Mark Day had an interesting column in The Australian today reflecting back on the role he and Rupert played after Sir John Kerr sacked Gough Whitlam, which included the following:

I was editing the Sydney Daily Mirror at the time. Peter Barron, later to go
on to high office within the Hawke government and then as a lobbyist for Kerry
Packer, was our man in Canberra and it was he who rang shortly after 1pm saying:
“Kerr’s sacked Gough – I’ve got to go.” Click.

This conversation took only a few seconds, and I hardly stopped as I rushed
from the Mirror’s editorial offices to the adjacent executive suites. Without
knocking I burst into the anteroom next to the boardroom where Rupert Murdoch,
then chairman Ken May and editorial manager Frank Shaw were among a small
kitchen cabinet chomping on sandwiches and generally chewing the fat.
“Kerr’s sacked Gough,” I spluttered. There was stunned silence for a few
seconds. Then, at once, Ken May threw his napkin into the air and shouted “He’s
done it!” while Rupert rushed past me towards his own office, and the others
demanded more details than I could provide.

We had a special edition on the streets in half an hour, and kept the presses
running flat out all afternoon. That evening, Rupert came to my office and
suggested we should carry an editorial the next day saying “More in sorrow than
in anger, Gough’s got to go.”

I set about drafting 500 words around that theme, detailing the Whitlam
government’s perceived failures, and sent a copy to Rupert for proprietorial
approval. It came back with one word changed.

That editorial inflamed some elements of a massive public protest rally held
in Hyde Park the day after, and hundreds of angry protesters marched on the
Mirror building in Surry Hills to vent their anger.

I watched from the fourth floor as they surrounded trucks carrying papers,
tore bundles from the trays, scattered them in the streets, and set them on
fire. It was a radicalising moment if only in the sense that it was an
extraordinary demonstration of the power of words. Never have I witnessed,
before or since, such an extraordinary reaction to any words I had cobbled

Of course, there was more to it than that. Murdoch had enthusiastically
backed the Whitlam government into office, and now he was being seen as a
principal agent in its removal.

Amid all the reflections on the Whitlam sacking, it would be great
to hear Rupert’s perspective. I’ve booked the flights this morning for
Rupert’s “shareholder information meeting” in Adelaide on November 16
and we’ll certainly try to engage him on Whitlam given the historic 30
year anniversary.

Day’s mention of Frank Shaw also brought back some memories. He’s
one of those classically loyal Rupert types. When I was business editor
of The Daily Telegraph in the late 1990s, he would ring from somewhere in the building every day just to check the News Corp share price.

Many years after retiring he was still coming in every day for some sort of loyal company historian role.