He demonstrated a great sense of timing to the last.
He was a favourite of the Hard Left in ALP politics, and is well regarded to this day.
He did a terrific job under Whitlam as Minister for Urban and Regional Development (the Department was known as DURD). He bought back a large amount of the suburb of Glebe, in Sydney, from the Anglican Church, and turned it into a public housing estate.
"At its south-eastern end is the Glebe Estate, an area of Housing Commission properties purchased by the government of Gough Whitlam as a massive urban renewal project to provide public housing for the needy. This area has the third highest Aboriginal population in Sydney" (Wikipedia)This was probably his greatest achievement in office.
He was Minister for Territories when I ran a campaign to get Glebe Park in Canberra declared a permanent (and formal) Park.
I made such a bad impression on him that he called me a "Revisionist".
I had to look it up (after our meeting). But I knew I was striking a nerve with him, because I knew it was a classic insult much favoured by the old Left. Anyway, I kept on pressing him. I figured any damage to my cause was well and truly done by then, if he was reaching into his post-Cold War bag of insults.
We out-flanked him and got his Department Head on side, and eventually the Minister was persuaded to declare Glebe Park a Public Park. The previous old bastard Minister for the Capital Territory, (Michael Hodgman) had wanted to turn the whole area into a Casino and Hotel complex. That defeat of Michael Hodgman's plan is my fondest memory from those days.
Glebe Park was formally declared as a Park in 1983.
"A community campaign to save the trees resulted in a park being proclaimed in 1983 and heritage listing by the National Trust of Australia (ACT) and the Australian Heritage Commission."
It is nice to know the work of the "Save Glebe Park Committee" is recognised by Wikipedia.
There are some nice photos on the Glebe Park, Canberra site in Wikipedia.
"An open area in Glebe Park"
by Cfitzart - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons