The Prime Minister and I both become ASIO targets MURWILLUMBAH, 4 December 2007 Postal workers in the Tweed Valley, a sugar cane and banana-growing shire just south of the Queensland border, deliver mail to outlying rural properties on a motorbike. The intrepid couriers are mainly retirees earning a few extra bob on contracts with Australia…

John Gorton’s Road to Bali SAIGON, Sunday 9 June 1968 When John Gorton became Prime Minister in January 1968 the major item on his domestic and foreign policy agenda was the Vietnam war. Against the strenuous advice of his own military, political and intelligence advisers, Gorton decided to visit Australian troops in Vietnam at the…

Mrs Gorton stands by her man Canberra, Wednesday, 19 March 1969 – In popular mythology the Ides of March is associated with hellish forebodings. It is dated from March, 44BC, when Julius Caesar was assassinated by fellow senators marking a turning point in Roman history. Shakespeare cemented irrational fears about the calendar month by writing…

Midnight dancing at the US Embassy Canberra, Thursday, 1 November 1968 – Prime Minister John Gorton was just emerging from the tabloid scandal involving cabaret artist Liza Minnelli at Chequers nightclub in Sydney when he was hit by fresh claims about his misbehaviour with a teenage female from Canberra’s National Press Gallery. The story unfolded…

Rupert Murdoch storms Fleet Street with help of old schoolmate John Gorton London, Monday, 4 December 1968 – Rupert Murdoch was the enfant terrible of media owners when he arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport three weeks before Christmas. Cashed up and burning with ambition, Murdoch was on the acquisition trail. He wanted to achieve what…

John Gorton goes dancing again at Sydney Town Hall SYDNEY, Saturday, 13 July 1968 – Four days after his perilous escapade at Sydney Chequers restaurant with cabaret star Liza Minnelli, Prime Minister John Gorton was on the dance floor for a very different event at Sydney Town Hall. He was a surprise attendee at the…