AUSTRALIA: The Rise and Fall of Jim Cairns

Only a few short months ago, Deputy Prime Minister Jim Cairns, 60, was a man to watch in Australian politics. A onetime detective and university lecturer, he was running the government in the absence overseas of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam when a cyclone devastated the city of Darwin last December (TIME, Jan. 6). Cairns supervised the massive relief effort for the stricken areas so well that he was talked about as a possible replacement for Whitlam, who at the time was experiencing one of the popularity lows that have periodically marked his career.

But no sooner had Cairns come within reach...

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