Australia/1975 coup d'état

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Event.png Australia/1975 coup d'état (coup,  US/Sponsored Regime-change efforts since 1945) Rdf-icon.png
1975 Australian coup.png
Sir John Kerr, who on the CIA's orders invoked "reserve powers" and dismissed the Australian Prime minister.
Date 15 October 1975 - 11 November 1975
Location Canberra,  Australian Capital Territory
Planners US Deep state, UK Deep state, CIA, MI6, Le Cercle?
Participants Marshall Green
Exposed by Christopher Boyce
Description A CIA/MI6-backed covert "constitutional coup" to remove Gough Whitlam whom they saw as a loose cannon.

The 1975 Australian coup (also called the Canberra Coup) was successfully concluded on 11 November when Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was to inform Australian Parliament about the secret CIA presence in the country. He was summoned by Sir John Kerr, who invoked archaic vice-regal "reserve powers" and summarily dismissed him.[1] William Blum wrote in Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II that Sir John Kerr acted on behalf of the CIA in procuring Whitlam's dismissal.[2]


In 1966 Kerr had joined the Association for Cultural Freedom, a conservative group that was later revealed to have received CIA funding. Christopher Boyce claimed that the CIA wanted Whitlam removed from office because he threatened to close US military bases in Australia, including Pine Gap. Boyce said that Kerr was described by the CIA as "our man Kerr".[3] Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal noted that the CIA "paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige... Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money".


Marshall Green

Full article: Marshall Green

In 1974, the White House sent as ambassador to Australia Marshall Green, who was known as “the coupmaster” for his central role in the 1965 coup against Indonesian President Sukarno – which cost up to a million lives.[4]

Apology from Carter

Whitlam said that in 1977 Warren Christopher, the United States Deputy Secretary of State , made a special trip to Sydney to meet with him and told him, on behalf of US President Jimmy Carter, of his willingness to work with whatever government Australians elected, and that the US would never again interfere with Australia's democratic processes.[citation needed]


In 1975, Whitlam discovered that the UK deep state had long been operating MI6 against his government. He said later: “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office." One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told John Pilger “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans."[1]


In 1982 Christopher Boyce stated on 60 Minutes, an Australian Channel Nine TV program. He outlined the coup, stated that the CIA had engineered it, and that senior CIA officials referred to Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who dismissed Whitlam’s government, as “our man Kerr.” The response the commercially-controlled media was a new blackout.[5] "In 1985, however, his story became the subject of a movie, called The Falcon and the Snowman, starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn, based upon the 1979 book of the same title by Robert Lindsay".[5]

CIA Officers

In interviews in the 1980s with the US investigative journalist Joseph Trento, CIA agents disclosed that the "Whitlam problem" had been discussed "with urgency" by CIA director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield, and that "arrangements" were made.[1]

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II

Full article: Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II

William Blum wrote in 2013 that the most detailed account of the coup of which he was aware was in his Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II.[6]


In its page about Whitlam, the Australian National Museum makes no mention of the CIA or other forces which planned the Canberra coup. In 2019, it summarised his downfall by stating that "Economic woes and political mistakes resulted in the Opposition refusing to pass his government’s Budget Bills in the Senate. In 1975, he became the only Prime Minister to be removed from office by the Governor-General."[7]

The Washington Post has twice published that the Canberra Coup was an internal matter that lead to a government shudown.[8] Columnist Max Fisher wrote in 2013 that "there actually is one foreign precedent [of the US government shutdown]: Australia did this once. In 1975, the Australian government shut down because the legislature had failed to fund it, deadlocked by a budgetary squabble. It looked a lot like the U.S. shutdown of today, or the 17 previous U.S. shutdowns."[9] In January 2019, Rick Noack[10] "once again uses a US government shutdown as an excuse to lie about the CIA coup that overthrew Gough Whitlam, the Labor PM of Australia who was trying to shut down the CIA base at Alice Springs."[11][12]



Marshall GreenUS coup master

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Australia - The Forgotten Couparticle16 March 2014John PilgerThe November 1975 dismissal of duly elected Australian Prime minister Gough Whitlam by Queen Elizabeth's governor general Sir John Kerr. And Australians STILL think they live in an independent democratic country


  1. a b c,6300
  2. Blum, William (1998), Killing Hope – U.S. Military and CIA interventions since World War II, Black Rose Books, ISBN 978-1-55164-096-9, retrieved 2010-06-06 
  3. Martin, Ray (23 May 1982), A Spy's Story: USA Traitor Gaoled for 40 Years After Selling Codes of Rylite and Argus Projects. (60 Minutes transcript),, archived from the original on 17 June 2009, retrieved 2006-09-24 
  4. Cited in Pilger, John The British-American coup that ended Australian independence The Guardian 22 October 2014 (in which it is further alleged that Britain's MI6 participated with the CIA in endeavours to destabilise the Whitlam government).
  5. a b