in the party and governments. Peter Beattie, unions
01:21:30 Rob Whiddon reflects on the outcomes of the reform movement and intervention. He discusses returning to government, the broadening of the party, the emergence of the factional system as well as the formation of friendships. affirmative action, factions
01:25:07 Rob Whiddon discusses the lessons of intervention. Neville Wran
01:27:19 Rob Whiddon discusses the identity of Mickey Spillall. Peter Beattie
01:28:56 Rob Whiddon discusses the origins of Smart State, the concept and term. He discusses the role of Peter Beattie, John Mattick and his own role. biosciences, biotechnology, Gough Whitlam, Peter Beattie, Premier's Department, Smart State, universities
01:33:50 Rob Whiddon describes the role of Smart State in overturning Queensland's reputation. He describes Queensland as the Athens of the North and the resentment from other states. He discusses the international recognition of Queensland as the Smart State. Peter Beattie, Smart State
01:36:40 Rob Whiddon discusses the attitude towards Smart State within the government and public service. Beattie Government 1998-2007, Smart State
01:37:41 Rob Whiddon describes Treasury's response to Smart State. He discusses the Bligh Government's reorientation of priorities. Bligh Government 2007-12, Smart State, Treasury
01:39:51 Interview ends.