The Eleventh (ABC)How odd, hearing a podcast narrator speaking about events in November 1975 admitting that he wasn’t born at the time! This series is about the dismissal of the Whitlam government, claiming to have information that has only been revealed in the last few years, and nodding to the information that has yet to be released (drawing on, no doubt, Jenny Hocking’s The Dismissal Dossier: Everything you were never meant to know about November 1975, my review here). Episode 1 The Sweet Spot starts with the divisive effects of Vietnam War, and the U.S. anger at Australia’s call for both US and Vietnam to return to peace talks after the U.S. Christmas bombings. Episode 2 Black Orchids looks at the Whitlam government’s testy relationship with American spy agencies, and later Australia’s parallel agency after the bombings of Yugoslav travel agents in 1972, culminating in Attorney General Lionel Murphy’s raid on ASIO.
The History Listen (ABC) For some more mid-20th century history, the History Listen of 29 Oct 2019 examines The Bomb Lobby. The program looks at a small but powerful group of Liberal Party politicians who championed Australia having its own nuclear bomb. After the disappearance of Prime Minister Harold Holt (I feel conspiracy vibes coming on), he was replaced by John Gorton, a strong pro-nuclear supporter with a policy of building a nuclear station at Jervis Bay, ostensibly for nuclear electricity supply, but scaleable for a weapon. I suspect that they are still amongst us.
The Documentary (BBC) The song “Wind of Change”, released in 1990, was only vaguely familiar to me, with its unusual whistled introduction. Perhaps I was too busy with young children in 1990 to listen to the radio. In my own defence, although it was a huge hit in Europe, it only reached number 7 on the Australian weekly charts, and No. 43 for 1990. Anyway, written before the fall of the Berlin Wall, but released soon afterwards, this song encapsulated the hope felt for the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. The program Wind of Change: Scorpions features interviews with the singers and listeners who speak about the personal and political importance of the song. And just think about where we are today.
And in case you can’t remember it, here’s the film clip.