The Search for the Palace Letters

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DURATION: 58 mins

Based on the book The Palace Letters by Jenny Hocking

Tells the story of Prof. Jenny Hocking’s epic and successful legal battle against the Australian Government and HM Queen Elizabeth to access the Palace Letters, revealing the hidden story behind the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in 1975.

This film follows the personal struggle of historian Professor Jenny Hocking as she fights an epic battle against the Australian Government, the National Archives, and the British Royal Family in a landmark self-funded legal action. At stake is whether letters between former Governor-General Sir John Kerr and HM Queen Elizabeth II, written at the time of the constitutional crisis of 1975, are deemed private correspondence and therefore remain closed, or official documents that should be accessible to the Australian people under the terms of the Archives Act (1983). Running for many years, the Palace Letters case* resulted in a stunning High Court victory and opened the secret archives on the Palace’s role in Kerr’s unprecedented dismissal of the Whitlam Government and set a powerful precedent overturning Royal Secrecy and enabling Australians to know their own history.

*Hocking v Director-General of the National Archives of Australia [2020] HCA 19; 271 CLR 1; 94 ALJR 569; 379 ALR 395

“The most important political documentary in years” – The Rationale

“An intense ‘polical thriller’ in search of our history” – Sunday Age

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