'The New York Times' reported in 1986, "Australian television discovered the mini-series a few years ago (in 1983 with 'All The Rivers Run', 'For The Term of His Natural Life', 'Return To Eden' and 'The Dismissal'). The results: the 3 American networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) produced 18 mini-series in 1985. By comparison, Australia produced 13 such shows in 1984 (including 'Bodyline', 'Waterfront' and 'The Last Bastion') and 17 in 1985 (including 'Anzacs', 'The Cowra Breakout', 'The Flying Doctors' and The Dunera Boys')." 

The 1983 locally-produced mini-series, 'The Dismissal' re-enacted the "deepening political and constitutional crisis" in the history of Australian Federation which culminated in the dismissal of Australia's 21st Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, the constitutional Chief of State, at 1:00pm on November 11, 1975, some 2 hours after attending the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial. 

Brian Wilson of 'Gemini News Service' noted at the time, "The role of Governor-General may never be the same again. Originally he was the Queen's official representative in Australia. Today (in 1975) the British monarch plays no constitutional role in Australia and now (in 1975), it seems, the Governor-General has more power in Australia than the Queen has in Britain. Although Sir John Kerr pondered long and hard over his own historic decision, he may have misunderstood the essentially political rather constitutional nature of the present (back in 1975) crisis." 

It was reported a letter signed by a Buckingham Palace official, stated, "The written Constitution, and accepted Constitution conventions, preclude The Queen from intervening personally." Australia's 20th Prime Minister, William McMahon told 'Fairfax Media' in 1982, "I take the strong view that the Governor-General, no matter what his abilities or who chooses him, should not have the right to decide what are his reserve powers. It was made absolutely clear in the constitutional conferences before Federation (in 1901) that here (in Australia), as in the United Kingdom, if it is not in the Constitution, it is not anywhere."

'The Age' mentioned back in 1979, "Constitutional authorities, and Edmund Barton, Australia's first Prime Minister, during the debates at the constitutional convention before Federation made it clear the Governor-General must act on his Ministers' advice where he was exercising the prerogative powers." In addition to dismissing the Prime Minister of the day, it was understood Sir John Kerr also "dissolved Parliament in preparation for election of a new House of Representatives and Senate."

Robin Osborne of 'Public News Service' reported in 1975, "With new elections approaching December 13 (1975), Australian society has been torn apart by Sir John Kerr’s decision, in the nearest thing to civil war the nation has yet to experience. The electoral campaign is proceeding vocally and bitterly." Some thousands of demonstrators protested the dismissal of Gough Whitlam.

Jack Edgerton, the deputy of the President of the Australian Labor Party and the leader of the powerful Australian Council of Trade Unions, Bob Hawke, claimed, "In any other country they would have blown up Parliament House by now (back in 1975)." Some 50 Melbourne lawyers sent a telegram of protest to Sir John Kerr for his "improper use" of constitutional provisions. Robin Osborne continued, "Just 200 years ago (in 1788), Australia was a penal colony, divided into jailed and jailor. Today (in 1975), Australians still trace their ancestry to one of those 2 sides and seem as polarized as ever. Whoever wins the election, the divisions are likely to remain.

"Although Australia's 60% self-sufficiency in oil has shielded it from the effects of the oil crisis (at the time), the global inflationary wave proved too big to dive under. Prices spiralled, incomes followed suit and the (Whitlam) government caught the blame. On top of everything else, scandals forced 2 Labor treasurers from office during the year (back in 1975). Should Labor be re-elected, it would doubtless attempt a rewrite of the Constitution, possibly with the intention of abolishing the hitherto unabused power of the Governor-General."

Before the Labor Party under Gough Whitlam swept to power in 1972, the Liberals had been in office for 23 years after Robert Menzies became the 17th Prime Minister in 1949. Robert Menzies was also the 12th Prime Minister of Australia in 1939. Robin Osborne added, "If the Liberals win, Malcolm Fraser would encourage U.S. investment in Australia, ease the tax burden on the private sector of industry, and vastly decrease public expenditures, especially for welfare and the arts. He would reverse the present demobilization trend in the armed forces, and possibly re-establish a military presence in friendly Southeast Asian countries."

Malcolm Fraser was Australia's Prime Minister in the 7 years between 1975 and 1983. As pointed out, "It was the first time a Governor-General has dismissed a Prime Minister in the 75 years since the formation of the Australian Commonwealth (in 1901). Sir John Kerr's action compounded a constitutional crisis which began in October 1975 with the refusal of the Opposition majority in the Upper House of Parliament to approve the Labor government's budget. That, too, was a first in Australian history."

It was noted the Sydney Stock Exchange's index rose 17.32 points to a high for the year of 419.57 following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam. However "the stock market index dropped 10.46 points after a 17.32 points gain following the swearing in of Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister amid widespread demonstrations." Gough told hundreds of people, "Well may we say 'God save the Queen' because nothing will save the Governor-General."

The locally-produced 3-part mini-series "rated through the roof" when it went on air in March 1983 peaking with 31 rating points on the first 2 nights and 37 rating points on the final night. Matt Carroll told Richard Glover of 'Fairfax Media' in 1984, "'Dismissal' was incredibly important in uplifting the way people saw (channel) Ten, and in uplifting the way stations saw their audience. When everyone saw that rating, it gave the confidence to continue on that tack. I think it’s changed things on other stations too, forcing everyone to look again at the idea of the lowest common denominator.

"'Dismissal' broke all the rules – it was about politics, it was semi-documentary and it worked brilliantly. When we put programs like 'The Dismissal' or 'Waterfront' to air, we get switchboard jammed with ABC viewers screaming about the commercials. We retain our normal audience and we have a huge switch-on factor from the ABC. The problem the ABC faces now (in 1984) is that we've made things like 'The Dismissal' acceptable to commercial audiences with no compromises. 'Dismissal' changed the whole face of commercial television."

'The New York Times' reported in 1986, "Australian television is a mixture of government and private enterprise. In a country of only 15 million (at the time), about 40% of Australia's population lives in and around Sydney and Melbourne. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the equivalent of Great Britain's BBC, a government-operated channel with relatively highbrow programming."

In 1986, Linda Evans spent 6½ weeks in Alice Springs, Australia to film the 2-part McElroy & McElroy production of 'The Last Frontier' which "was dismissed by most critics when it played in the United States." Jack Thompson remarked, "I had watched 'Dynasty' on occasion. Of course, it's very popular in Australia, as it is everywhere else. Linda has a great range, and she tried very hard to make 'The Last Frontier' something other than 'Krystle Goes Outback'. I think audience recognized that, and the show did a lot for Linda’s prestige."

The first 2 hours of 'The Last Frontier' attracted 36 share (of the TV sets switched on at the time the program went on air, 36% were watching 'The Last Frontier'). The second 2 hours attracted 39 share. 'The Last Frontier' was written by Michael Laurence and John Misto and directed by Simon Wincer. George Miller made the comment in 2005, "'The Dismissal' was a significant moment for Australia."

George Miller founded the production company Kennedy Miller in 1981 with Byron Kennedy and Terry Hayes. George told Anne Thompson of 'The Chicago Tribune' in 1988, "We've made 5 mini-series, almost all of them 10 hours long. Our ratings have been so high with event-TV, that we do exactly what we want to do. Therefore the 3 networks are always after us. We don't do anything until we get an idea.

"I really thought TV was a lower form of life. Byron and Hayes talked me into doing a dramatization of 'The Dismissal', the closest thing to a major political crisis Australia has ever had. That day we had a constitutional crisis that resulted in the dismissal of a Prime Minister by a ceremonial representative of the Queen. Everybody remembers what they were doing that afternoon, the same way as when JFK died."

Terry Hayes recounted, "At the time, it looked chaotic. 'What are these people who make car-crash movies doing making (a film) about politics?' We were fortunate that 'The Dismissal' delivered to us a story that not in your wildest imagination could you ever write." It was reported, "When Kennedy Miller delivered the 16-mm. film to channel Ten, only new owner Rupert Murdoch had faith in the mini-series commerciality. Six months later (in March 1983), after the national elections, the entire country stopped to watch 'The Dismissal' for 3 nights running. The series grabbed a whopping 45 share (the nightly news rates about 22)."

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