Former Australian PM Passed Away

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  • Australian Flag. REUTERS/David Gray

    Australian Flag. REUTERS/David Gray

    TEMPO.CO, Melbourne - Gough Whitlam, former Australian prime minister known for leading the nation through a period of massive change, has died aged 98. Tony Abbott, Australia's current prime minister, called Whitlam "a giant of his time". He also instructed half-mast flags around the country.

    "Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98," Whitlam's children Antony, Nicholas, Stephen and Catherine said in a statement on Monday October 20. "A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians."

    Whitlam, a reformist from the centre-left Australian Labor Party, rose into power at elections in 1972 for the first time in a generation. He was later dismissed in 1975 by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who represented the British monarch.

    It was the only time since the Australian federation was established in 1901 that a governor-general had dismissed an elected government. Despite being in power for only three years, Whitlam launched sweeping reforms of the nation's economic and cultural affairs, cementing his place as one of Australia's most respected leaders.