Edward Gough Whitlam (1916- ), Australian lawyer and politician. Whitlam was the parliamentary leader of the Australian Labor Party from 1967-77 and Prime Minister of Australia from 1972-75. In 1965 he predicted that PNG could become independent by 1970. Charles Barnes, conservative Minister for Territories, believed that independence might not come for several decades. When Whitlam visited PNG in 1969 he antagonized many white expatriates by supporting the PANGU Pati demand for early independence. He continued his support for PNG nationalism when he became Prime Minister and committed Australia to continue providing substantial financial aid. He warmly welcomed Independence in September 1975.