COLD WAR AUSTRALIAS - Kerr's Coup_Foretold

The Editor
The Canberra Times

Your editorial (4 July) softening up for a gubernatorial coup feeds speculation about the present Governor-General of Australia. Suspicions arise partly because of his past, partly because of the unusual nature of his appointment, and partly because that appointment has in no way lessened his longstanding special interest in political and international events.

            Sir John Kerr’s political career started with his membership and eventual leadership of the Civil Affairs Unit, Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs, during the first Pacific war. In the early 1950s, he worked as counsel for Industrial Group officials in the trade union movement. His role in developing a ‘secure’ legal system for Papua-New Guinea is well documented.

            His appointment was puzzling. For the first time since 1920, Australia has a Governor-General who is neither a has-been nor a remittance man. Why should a man in the fullness of his powers accept such a titular position when he could serve his class in so many other ways?

            Finally, the vice-regal notices in your columns replay scrutiny. For example, on 20 September 1974, Sir John Kerr entertained Gordon Jockell, Director of the Joint Intelligence Organisation, W.B. Pritchett, Research Fellow in the Strategic Studies Centre at the Australian National University; and Professor Beddie, from the Political Science Department, Duntroon.

            Any judicial inquiry into recent political events will be incomplete if it assumes that the career prospects of intelligence agents are in any way limited.

 Humphrey McQueen


 17 July 1975