AUSTRALIA: Whitlam's Woes

In Australia, constitutional referendums are traditional bearers of woe: only five out of 26 have won popular support in the 72 years since federation. The latest referendum-giving Gough Whit-lam's Labor government control over prices and income, as a means of controlling inflation-was no exception. It was resoundingly defeated, with the incomes question drawing an alltime low yes vote of about 35%.

Some analysts interpreted the vote as a slap at Labor's attempt to transform conservative Australia into a welfare state, plus a protest against inflation, which has more than doubled in the...

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