Great men will always be great
By Judy Evans
January 11, 2019 5:34pm CST
Gough Whitlam (1916 to 2014) was Prime Minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975 before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr. He was head of the Labour Party from 1967 to 1977 and led them to power for the first time in 23 years. He was what seems often missing from today’s politicians – a true leader and statesman. He always travelled economy and insisted his ministers did too. I don’t think too many do nowadays. He said this once at a cabinet meeting, which I thought gave food for thought. ‘I travel economy and I am a great man. I could travel economy for the rest of my life and I would still be a great man. But most of the people around this table' - and that was the cabinet - 'are pissants and they could travel first class for the rest of their life and they would still be pissants'. The definition of ‘pissant’ is ‘an insignificant or contemptible person or thing’. While I did say Whitlam was a leader and statesman, I didn’t say he was modest. The photo is of one of Western Australia’s premiers who I met once.
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“Let me make quite clear that I am for abortion and, in your case Sir, we should make it retrospective.” Gough Whitlam gave a lot of great answers out to hecklers too. He had a great sense of humour. This was Gough's answer to someone who had repeatedly asked him to outline his stance on abortion.
@Shiva49 Yes, I have seen that famous riposte before. It is a good reply, to be sure. Gough Whitlam also said this about Malcolm Fraser, I think, because Malcolm was also rather tall. Gough was just a shade taller though. "He is lofty, and I am eminent."
It is not easy to descend to mediocrity once one is used to a decent disposition. I have not changed my approach to life which is to live and let others live. Leaders should not forget they are also role models. Nice photo you have shared. I recall reading about this earlier - siva
@JudyEv That reminds me of President Reagan when he was suffering from Alzheimer towards the end of his life. Ever gracious, he opened and held the door for a lady. She thanked him for being gracious. And his reply " that is part of my job". Yes, good manners stay as also the bad! siva
• United States
There’s a lot of truth to that. People seem to think that their clothes or their fancy car “makes” them great. That’s not true, it’s the type of person you are that makes you great....even if you live in the poorest part of town.