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May 26, 2010

The inside story on Fraser's resignation

Both Tony Abbott and former staffer David Kemp appealed to Malcolm Fraser not to leave the Liberal Party, reveals his biographer Margaret Simons.

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As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.

*This article was originally published on May 26, 2010.

Three weeks ago, Malcolm Fraser and I were signing books outside a tent in the tiny town of Clunes, two hours’ drive north-west of Melbourne, when one of the people queued up for our signatures asked him if he was still a member of the Liberal Party.

I held my breath. Was this when the story would break? We had been on a two-month publicity tour together to promote our book, and I had been sure that the news of his resignation would come out in the first five minutes.

After all, he had been interviewed by some of the best political journalists in the country, and done dozens of public events. He had even done the Canberra Press Club. “It can’t possibly remain a secret,” I had told him in February as we awaited the book launch. But I was wrong.

Fraser had told me he would not lie if asked a direct question, but nor would he do anything to publicise his decision. Not one of the nation’s journalists had asked that direct question.

Was this it? Would the news break in tiny Clunes, thanks to a question from an ordinary member of the public? And would I, at last, be at liberty to write the story I had been restrained from writing?

Fraser was silent for a beat, and then replied as he signed his name: “I’m still a liberal.” And the queue moved on. He turned to me with a grin and a raised eyebrow.

Damn it.

Fraser resigned from the Liberal Party shortly after Tony Abbott came to the leadership. He told me about it early this year, in confidence, as his co-author. Naturally I wanted to break the story, but he held me to the confidence. The deal was that when the news broke, I would be at liberty to write as I chose. But not until then.

Over the following weeks I heard news of his negotiations with his former staffer David Kemp, now the President of the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party, and with Tony Abbott himself. Both wanted him to sort out his disagreements with the party internally, or by writing articles and by arguing, rather than taking this final step.

But the decision was made. It was not sudden, and it was not personal. But it had been coming for a very long while.

Why did Fraser want to keep the resignation quiet? Largely, it was his old-fashioned sense of honour. Leaving the party was a painful decision. He had nearly left in 2001, during the Howard government’s handling of the Tampa affair.

He and Tamie stayed at that time by the skin of their teeth, partly out of loyalty to the liberal-minded members of the party who were battling within, and partly out of hope that the party would one day return to what Fraser saw as its true liberal roots.

The decision to leave, after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as leader, represented the death of that hope.

Fraser, and even more particularly Tamie, felt that it would be indecent to publicise the decision, although they accepted that it would eventually come out. They particularly did not want to be seen as using the move as part of a publicity campaign for the book.

“Do you think it would really be that big a story?” he asked me. I told him I thought it would be on the front pages, and he winced.

Yesterday, The Australian Financial Review’s Laura Tingle, having apparently heard some gossip, rang Fraser to ask if it was true he had left the party. He confirmed it, and then rang to release me from my obligation.

But today his telephones are all on divert, and he is uncontactable.

Leaving the party which he led, and which for so many years had seemed to him to be the best political expression of his ideals, was not a sudden move.

When Fraser first entered politics in the 1950s, he was a vehement anti-Communist. He had come of age intellectually in idealistic post-war Oxford, through his study of the core philosophers of Liberalism, including John Stuart Mill, and John Locke.

Communism seemed to Fraser, and many others, the main threat to freedom. Menzies’ Liberal Party — founded, as Fraser saw it, not as a conservative force but as a progressive party committed to defending freedom and the rule of law — seemed the best embodiment of his own ideals.

He remained of that view for the next 40 years.

People often ask if Fraser has changed, without fully taking account of how much the world has changed around him over that time.

By the early 1990s the Berlin wall had fallen and the Communist threat was no more. This, in Fraser’s view, made a realignment necessary. It was now not only possible, but necessary, to combat other threats to freedom.

In the eight years immediately following the defeat of his government in 1983, Fraser spoke only sparingly on domestic politics. Inside the party he urged Peacock and Howard to stop fighting and start cooperating. The party and the country needed both of them, he believed. He respected Howard’s political abilities, and Peacock’s liberal instincts. But these discussions remained mostly internal to the party.His relative abstinence on commenting about domestic politics came to an end in the early 1990s, when Australia was deep in recession and unemployment was in double digits. One of the keys to understanding Fraser’s character is that he is an activist. Faced with a crisis, real or perceived, he almost never concludes that the right option is to do nothing. He feels a sense of duty and obligation to act.

In this case, he began regular newspaper columns, with the first saying he was too concerned about Australia’s future to remain silent. He saw a new threat that he believed was in many ways the mirror image of the Communist menace that had first motivated him to enter politics. The new threat was an unreasoning faith in free markets as an organising principle in human affairs.

In the following years, he was a frequent critic of the free market ideology of both the Liberal and Labor parties. Nevertheless, he was enough of a loyal party member to support the election of Hewson in 1993, after the notorious Fightback policy, which Fraser had vehemently criticised, was softened.

Fraser sought the federal presidency of the Liberal Party in the mid 1990s — against Tamie’s advice. He withdrew when it became clear he could not win. By this time, a vote for Fraser could only mean a vote against Hewson, and the prevailing direction of the party.

In 1994, when Hewson announced a ballot for the leadership, Fraser supported the team of Alexander Downer and Peter Costello against the other contender, John Howard. He thought Howard had had his chance, and had brought only division. Fraser had been close to Downer’s father, and regarded him as “a conservative in the best sense of the word”. The son he thought largely untried, but he chose to hope.

When Downer became leader, he wrote that he would give the party “direction, conviction, enthusiasm and victory … for the first time in several years I am enthusiastic about the prospects for the future of the Party.”

He was wrong, of course. The untried son was soon floundering, and the party turned one last time to John Howard.

Fraser chose to be hopeful. He wrote that Howard had “broadened his vision and understanding” since the 1980s, and that his experience would equip him well to respond to the challenges facing the party.

But he had many private misgivings.

They were confirmed, in his mind, when Pauline Hanson became a political force in 1996, and Howard failed to condemn her. Fraser was appalled. In 1997, he wrote to the party president, Tony Staley, urging him to use all his influence to prevent the Liberal Party from directing preferences to One Nation ahead of the Labor Party.

“I regard Pauline Hanson, the ideas and policies implicit in her statements, as of extraordinary danger to the unity and cohesion of a fair-minded, democratic Australia … It is vitally important that the Liberal Party remove itself as far as possible from the politics of Pauline Hanson,” he wrote. But he was unsuccessful.

From this point on, if not before, Fraser’s relationship with his party was under enormous strain. Over the next three years came Howard’s failure to apologise to the stolen generations, the Tampa crisis and the inhumanity of the immigration detention camps. Fraser spoke out on all these issues.

During the Tampa crisis, Fraser and Tamie sat up late debating whether they should leave the party. They stayed largely out of loyalty to other members who shared their ideals. Chief amongst these in the Fraser mindset was Petro Georgiou, formerly a staff member of Fraser’s who remained in Parliament and challenged the Howard line on asylum seekers.

But in November, 2008, as Fraser and I worked on the book together, Georgiou announced that he would retire at the next federal election.

Fraser considered Malcolm Turnbull, whatever his political talents, as a true liberal. The way in which Turnbull was treated by the party room was not so much the straw that broke the camel’s back as the final confirmation that the party would not return to liberalism in Malcolm Fraser’s lifetime.

To anyone who had been watching, his resignation should not have come as a surprise.

Nor should the fact that, for the moment at least, he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Fraser turned 80 last Friday. He celebrated with a quiet day at home, followed by dinner with his family.

He has seen the political advertising the Liberal Party has used, playing up the supposed “menace” of boat people. It confirms him in his views.

He is at terms with his sad and painful decision.

Margaret Simons co-wrote the recently released Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs with the former prime minister.

Margaret Simons —

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

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151 comments

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151 thoughts on “The inside story on Fraser’s resignation

  1. James McDonald

    @SBH, I tried googling “Twiggy indigenous housing”, and the very first thing I found was this:Twiggy halfway to 50,000 indigenous jobs

    So your figure is not only old, but also lacking a zero. 25,000 jobs is somewhat better than the federal government’s effort to build 750 Aboriginal houses, with just 11 houses built after two and a half years and $672 million.

    It’s not like you to denigrate someone’s effort without checking.

  2. Venise Alstergren

    SBH: I’ll take your word for it. I know nothing about the so-called ‘old money’ of WA.

    Also, things aren’t always what they seem. My mother had a title, yet she was a trollop.

  3. SBH

    Nice hypothesis Venise but Wiki him and you see he’s an old money, private school stockbroker. He certainly likes to put about the idea that he’s a poor lad done well but it’s not so. As for his philanthropy, well he could give Rudd lessons promise lots and do little. Frinstance, the Australian Employment Covenent which he loudly proclaimed would employ 50,000 Indigenous Australians has yet to crack 1000.

  4. Liz45

    VENISE – What were you eating? Chomping on a lamb chop bone perhaps? What a damned shame. I just wish I had a tooth to lose – lost most of mine while still in my early 20’s? Child birth did it, well actually, morning sickness times 2 lots of 9 months! I was very fussy with my boys teeth! Precious aren’t they? The boys are too!

    Yes, ‘miners’ are the (usually blokes) who do the hard yakker, risking life and limb. People like Forrest aren’t miners! They’re owners/operators of mining companies! Just a little thing that annoys me! They’re crying poor while they made enormous profits last year – billionaires! I liked Ken Henry’s dig at the mining industry on Thursday? I think!

  5. Venise Alstergren

    LIZ: I’m sorry. It was you who made the comment about ‘miners’.

    I’ve just lost a tooth. It came out while I was eating. Not the sort of thing to cheer me up.

  6. Venise Alstergren

    SBH: Could it be that people like Twiggy Forrest came from nowhere but wish to seem like one of the boys, in spite of being a billionaire. Sort of log hut to mining palace, “but I’m just a miner who made good! (and me Venise; I want to vomit) I can also prove I’m one of the miners (as in boys) because I’m a Collingwood supporter kind of deal?

    It’s just an hypothesis.

  7. Venise Alstergren

    @LIZ: Actually I thought SBH’s remark was funny. 😉

  8. Liz45

    SBH – Sorry I misunderstood. Thank you! Been away all day at a planning day for the Women’s Health Centre that I’m involved with – on the ‘board’ so to speak! Most informative and we’re planning health programs for the next year or so. Amazing and dedicated women!

    I haven’t heard any news all day, so I’m keen to hear PM and watch ABC News!

    I’m getting to the stage, where one more sighting of Abbott might just be too much. A ‘body’ can only put up with so much! I suppose there’ll be more talk of Fraser, and the mining companies, and …………… On and on it goes!

    Incidently, what do people think of the mining companies being referred to as “miners”? It drives me nuts! Miners are the blokes who go underground, risking their lives to get the coal out etc. Rio tinto is a mining company? It grates!

  9. SBH

    Liz, it wasn’t a criticism. Love your work.

    My apols Elan. You know I love you too.

  10. Smithee

    Fraser lost all credibility many years ago when he lost his trousers.

    And while Keating tries to stay in the public eye with his colourful scumbag rhetoric, old “Pants Down” has been cultivating his bleeding heart line.

    The only thing more pathetic is how lazy media lap up the crap from Pants Down because it’s an easy story.

  11. Tomboy

    Does anyone remember the time Malcolm Fraser made his first official visit to the US, and Jimmy Carter officially welcomed “…our great friend and ally, Mr John Fraser…”?

  12. Frank Campbell

    Elan…not your quote? sorry…that’s what happens when one pops in and out of a website in a hurry…

    My point about anonymous personal abuse, venting etc is that of course it’s endemic on the net and akin to a Japanese corporate basement where the salarymen go to bash blowup models of their bosses with baseball bats. (I see the Koreans are doing it today to the North Korean lunatic) Nothing wrong with this per se but it’s so limited. This is not a call for decorum (like New Matilda- in that case censorious decorum- as various Crikey hoons like me discovered), just that most people tire of this quickly and get nothing out of it. So there remains only what one might say in Ruddspeak the therapeutic community….

    I’m sure most of the patients have far more nuanced opinions than they let on…but partisanship keeps debate to tribal chanting…

  13. Elan

    Look on the bright side LIZ, I didn’t even score a rating.

    I feel so rejected. It’s not fair. 🙁

    _________________________

    Frank: “Elan: “It’s not because he’s not left-wing or because he claims to be Catholic or anything to do…………….”

    You do know this wasn’t my quote don’t you?

    ” Many crikey comments are little more than ideological venting, personal abuse etc etc. Little originality, less humour…

    I know. I would never involve myself in such gutter behaviour.

    Those cretinous idiots;- you know: the Liberal lackeys, and the Loony Lefties, and even those odious turds who support the Labor Party. They are all trolls. They post rant after rant.
    They do not know what they are talking about.

    The only people who have a finely honed intellect are me and thee

    ……………………..and I’m not sure about thee…….

  14. Liz45

    “sitting in my car one night in at least, mid 1994”? Sorry, it was 1984?

  15. Liz45

    JamesK
    Posted Thursday, 27 May 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    “I know lefties prefer fantasy to reality but its really not necessary to prove the point by making an idiot of yourself Frank.”

    So, JamesK, you idolise people like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagon? Let me remind you, that Margaret Thatcher went public in her defense of Pinnochet? Thought he was a good bloke? I think he was a mass murdering and bloody dictatot?

    As for Reagon – I vividly recall the horrors coming out of first El Salvador and Nicaragua during Reagon’s ‘reign’? I can remember ver clearly, sitting in my car one night in at least, mid 1994 – I’d listened to ABC nightly news at 7pm, and then came the documentary. It was horrific! I listened to people who’d lost (read murdered) sons; whose daughters often ended up on their front step, mutilated, and the obvious sign of torture was, that their breasts had been ‘cut off’? I listened to those mothers; I cried with them, I shared their shock and horror as to the reality they were forced to face! It left a very strong message to me – don’t support the horror, support the people?

    If you want to label it communist – so be it? What’s your grounds that you use to denigrate and humiliate me? Come on, put your money where your mouth is!

    Incidently, tell me that John James is not practising medicine, now, as we speak? I can just imagine – patient one(after he’s posted his daily bile on Crikey) has a complicated partner abuse issue, that is now taking in and affecting the welfare of her 3 kids! What should she do?

    it’s very very sad! And wrong!

  16. James McDonald

    @SBH – now you’ve done it …

  17. 44fx290

    All this piece does for me is to underscore what a sham and scourge party loyalty has become. Party loyalty didn’t do much for the NSDAP, nor the CPSU. It’s been a miserable failure everywhere around the world. Fraser’s quaint concept of party loyalty, and the treatment his party gave him, only underscore that even in a peaceful place like Australia party loyalty serves nothing but the party.

  18. Liz45

    SBH-So, I’m infrared? Why is that? Because I differ so much to some people who scribe on this post? How do you make your judgement as to the level of your perceived ‘leftness’ prevails in the mind and/or body of those you feel professionally??? to judge? How did you come to your decision – you MUST have heaps of studies etc to uphold your view? No? Oh, i see, you just get on the bandwaggon with those like JamesK, John James or Michael, who many on this post don’t even acknowledge his bonofides????

    What, in your opinion makes me “infra red? Because you know that what I’m asserting is a lie? Provide the proof? Because my passionate views make you feel just a little uncomfortable, and so it’s easier to ‘blast’ me, than get off your lazy arse and do some research?

    I challenge you! Do the research! Don’t just make wild accusations, challenge them with the knowledge, that you know the truth! You, above me know, and can prove the truth! Go on – do it!!!!!!!!!!

  19. SBH

    I know but it’s a bit like looking through a kaleidascope with that one. One minute flaming red, the next radio waves.

    No, not fair his explanantion about his hatred of communism, his belief in the rule of law and national interest over personal was compelling.

    I stoppped hating him when he gave land rights to Aborigines.

  20. James McDonald

    @SBH – yes but what about old Mal? A bit rude to leave the very fellow we were celebrating out of your colour coding scheme. Kind of like forgetting to pass the birthday chappie a drink for his own toast.

  21. paps9

    I state I Am not a Liberal Supporter,however I aknowledge ,honour, give dignity and princial to your logic, Mr Fraser …I would like to honour you for your honesty and candor, you proffered in your resignation. My rational is as follows,….. if you dont mean what you say you will never say what you do…………….. mr abbot comes to mind on this.
    At least Mr Fraser, dispite my disagreance with you in the past you have proven to be a true politician, one who looks at the fundementals of bieng australian.
    Whilst others from the extreme may bag you… here is a Labour supporter that actually understands your commentary and correction.You are not a racist nor a bigot, this I understand… and as you have asserted the liberal party has become just that.
    I admire your tonacity even tough im not from your political affiliation . I do hope this reaches you in good health and grant you my respects that you stood up tho the plate on what you believe in>

  22. SBH

    Oh Frank, you old duffer, its a spectrum thing. Venise is kinda orange James Mac and Bernard are a bit ultraviolet. Liz is infra red, David S Indigo JamesK microwaves and Mama? well, Gamma perhaps? But all this only hold true from my subjective point of view. you don’t come across as down the redish end of the spectrum is all.

  23. paps9

    from the post that michael james wrote on the 26/may/at 1.48pm
    Interesting Mr James you write that you think it is a “personal individual decision” of mr Frasers……what to exhonerate the mr abbotts of this world, the slippery Bishop of this word? to exhonorate Mr Hockey (shrek) of this world???????? To exhonerate the liberal party a party under Howard that went way too far, suffered the consequences, now needs to face the reality… That the current party’s players are extremist’s… well FRraser as much as i would like NOT to admit is Correct!
    People see beyond the bullshit that is cast before them politically, perhaps not all however those who take the time out to look at it logically.
    I am not a liberal voter, however I as much as it may dismay me , give my congratulations to a politician, whom from the liberal party I believe stood up upon PRINCIPAL AND CONVICTION to the very fundamentals of which we call ourselves AUSTRALIANS, without RACISM,or EXTREMISM.
    At least our previous politicians with sense NEVER IMPOSED IN THIER DAY WHAT HOWARD DID REGARDING SEDITION TO BOTH THE MEDIA AND OTHERS. IT WAS HIS WAY OF GAGGING THE MEDIA ON MATTERS HE AND OTHER EXTREMISTS LIKE ROBB AND ABBOT DID NOT WISH TO BECOME EXPOSED.
    Today Australia and its media, trade unions, thier members are gagged for this and no government will repeal it as it does not suit them…..

  24. Frank Campbell

    “Govt vs Business”. Very old-fashioned James. Circa 1980. Moleskin Fraser’s vintage and level of comprehension. Thanks not least to Reagan and Thatcher, the evils of bureaucracy, big govt. and “business” have combined, which is why I am an enemy of the state. Not just any state. The corporate state. The “commercial-in-confidence” state. The Murdoch state (two cheers for the internet). Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” (his warning on leaving office) has morphed into something all-encompassing. The social democratic state has been perverted. Inequalities are now obscene. The capitalist class, empowered and protected by social democrats, trashes the environment on a scale hitherto unknown. The Neocon “freedom” you espouse is the freedom to ruthlessly exploit, and to make war in every dismal cul-de-sac in the world.

    Now it’s all come unstuck. And it’s the citizens who have to pay, literally. The criminal elites have been rewarded by the socialisation of their losses. They’re already on the way back. Obama’s attempts to civilise the barbarians are sincere, but probably fruitless.

  25. James McDonald

    Calm down Frank.

    I like dogs, but they just eat things. I’ve yet to see a dog invent electricity supply, cures for diseases like tuberculosis, farming, mass transport, or rock and roll music.

    I’ve also never heard of a government inventing anything comparable to those things. So how do you account for the fact that you live better and more safely even than most of the aristocracy of 17th century Europe?

    It has been argued and demonstrated in extremely convincing detail that people living in peace can produce more than they consume, and this process is called growth. Good government can achieve that condition of enabling people to live in peace. If it goes much beyond that brief and tries to invent a better society, there are vast amounts of evidence showing that such a government will inevitably become like a dog, eating far more in taxes than it can ever hope to give back in benefits.

    Business needs to be kept within the law. It’s government that needs to be kept on a tight leash.

  26. Jillian Blackall

    I agree with James M. “Democracy and socialist big government made that possible, with governments dictating to banks how to lend and hordes of rent-seeking lobbyists in capital cities controlling the campaign fund”

    Successive US governments enforced banks’ involvement in subprime lending and that was the root cause of the global financial crisis. There should never have been that much subprime lending in the first place. Too high risk.

  27. Trevster

    After reading much of the above, I wouldn’t mind if the moderator removed all material that contained insults, unstantiated/unreferenced claims and all material that went off topic (there is so much above that doesn’t even qualify as tangential to the original article)
    However…that would also mean this posting being removed!

  28. Frank Campbell

    James M: you seem to have missed the salient point- “let slip the dogs of capitalism”- this vicious hound needs to be on a tight leash. Every politician knows this, of whatever stripe.

    Quite possibly “free market” ideologues like Hayek et al would have let the entire financial system crash. Pure, but stupid.

    As for the this scintillating analysis: “Democracy and socialist big government made that possible, with governments dictating to banks how to lend and hordes of rent-seeking lobbyists in capital cities controlling the campaign fund”

    – it’s gibberish. Reminds me of the climate cultists who, when their righteous anger reaches a certain point, vaporise. They become fucking greenhouse gases. Unless you moderate your ideological vodka, James, the empiricial world will just become an impenetrable haze.

  29. Venise Alstergren

    BRENDAN McMAHON: I’m still reeling at the sheer stench of evil belching out from JOHN JAMES.

    It’s childish of me, I know, but it would be marvellous to see this man marched off to Silong Seng high school for a couple of years-during the tenure of the Khymer Rouge of course.

    My first introduction to the Khymer Rouge was from books, hastily photo-copied and still not dry. They had been circulated via a tiny amount of underground bookshops in and around Phnom Penh.

    Regrettably the first thing I was shown by my hosts was Silong Seng and I swear the Cambodians hadn’t quite got rid of the bloodstains. Shiver shiver. Then when I got to Angkor Wat for the first time I had the same recoil, the same brooding terror.

    Subsequent visits have calmed me down a bit. The Foreign Correspondants’ Press Club was a good antidote.

    I never cease to marvel at John James’ arsehat comments. To brand Pol Pot a communist is an exercise in futility. He and John James would have got along famously.

    Yes, Ho Chi Minh was dead by the late 1960s, but they were still his troops that beat the shit out of the Americans.

  30. James McDonald

    Course he’s a leftie:
    [R(eagan) and T(hatcher) let slip the dogs of capitalism, which has now led to the current fiasco in which the (reviled) state is forced to buy or bail out the perpetrators. Who pays? You know damn well who is paying and will continue to pay for decades.]

    Where do you think the wealth came from in the first place? Workers today create orders of magnitude more wealth in an hour’s work than a 17th century worker would produce in a month, and enjoy the benefits in similar proportion. How do you think that happened?

    As for the bailout, don’t blame capitalism for that. Democracy and socialist big government made that possible, with governments dictating to banks how to lend and hordes of rent-seeking lobbyists in capital cities controlling the campaign funds. If Hayek and Friedman had had their way, there would have been no bailout, and maybe not even the perceived need for one.

  31. Frank Campbell

    SBH: you assume because I attack climate millenarianism (and its noxious alter ego, which it gave birth to and which may yet rule us) I must be a denizen of the Right.

    Each decade has its raft of politically-correct platitudes. Climate catastrophism is ours. But a new decade beckons…

  32. SBH

    Frank Campbell? A leftie? Geezs James that’s casting the net wide.

  33. Frank Campbell

    James K: you shouldn’t take politicians at face value. Do you really think Ronnie Reagan blew his trumpet and the walls of Jericho tumbled down? A John Wayne fairytale James.

    And arms race bankruptcy? Well after the cold war it was proved the CIA had been wrong for decades: Moscow had far fewer nukes than they thought. Sure, carrying the burden of a vast, miserable under-equipped military weighed the Soviet bloc down (it still burdens Russia). Once again, you’ve taken the propaganda at face value- this time the Soviet’s. They were a lot weaker than they let on. That’s one reason they were not belligerent most of the time- it was all they could do to hang on to Eastern Europe: Stalin bit off more than he could chew. The self-evident (relative) success of western Europe stared the poor sods in the face for 40 years- it gradually dawned on them they were on a slow boat to nowhere. Then there was the fantasy-America that the soviets lusted for- they had no direct experience of that (nor of it’s lunatic, disgusting aspects), but it was a potent dream.

    Now the Russians have Putin and his glove-puppet. Why? Because the transition to capitalism was bungled. The 90s were catastrophic for Russia. Party apparatchiks hijacked the state to get rich. So now the Russians have an ex-KGB officer running the show. Russia seems to have two choices: barbarian capitalism or barbarian neo-stalinism. And because you’re still living in an ideological time-warp James, you’re not likely to have anything constructive to say about the current global fuck-up.

  34. JamesK

    I know lefties prefer fantasy to reality but its really not necessary to prove the point by making an idiot of yourself Frank.

    Reagan declared that the U.S.S.R. was an “Evil Empire” and launched an arms buildup that ultimately bankrupted Moscow. The result was the end of the Cold War — without firing a shot as Margaret Thatcher pointed out.

    Moreover no event symbolizes Reagan’s victory over Communism more powerfully than the fall of the Berlin Wall. A decade before in that city in an appropriately famous speech he called on Gorbachev:

    “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

  35. SBH

    I once had a forged passport but being made entirely from iron it weighed a ton

  36. Frank Campbell

    JamesK “Not John Wayne”.

    You underrate him. In film (142 of them) Red-State Wayne was the ball-tearing crazy-brave hero, from US Marshall to suicidal Marine…As the avenging superman, (now replaced mostly by computer-generated gringo-heroes ) Wayne helped create the ideological fervour capitalised on by Reagan and Thatcher. You’ll recall that Reagan was a B-movie actor. R and T let slip the dogs of capitalism, which has now led to the current fiasco in which the (reviled) state is forced to buy or bail out the perpetrators. Who pays? You know damn well who is paying and will continue to pay for decades.

    Like most macho gun-toting Right-wing plaster thugs ,Wayne was a fraud. He was a draft-dodger and he was gay.

    And I’m sure you fondly imagine that Reagan and Thatcher destroyed the USSR, Wayne-style. Crap. The USSR collapsed because of its own incompetence and institutionalised barbarism.

  37. Frank Campbell

    Elan: “It’s not because he’s not left-wing or because he claims to be Catholic or anything to do with his personal beliefs, it’s because he doesn’t back up his claims, consistently ruins comment threads and just throws around garbage terms, accusations and smears without any actual thought. He does this in every single thread he’s ever posted in.”

    Sound very like Crikey. Why single out some poor fossil trapped forever in 1958? (see my comment on J.James above)? Many crikey comments are little more than ideological venting, personal abuse etc etc. Little originality, less humour…

  38. Elan

    “Err, who wants all right-wing posters to be banned? I’m asking for one, specific poster to be banned, John James. It’s not because he’s not left-wing or because he claims to be Catholic or anything to do with his personal beliefs, it’s because he doesn’t back up his claims, consistently ruins comment threads and just throws around garbage terms, accusations and smears without any actual thought. He does this in every single thread he’s ever posted in. ……..”

    Really? Give me a break! You’ve just described many posters here (incl).

    “Don’t worry, Daniel. That’s the last we’ll see of John James in this thread.”

    Well now, that’s interesting. IF that is so,-then let’s not get worked up about censorship eh? After all it comes in handy sometimes doesn’t it?

    “The abuse and calls for banning of right-wing posters is ridiculous and counterproductive.”

    I agree Sancho. Given my political philosophies-it doesn’t sit well with me to protect the rights of the Right. I don’t give a toss for them, but I’d far rather have them where I can see them..
    ______________________

    “Actually I do have the documents. Plus false Pakistani documents used to turn Afghan refugees into Pakistanis.”

    A la Bakhtiari!

    Dear ol’ Amanda was up to her eyes in this vile deception. ANY Afghan OR Pakistani could ID this family as Afghans. I have roots in both countries,…it was a no-brainer.

    The Howard Government knew full well that nationals from either country would say nothing to support the family if they themselves were in a vulnerable position.

    This, like the Haneef case, was an ‘in plain sight’ thing. But in the Bakhtiari case it was completely blatant! They were Afghans. Their bone structure made it obvious-to a Pakistani or Afghan at least.
    ___________________________

    MS and I have not seen eye to eye in this place on occasion, but MS cuts through the Party loyalty thing and comes up with facts–FACTS, that some of you cannot accept of your Party.

    I like that.
    ______________________________

    And now I’m away to a rally on the ‘allegedly’ bent SA election.

  39. Venise Alstergren

    OLDSKOOL: That was a pun? 🙁 😯 😎

  40. oldskool

    @ Bogan, re:

    We need a new political party. It shall be called: Malcolm and Malcolm, Twice the Malcolm!

    ***Warning bad Pun***

    Maybe “Malcoms in the Middle”???

    Sorry couldn’t help it….

  41. JamesK

    @Frank Campbell

    Not John Wayne.

    Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

    Peace Be Upon Them.

    Commie Luvin’ Lefty loons and unctuous pilgeristic mouth foaming have me rollin’ ’bout the floor.

  42. Liz45

    Sancho
    Posted Wednesday, 26 May 2010 at 10:22 pm”Frankly, if I could ban anyone it would be the hysterical blot on the blogosphere, Marilyn Shepherd, even though I mostly share her political views.”

    Not engaging in a little bit of sexism are you? Referring to Marilyn Shepherd as being “hysterical”? What’s wrong with passionate?

    SHEPHERDMARILYN – I’ve also read about the forged passports. These illegal and serious methods were used to remove asylum seekers to other countries when a)the person was fearful of being killed if they returened – but were not believed, or b)the govt via Immigration wanted to get rid of them and had to ‘fabricate’ a ‘new character’? People must remember the bloke who was sent around the world(by Australia) as no country would take him?
    ” The documents used to deport Vivian Alvarez were completely bogus and we all saw them.”
    I agree with you. I’ve also heard via documentary(ABC I think?4 Corners) and read, that it was known BEFORE Vivien Alvarez was removed(in horrific pain and in a wheelchair)that she was a permanent resident. Dept of Immig. In Brisbane office knew that. The Dept of Immig. acknowledged in Canberra a couple of yrs later, that she was a permanent resident, and yet did nothing to bring her back to Australia. As with Cornelia Rau, the treatment of Vivien Alvarez was both racist and sexist. One look at CentreLink records would’ve solved Vivien’s issue immediately. To remove her as they did, and dump her at Phillipines airport was horrendous and inhumane.

    If people find what Marilyn has to say ‘hysterical’ , how many go and do some research? I suggest very few to none. It’s not palatable to want to believe, that even Howard was capable of doing the most inhumane and even criminal things – like justifying or allowing false passports? But it’s true. Of course, he’d hold a stack of bibles in any court and state his innocence – as happened with AWB – although he didn’t swear to that evidence, did he? What about the holes allegedly punched in the bottom of boats in Indonesia – how many asylum seekers just conveniently disappeared?
    There was also a woman on a boat around the time of the Tampa – her name was Fatima, who gave birth to a baby girl who she & her husband named Ashmore due to where she was born(near Ashmore Reef).Sshe heomorragged, and word came from the ‘top’ (read Howard)that she was not to be allowed at Darwin or Christmas Island hospital. There are more examples! All of them horrific, and they include members of the Navy who left due to the inhumane acts they were ordered to commit, which included, never referring to kids by name, and in fact not even being kind or smiling at them. What sort of monsters order such things? “Hysterical” people like Marilyn do not! Sane, calm and responsible people like Howard and Ruddock did it!

    Read ‘Dark Victory’ by David Marr & Marianne Wilkinson, ‘Seeking Asylum’ ‘Following them Home’ ‘From Nothing to Zero’ and another by Heather Tyler??? Then there’s the speeches by Julian Burnside QC, and the book surrounding the story of the little boy in Villawood, who Ruddock referred to as “it” 4 times in one interview – Margo? a journalist from 7.30 Report and Lateline – I think it’s called ‘Broken Shore’? The more I read, listened and watched documentaries etc, the more I came to believe, that the Howard govt broke almost every law and convention, etc that they’d boasted about being a signatory to, including the UN Rights of the Child! Read about how many pregnant women were handcuffed, under MALE guard while they gave birth – even though their husbands were refused permission to attend. Mrs Baktieri and her baby were kept under police guard for about 10 months – it was only due to public outcry that she wasn’t sent back to Baxter – her husband was denied permission to be with her, even at the birth? Those who died on SIEV X, when the ‘family man’ Howard, refused permission for those men(they were in Indonesia- earlier boat I believe) to be with their wives, even though they may have lost their child or children. Sadly, I think we’ll be hearing a lot about the Rudd govt too! What’s the total number of deaths, just in recent months – 8? or more?

    You keep it up Marilyn – I’ll further my own education, even if others prefer ignorance, and hurling accusations of “hysterical” at you! I feel as passionate and angry by these incidences as you do, and I’m finding out more all the time! Ignorance should be a ‘capital’ offence? There’s no excuse. I have heaps of video tapes of news items, documentaries etc from at least the Tampa incident.Tthe information is out there – laziness means other peoples’ cruel demise!
    Good for you. I’ll passionately defend you, and the label “hysterical” doesn’t faze me at all. At least asylum seekers, alive and dead have one loud voice – YOU!

  43. SBH

    Margaret Simons, what does ‘exclusive’ mean when used by a journalist? Laura Tingle’s piece in the AFR was headed ‘exclusive’ and yet here’s your behind the scenes piece on the same day? I’m lost

    Frank Campbell you wag. “John Wayne, …,fag hanging from the corner of his draft-dodging mouth,….” We all knew the Duke was a duchess but really!

  44. Brendan McMahon

    Venise Alstergren
    As you know Ho Chi Minh died in 1969.

    For John to credit him solely with the defeat of the US in 1975 is stretching it a bit.

    A remarkable effort from his mausoleum.

  45. Frank Campbell

    John James:

    “Margaret Simons, like all those on the political and cultural Left, having been defeated by the West in the Cold War…”

    This had me in stitches, John. The thought of John Wayne, tin helmet at a rakish angle, fag hanging from the corner of his draft-dodging mouth, standing over cowering Margaret S…Just as well for Simons that Wayne never played for St.Kilda.

    While the incestuous and incurably conformist Australian Left ( just read Crikey comments) has much to answer for, they are paragons of wit and originality compared to you, John. Discard that tatty leather kit-bag full of 1950s DLP cliches and join us in the 21st century.

  46. James McDonald

    @Stevo – Two recessions actually, which just happened to coincide with oil-related global recessions. Brilliant, blaming that on Mal.

    @John Bennetts – the falsehoods of John James are easily exposed, and the process of doing so is probably informative for some readers. He does no one any harm, except maybe those of us from the Right whom he gives a bad name.
    As for Marilyn Shepherd, she not only talks the talk but walks the walk as they say, which is more than can be said for a lot of her armchair-activist knockers and many of the comfortable tax-avoiding lefties who clog the channels. Look to the beam in your own eye, sir, you who rarely open your mouth other than to insult somebody.

    Over 100 comments about Mal Fraser and only one person (cheers, Scott Grant) mentions the one thing I couldn’t forgive him: his role in driving Vietnam war conscription as Army Minister and later Defence Minister.

  47. Christine Harris

    Thankyou Malcolm Fraser – a true “Liberal”. Sir Robert Menzies himself wouldn’t vote for the current lot.

  48. Stevo the Working Twistie

    @shepherdmarilyn “I have a copy of Pilgers film re the Khmer Rouge”. I’ve always suspected that Saturday night at your place would be a hoot.

    My memories of Fraser have crystallised around one of the best pieces of graffiti I’ve ever seen: “Vote Mal, Eat Pal”. The man presided over a profound economic recession, and for the Libs it was not so much the recession we had to have, rather the recession YOU had to have.

  49. swinger

    Yeah, JenAuthor, I watched Q and A, and I thought malcolm Fraser was choosing his words carefully but , I thought he answered NO to the question of, … if the Rudd government was worse than Whitlam. But Abbott and a few others seem to think he said Rudd was worse.

    I actually rewound the program to hear it again as he was kind of mumbling, but I’m sure he did not emphatically state that the Rudd goverment was worse than Whitlem.
    Now, maybe Abbott has a better topfield TV recorder than me, and more time on hand, to keep rewinding and listening to Malcolm’s answer but I heard no.

    He was diplomatically saying ‘they were differernt times… different governments” and seemed to be saying they could not be compared. Smart man!
    Dum Question really, but it had me on the edge of my seat.

    Yeah, he did cite the overspending on BER and pink batts etc and said that it was wasteful but when asked whether Tony Abbott should block supply he said ..of course not.
    He also did not say that the new Tax on Superprofits BAD, but he said, that with the Greek crisis, now was not the time to fill the air with this uncertainty.

    In a separate interview, Mal was asked if Menzies would recognise today’s Liberals as the party he was in, and Mal said that today’s ALP is the party that was once the Liberal Party.
    This, I defintely remember!!!!!

  50. shepherdmarilyn

    Actually I do have the documents. Plus false Pakistani documents used to turn Afghan refugees into Pakistanis.

    Some of them are even on the senate estimates websites.

    The documents used to deport Vivian Alvarez were completely bogus and we all saw them.

    I am not hysterical or making things up.

    The documents were made by DFAT and DIAC under the guise of border protection.

    No conspiracy here I am afraid – they were given to the senate.

  51. James McDonald

    @John Bennetts – just for the record, I’m a fan of Marilyn Shepherd, even if I disagree with her on a lot of things. The world would be a poorer place …

  52. Margaret Simons

    @ Charles Richardson. The proofs of the book were done, read and corrected before the resignation.

  53. Sancho

    It’s “Sancho”, “viewed”, “ought”, and you have no idea what the H.R. Nicholls society does, comes from, and intends, or what “left wing” means. How are you even able to operate a computer?

  54. rossco

    I have no doubt it is people like John James that have caused Malcolm Fraser to give up any hope for the Liberal Party in the future. So to that end perhaps he should be encouraged to continue with his comments. Until the Libs hit rock bottom they won’t change.

  55. paps9

    Is that so, you yourself stated that the president quote”…by your words viewd Howard as Left wing. it is far from it Mr Sanches.
    Perhaps you aught read your own responses again before throwing stones……..I SAY AGAIN BRAVO MR FRASER!

  56. Sancho

    Well done on not reading or even remotely comprehending my post, Paps. You’ll have a fine time here if you assume that everyone who addresses your comments is arguing the extreme opposite.

  57. John Bennetts

    Sorry, re last post: Margaret Simons. My apologies.

  58. John Bennetts

    Margaret Simonds, I value your contributions over a longish period of time. I will now seek out your book, You are made of solid stuff. Thanks for this contribution.

    John James, you are a waste of space and your contributions devalue the Crikey brand. I hope that a Crikey editor or moderator is able to persuade you to be more positive and fact-based. Else, I am happy to wish for your excommunication. We hear of evidence based medicine and generally agree that this is much preferable to witch doctoring. I expect that those who argue in public the type of things which you present would be able to also present the evidence to support their extreme views.

    You, sir, are less than a witch doctor.

    Regarding Marylin Shepherd, I dips my lid. Dear Marilyn must have been everywhere during the past 100 years, and kept a crystal clear memory and a museum archive as well, including original forged passports which were helpfully provided by ASIS and DFAT. If I believed Marylin I would indeed be certifiably insane. As are her followers, if any.

  59. paps9

    You keep thinking that Mr Sanches, HOWARD, ABBOTT, KROGER , RIETH… should i continue. He (the president of the H R Nicholls Society was merely stating that HOWARD didnt go far enough…..It hurt me and my family big time. As a payg earner of less than 39,000 per year I lost thanks to the efforts of John Howard ,ABBOTT and RIETH as the precursor $4,500 FORCED OUT OF MY PAYPACKET PER YEAR IF I DID NOT AGREE to sign an awa AND WAS THREATENED WITH MY JOB.
    I have two chidlren, a mortage and my wife who at that time was not working looking after our second child.
    How far do you think Mr Sanches that he should have gone,
    or then again… let me think… I need to be forced to take out the spare tyre from the boot of my car, place it on the kitchen table and carve it up to feed my family and service my mortage….. I work my guts out each and every week.
    Peddle it to someone who is on 150k a year and they may just agree with you.

  60. Sancho

    I think you’ve misread the H.R. Nicholls Society, Paps. The president said, “Under John Howard we had the most centralist prime minister since Gough Whitlam, and one consequence of that was Work Choices. ”

    They though Howard was left-wing.

  61. paps9

    Dear Mr Fraser,
    I admit although not old enough at the time to vote I do remeber you vividly, and probably would not have voted for you if I was at the time. However I would like to state that your comments today regarding your resignation from the party (to whom I take you stood steadfastly with) has betrayed the very fundamental principals to which you yourself stood for. Whilst im not a Liberal voter… a swinging one I will state, I have to admire the stance you have taken. For my part and oppinion, Mr Howard and Abbott in thier participation together with the H R Nicholls Society hurt me and my family greatly with Workchoices. This is something I will never forget. I have never really been pollitically awakened, however since then have beeen. I have had a thirst to read and dig and inform myself beyond the casual crap dished out in the media and look deeper into the largely may i say lies and misdirections that both howard and now abbott and bishop are feeding the public. I do agree on your comment with one thing, in years gone past prior to Howard ,the Liberal party was at least equitable and stood for some eqitable values. Today however since Howard and now Abbott and Bishop stands for nothing other than extremeism.I do also concur with you that I find the undertones of Mr Abbott and Bishop as disgraceful towards ethnic minorities. At least to your credit Mr Fraser you never did that. Credit where credit needs to be given sir, you have gone up highly in my estimation as a man with at least some moal fibre, not the muppets of the liberal party that have now become the elitist extremists thanks to Howard and Kroger with blinkers and a pole up thier backside.

    Bravo Mr Fraser

  62. Sancho

    I mostly agree, David, but remember that for Catholics, Abbott’s madness is considered completely sane and sensible. That’s why it’s important to focus on the content of the madness rather than the source.

    I, too, am no fan of Rudd, but Labor is the bulwark between civilised Australians and Tea Party-style madness until we get some truly representative balance in Parliament.

    To that end, I’d be wary of a Turnbull/Fraser party, but very, very open to what it has to offer.

  63. David

    @ Sancho…good points all, but one item I will never change my opinion on, Abbott is a mental case. He has proved it numerous, umpteen times and todays episode in the House once again was proof positive. How the moderate/middle ground Libs can tolerate him says much about the state of that party. Mad Monk yes, every aspect. Rudd should be demanding national debates, he would make a meal of the loon and I am no fan of the present day Rudd.

  64. Jillian Blackall

    Such a party would provide hope to replace the current despair. The difficulty is getting a suitable leader and finding a way of bringing all the members together. If that could be achieved, I think the money would become available.

  65. Venise Alstergren

    DLEW19: Your hypothesis sounds like a cry of despair. I hope I’m wrong.

    Could you see this central progressive party having access to the money needed to start another political party?

    Unless these potential CPP (looks Russian) party members are prepared to put in the work that the Greens have done-year after year, after year, after year they will need lashings of money to fund them. Not even Malcolm Turnbull has that kind of snatch.

    Australia has need of ideals, but as Kevin Rudd has demonstrated, idealism is soon tarnished by the realities of power, and the sheer weight of our economic superiors-people such as the mining industry-have so much clout that nothing can stand in their way.

    The day Oz runs out of minerals would be an auspicious time to form a new political party. Trouble is by the time that happens we will all be living in squalor thanks to our exploding population-funded by our very own political parties who hand out grotesque baby incentives.

    Plus ça change plus ça la meme chose……

  66. Sancho

    Don’t worry, Daniel. That’s the last we’ll see of John James in this thread.

    The abuse and calls for banning of right-wing posters is ridiculous and counterproductive. Frankly, if I could ban anyone it would be the hysterical blot on the blogosphere, Marilyn Shepherd, even though I mostly share her political views.

    It’s very easy to maintain civilised discourse while excluding unreasonable and intellectually dishonest liars. Did you see how John James stopped posting when people started asking for proof of his false claims about John Pilger? Playing the ball is embarrassingly easy sometimes.

    Just look at their arguments and they’re almost always unambiguously wrong. Point that out rather than screaming “idiot!”.

  67. Daniel

    “Sure. Let’s censor those we don’t want here. And we won’t protest if the…. Hun?? or the Australian bans any Left leaning posters either…..will we? We won’t make a peep.”

    Err, who wants all right-wing posters to be banned? I’m asking for one, specific poster to be banned, John James. It’s not because he’s not left-wing or because he claims to be Catholic or anything to do with his personal beliefs, it’s because he doesn’t back up his claims, consistently ruins comment threads and just throws around garbage terms, accusations and smears without any actual thought. He does this in every single thread he’s ever posted in. He does even try to participate in civil discourse. His very first post in this thread was simply accusing the author of the piece of helping Genocidaires. Why should this be tolerated?

    Other right-wing posters here back up their claims with evidence or reasoned discussion. John James does neither, and makes no attempt to.

  68. Bogan

    We need a new political party. It shall be called: Malcolm and Malcolm, Twice the Malcolm!

  69. James McDonald

    @John James – Pilger was the one who stayed when everyone else got out, and broke the story of the Khmer Rouge’s atrocities, while the British government were still hoping to make deals with them. Pilger was probably the greatest enemy the KR ever had, so be careful whom you defame like that.

    @Marilyn – I heard a different story. It was Whitlam who tried his best to oppose the Vietnamese refugees coming here because they were anti-communists, and he wanted to get on well with Ho Chi Min. It was Fraser who declared open doors for the Vietnamese — they had been our allies in a war, after all.

    Another story about Whitlam, from a private source: when asked what we were going to do about East Timor, he replied in private, “Don’t you know, they’re just kanackers and blackfellows over there.”

    @Michael James, I don’t see that Fraser drifted Left, I see him more as a sort of Thomas Jefferson character. There is of course a lot more to the Right than conservatism (as I know you know, but many others don’t).

  70. Jillian Blackall

    Also unfortunately Judith Troeth is retiring at this coming election.

  71. jenauthor

    @ Dlew
    Led by Turnbull, with Brogden and O’Farrell from NSW following up … (and possibly even Peter Costello…).

    You almost had me thinking until you mentioned O’Farrell. He is the laziest politician on the planet and shouldn’t be in the position he’s in. It is scary to think he’ll be in charge of NSW soon.

  72. jenauthor

    The thing is, and I think it might be the same in politics, you only seen to play as well as you’re forced to.

    The socceroos didn’t play very well the other night — and I reckon it was partly because the kiwis had absolutely no formation and didn’t play well as a group. Thus they rattled the aussies because they couldn’t use their normal formations to combat the non-formations. (Am I making sense?)

    I think the rabble that is the coalition, are so scattered and unbelievable, that Labor has been constantly been distracted by nonsense (as have the press) and their achivements have largely gone unnoticed because of it. Even people like Fraser, who should know first hand that all is not as it superficially seems, appears taken in if his response about the current govt is anything to go by.

    I was watching a little a-pac tonight, and you guessed it, Barnaby Joyce was in full flight, asking ridiculous questions and missing the point constantly. You could tell Penny Wong and the other members of the panel answering estimates questions were really struggling to hold their cool in the face of such idiocy.

    And yet, these people still get elected to public office. Then you see someone like Troethe, a liberal (small l) one of the few people on that side I can bring myself to respect. Yet her common sense in the senate is overshadowed by fools like Joyce and Fielding.

  73. dlew919

    I still think there’s a central progressive party out there: disaffected Democrats, jaded Liberals, depressed Laborites… Greens who’ve lost their way…

    Led by Turnbull, with Brogden and O’Farrell from NSW following up … (and possibly even Peter Costello…).

    With the troglorights in DLP limbo…

  74. Frank Campbell

    Sincere as Fraser’s liberalism and suspicion of “free market” fundamentalism is, I’ve always had the feeling he’s atoning for his original sin. Fraser knows that he will be remembered only for the cynical coup he engineered as a young turk, driven by overweening ambition and justified by the born-to-rule hubris which derived from moleskin aristocracy. Fraser’s Western District grazier roots were shallow and now long abandoned. Marrying into the venerable grazocracy (well, a century old- this is Australia after all) courtesy of the Beggs does not a bunyip lord make.

    The faux-grazier Fraser was and is a suburban man, a true heir to Menzies. He might be Barry Humphries’ uncle. Gratuitous capitalist brutality (a la Howard and the Gekkos) naturally appalls him. But at the going down of the sun, we will remember him- for Armistice Day 1975.

  75. Jillian Blackall

    Malcolm Turnbull is the best one there. I hope that he will be able to make a difference.

  76. jenauthor

    I hope that Labor or the unions put together a montage of the front benchers choking on their own feet for the election

    I’d also love a match up set of ads contrasting the main ministers with their shadow counterparts. That would really drive home the liberal’s lack of talent.

  77. Jillian Blackall

    Some of the soundbites have been pretty disastrous. The one about being threatened by homosexuality; saying ‘climate change is crap’; and saying that you can’t necessarily believe what he says unless it’s in writing…

  78. jenauthor

    @ David

    The trouble is the voting public gets a 2 second sound-bite out of context and doesn’t get to see the whole laughable performance

  79. David

    Abbott today in the House living up to his nick name to a tee…the Mad Monk, how true. There he stood thumping his chest like some neanderthal, like.. I am man, like …me strong, you be scared…like someone who needs an exorcist very quickly…I was expecting a tarzan call….this person who could take the highest office in the land, is a nutter….I doubt his mind will still be intact come election time. Jeez it is bloody scary, where are the sane members of the Opposition? How can they possibly allow this crank to run them?

  80. Venise Alstergren

    MARGARET SIMONS: All the same, it would have been a terrific ending to the book.

  81. Charles Richardson

    Hi Margaret –
    Thanks for the clarification. That mitigates the deception, but I don’t think it eliminates it. The book wasn’t published until March, so it should have been possible to get something added to the introduction, or failing that a statement should have been made in the associated publicity. (Not that I’m blaming you for that – you were evidently bound by confidentiality – but I think it was poor behavior on his part.)

  82. Jillian Blackall

    @Tim & Sally Goldner: I agree. A new party would be excellent.

  83. Jillian Blackall

    @Tim & Sally Golder: I agree. A new party would be excellent.

  84. Venise Alstergren

    BRENDAN McMAHON: Gosh this is the place to come for an education. So America didn’t pull out of Saigon in 1975? Just before Ho Chi Minh’s troops re-captured it? Astonishing. Hello!!??

    DANIEL: JOHN JAMES is a bigoted Catholic doctor who admits he wouldn’t give a referral to a pregnant teen aged girl who seeks a non-catholic medico.

    PATRICIAWA: Although I think Fraser the man has grown up a lot his behaviour, at the time of the dismissal, and his politics stank.

    I’m very impressed at the way you wrote your opinion. Very neat!

  85. Tim

    @Sally Goldner: The idea for Malcolm Turnball and Malcolm Fraser to start a new liberal party is fantastic – I would join in a second. I feel completely alienated by both major parties and know a lot of people in the same position.

  86. Socratease

    @Callum: You’ve used a lot of words to say nothing, other than you have L your A O.

    Now that you have done that, go ahead and put your head up it.

  87. jenauthor

    Ray — have you even researched the tax or have you just listen to the miner’s paid propaganda? Much of the tax purpose is designed to encourage exploration and investment.

    In 1975, Fraser, (like Abbott currently) had the backing of the press. Thus reporting was skewed (as it is now) to only highlight the negatives.

    A lot of the truth about that time only came out after the events unfolded.

    And I am afraid I cannot feel sorry for people like Twiggy Forrest when his personal wealth is equal to almost half the entire projected income of this tax over the forward estimates.

  88. David

    @Ray, now you are at it…that ascertion that everything the Govt have implemented they have botched, is a a lie and you know it, or you are stupid. Just the other day I ran a list of achievments of the Govt that were all completed and are running smoothly. Go and do some research or back up your claims with facts and lets not just go down the smame old track, bats, schools building and climate change. They have implemented many many other pieces of legislation.

  89. Jillian Blackall

    Glad to see that Malcolm Fraser has publicly joined the band of seriously disillusioned Liberals.

  90. Elan

    Correction: JOHN JAMES. Much of a muchness really………..

  91. ray

    Malcolm Fraser is right about the Rudd Government being worse than Whitlam’s Govt. Unlike Whitlam, Rudd & Co have botched everything they have implemented, and there’s more to come, viz. billions to be wasted on the NBN monopoly; billions to be wasted (as per the BER bureaucratic maladministration) on administering the new health plan; retrospective tax penalisation of mining companies; and wholesale discouragement of new investment and employment in mining.

  92. Elan

    For crying out loud!! What is it that Crikey wants??

    I don’t agree with one thing Michael writes. His comments about Pilger/KR are extraordinary!

    This is not even the “I don’t agree with what you say , but I defend to…”blah,blah.

    Are Crikey members only going to be happy if they kick every conservative poster of this website??

    I’m asking a serious question.

    “Easier if Crikey just bans him.”

    Sure. Let’s censor those we don’t want here. And we won’t protest if the…. Hun?? or the Australian bans any Left leaning posters either…..will we? We won’t make a peep.
    __________________________

    I’ve always been curious about something. I came here two years after the 1975 ‘little spot of bother’!! (1975??)

    If the outrage was as it certainly appears to be, even now;-why did Fraser win the election in ???. There was the opportunity to kick him to the kerb.

    Why didn’t that happen?

    Serious question. No agenda.

  93. Liz45

    @DANIEL – Like all bullies and liars, he’s a coward! He’s so full of his own importance, and his own jaundiced views, that in his opinion, he’s beyond reproach, and anyone who disagrees with him deserves to be treated with at best disdain, and at worst, with insults and more lies! He won’t produce anything to support his outrageous assertions for one good reason – it doesn’t exist! He’s of the belief, that you don’t allow truth to ever ruin his lies!

  94. Jeremy Williams

    Well done Scott Grant on the threat of unrestrained corporate power. You see this so strikingly in the US and we just follow along like sheep to the slaughter agreeing every step of the way. Take the Obama health care as an example health insurers tell the politicians what to do and the people what to think. I get the politician thing but so many in the US arguing against a very very modest universal health care considering how bad their system is just nuts.

    We see this with the Resources Tax here I have my issues with the tax but basically it won’t effect the industry significantly and it will create more wealth for society. Yet we have all these people writing in to the papers and calling talk back arguing against it for the stupidest of reasons. What great free lobbying for the big miners backed up with free PR in the OZ and other newslimited papers.

  95. Daniel

    He won’t provide evidence….he might not even respond in this thread again…but he’ll be back tomorrow in the next headline story ranting and raving, and we’ll demand to see evidence for his outlandish claims, but he’ll vanish again until the next day.

    Easier if Crikey just bans him. He contributes nothing, and just derails the discussion into whatever fantasy world he has concocted as evidenced by this thread, where people are now talking about John Pilger and Cambodia, instead of the Malcolm Fraser and Australian politics.

  96. Sancho

    Come on John James. Everything’s on the internet. Give us the link so we can see for ourselves Pilger’s defence of the Khmer Rouge, or admit you just made it up because you’d like it to be true.

  97. Brendan McMahon

    re John James,
    “just as they applauded the defeat of the United States by that other doyen of the Left, the murderous Ho Chi Minh.”
    I didn’t realise the United States were defeated in 1969.

  98. shepherdmarilyn

    I have a copy of Pilgers film re the Khmer Rouge, I suggest John James have a look.

    As for Vietnam, it was nothing to do with us and the attack and invasion of that country was a failure on every level.

    Not supporting illegal attacks on people who have not harmed us is not the same as supporting the wrong headed regimes.

  99. Margaret Simons

    To clarify, at the time that Fraser and I wrote the book, he had not resigned from the Liberal Party. There was no withholding of information. The book was finished in September last year. He resigned from the party in December, after Malcolm Turnbull ceased to be its leader.

  100. jenauthor

    John James — your nonsense really makes me giggle. You cannot possibly believe what you post here. Your chavez reference makes me wonder whether you are Bananaby in disguise — but you can’t be — you actually make more sense than he does — which isn’t hard.

  101. PatriciaWA

    Maintaining Rage

    Malcom Fraser –
    Once you were
    “Kerr’s cur”
    And still are so for me,
    Notorious
    In Australian history
    For destroying
    Our democracy.
    Softer now and
    Old and grey,
    Elder statesman,
    All that evil
    Gone away?
    Still you represent
    For me
    The worst
    By which
    Society is cursed:
    Patriarchy,
    Patronage,
    Benovolence
    Of a by-gone age,
    Once denier of
    My suffrage.
    Many have forgot
    Those things you did,
    But I have not.
    Even Gough may
    Have forgiven you.
    Again I say
    That I have not.

  102. John james

    @Daniel “..Crikey, please moderate or ban this notorious troll”

    Daniel, this isn’t the Politburo mate. But this is vintage Left ‘nonsense’.
    I bet you love to ban lots of things.

    @Rena Zurawel, “..the Left doesn’t have to mean communist..”

    Can you point to where I’ve used the word “communist” ? The term “marxist” and “socialist” are much broader.
    Back to your latte and your Hugo Chavez manual of economic theory.

  103. Sancho

    Are we going to get some links from John James, or is he going to continue putting his own statements in quotation marks and attributing them to John Pilger?

  104. JamesK

    @ John James Post 2:48 pm

    Very well said.

    I was shocked to hear the news of Fraser’s resignation as I had thought there had been a mutually agreed separation a decade or more ago.

    Good to see and hear Tony Abbott say nice things about him but the Coalition is much the better for his formal acknowledged departure.

    No Flowers, Please.

  105. David

    @ johnjames, my apologies for the error. At least I respond in a civil polite manner.

  106. Liz45

    Jonathan Maddox
    Posted Wednesday, 26 May 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    @John James : “Pilger’s public defense of the Khymer Rouge” —  — WHAT?

    @JONATHAN – I agree. The first documentary of John Pilger’s that I recall was what happened to the people of Cambodia – I can still see all those skulls piled up, and I was transfixed with horror while I watched. The very idea that John Pilger supported the horrors that the people endured is repudiated in this article below. these are not the words of someone who agreed or even excused what happened. It certainly was not my impression via that documentary called,” Year Zero;The Silent Death of Cambodia”.

    http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=553

    I’m also anti-American with good reason. The US has either interfered with or invaded over 45 countries since the end of WW2 – some of them more than once, like Haiti and Iraq. You appear to be on the side of anyone who killed alleged communists, regardless. I suggest you read ‘American Torture’ and take another look at the numbers of Vietnamese killed, assassinated and tortured by the US. Look no further than Central and South America, and speak to the many from Chile and El Salvador that I have spoken to. John Pilger’s “War on Democracy” is also worth watching.

    SHEPHERDMARILYN – While I acknowledge the ‘softening’ of Malcolm Fraser re asylum seekers and aboriginal issues in recent years, I am still angry over the Whitlam sacking. My vote was torn up, and I’m not convinced that the whole thing was a deliberate ploy to get rid of him, because of international bodies who, above other things wanted our uranium. Where’s Khemlani for instance? Funny how he conveniently just vaporised after 11th November ’75?

    @TOMBOY – Gough was entitled to forgive and forget if he wished, but it was more than just his sacking – it was all of us who voted for him, who voted full stop!

    I’d have more time for Malcolm Fraser if he’d been honest at the time of his resignation.

  107. Rena Zurawel

    John James
    Before you start studying Hegel or Pilger, could you start studying English writing system?
    Only then you can start studying both geography and recent history.
    And, by the way, ‘the Left’ does not have to mean ‘communist’ as ‘the Right’ does not necessary mean ‘fascism’.

  108. Daniel

    Why are the comments by John James slipping through the moderation? He’s calling the author of this piece a mass-murderer, or at least an enabler of one, without providing any evidence whatsoever….in a thread about Malcolm Fraser’s resignation of all things. His comments are not only off-topic, but the very definition of a ‘personal attack’. Crikey, please moderate or ban this notorious troll.

  109. John james

    @ David “… Why do you single out Cambodian Catholics?”
    @ John James, “.. Ask Vietnamese Catholics..”

    You know you’re dealing with the Left, that shambolic excuse for lucidity, when they start quoting what they think you said, and start rewriting history.

  110. paddy

    A nice piece of writing there Margaret.
    Thanks

  111. OBlizzard

    Micheal

    [Q&A is on the ABC, and they must show balance. This means equal time to Labor and Liberal spin, but avoid as much as possible presenting progressive views.

    Neither Labor nor Liberal have any interest in enquiring into Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war – thus move on.

    And did you notice how Jones put an end to discussion on reducing class sizes by saying “That could never happen here.”

    I’m one of the progressives who over time have come to respect Malcolm more and more.
    ]

    To be fair Michael it wasn’t remotely relevant to the question. Maybe Tony was just being expedient rather than acting as an organ of a partisan political conspiracy? Just a thought.

  112. David

    @johnjames….From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Religion in Cambodia is predominantly Buddhism with 95% of the population being Theravada Buddhist. Most of the remaining population adheres to Islam, Christianity, Animism and Hinduism…..

    Why do you single out Cambodian catholics? I wasn’t aware they were the only Cambodians tortured and killed during Pol Pot’s regime. Is it only catholics that concern your tunnel vision view of the world?

  113. Ian

    Will somebody please send John James a box of teabags!

  114. John james

    @ Jonathon Maddox, ‘..he wasn’t in Cambodia while the Khymer Rouge were in power..”

    The boofhead Left at its dissembling best.
    The Left hailed the ‘liberation of Cambodia ” by the Rouge, just as they applauded the defeat of the United States by that other doyen of the Left, the murderous Ho Chi Minh.
    Ho and Pol Pot learned their Marxism at the feet of the ‘Left bank intellectuals’ in Paris, reading Hegel, and Marx, voraciously and erecting monuments to themselves soaked in the blood of the ‘intellectuals’ they murdered.
    Ask Vietnamese Catholics about what the Left see as transcendent, then back to sipping your lattes while reading your heroes of the revolution.

  115. rossco

    I find it interesting that the Frasers almost quit the Libs over Tampa. I always supported Labor (although not a party member) until Tampa but I was so disgusted with Labor’s cave in on that issue I joined the Greens and am still a member. I know it was a turning point for quite a few others in shifting from Labor to the Greens.

    Now that Malcolm has quit the Libs he might consider joining the Greens!

  116. jenauthor

    Callum — it became quite obvious during Fraser’s discourse that he also, had been reading the Australian without actually getting the truth.

    You accuse us of parroting labor party propaganda — well what the heck do you think you do? Go back and actually look at what official inquiries have told us on the administration of the insulation scheme, for instance. What, you don’t trust the official reports?

    Convenient.

  117. jenauthor

    Actual chest-beating! Wow. His chimpanzee dna is really coming out now.

  118. Callum

    @jenauthor 1.34pm and @socrates, LMAO, my god, you two are really full of it. Even worse, you have just been caught out. Fraser re-phrases a question from Paul Sherrington on quanda, where Sherrington asks Fraser which government, out of Rudd and Whitlam government’s, is better. Fraser rephrases the questions and says ‘least worst’.

    He then goes on to describe many of the failings of the current government as being worse than Whitlam in administering policies. Specifically, he says “and the administrative failures are as great, if not greater, than the administrative failures in Gough Whitlam’s government”. This says a heck of a lot. The transcript is below, but before we go there, two things strike me as very amusing about those two comments:
    1) @jenauthor and @socrates have not tried to say the Rudd government is good (or Whitlam for that matter), rather they tried to say Rudd is not as bad as Whitlam
    2) How desperate are the left wing staffers on here to deliberately and blatantly misrepresent what was clearly said, but then, the left wing don’t lie. In fact, the only people with a pre-disposition to lie in politics are apparently people on the right, according Joooolia, Waaaayne, Krudd, and now @ jenauthor and @socrates lol

    ROTFLMAO

    Enjoy below – clowns!

    “PAUL SHERRINGTON: Thanks, Tony. Controversial Melbourne columnists like Andrew Bolt and others have declared the Rudd Government to be the worst and most wasteful government in living memory, perhaps unfairly. Given a choice between the Whitlam Government, as you intimately know it, Mr Fraser, and the Rudd Government so far, which do you think is better?

    MALCOLM FRASER: Oh, you’ve got to say – I’d use different terms: “least worst”. The Rudd Government so far, but you didn’t take a very good – I don’t want to criticise journalists, because, you know, some journalists have very extreme views and generally only report one side of a question, as we’ve heard, perhaps. The administrative failures of the current government, whether it’s in delivering houses to indigenous people, or whether it’s in putting insulation in roofs or building classrooms for schools with government schools costing several times what it costs private schools, or what other things have they sought to administer? They’re going to muck up the hospitals next. The administrative failures are gross and half of them aren’t pursued by the opposition and the administrative failures are as great, if not greater, than the administrative failures in Gough Whitlam’s government. But Gough’s failures were of a different kind, of a different quality, and I don’t want to go into those now. It wasn’t straight out of administering what should have been a plain, straightforward program, which for some reason this government seems totally incapable of doing.”

  119. jenauthor

    ANyone watching Abbott digging another hole for himself on QT?

  120. davidk

    I’m with both of you.

  121. jenauthor

    @ Scott
    “Today, more than ever, the threat is unrestrained corporate power.”

    Well summed-up, Scott. Balance is a key word.

    Unrestrained corporate power is in evidence in the Murdoch press, with its consistent and blatant skewing of political reporting in this country. It is a form of censorship — one that has a nefarious intent, not, as with pornographic censorship, for instance, aimed at the public good.

    The same could be said of the really big miners and some international banks. That lack of restraint gave us the GFC. The banks that were ‘too big to fail’ showed the downright arrogance of unrestrained corporate power.

    Individual corporate heads have lost touch with the real world where most of us live (cf. Sol Trujilo when heading up Telstra). Thus they have no concept of the ramifications of their decisions.

  122. Jonathan Maddox

    @John James : “Pilger’s public defense of the Khymer Rouge” —- WHAT?

    Pilger was the first Western journalist on the ground following the Vietnamese invasion that EXPELLED the Khmer Rouge from power in Cambodia and first to expose the sheer scale of destruction in the preceding years. He wasn’t in Cambodia while the Khmer Rouge were in power nor did he ever write anything in favour of that most insane of regimes.

    Consider this a public defence of John Pilger.

    Do go and READ what Pilger wrote at the time, if you care a whit for honesty.

    As for “rejecting anything transcendent in humankind” — go and READ Hegel!

  123. Venise Alstergren

    SCOTT GRANT: As evidenced by Rupert Murdoch?

    I agree with everything you’ve said-for what it is worth.

  124. Scott Grant

    I can relate to the story of forming political views during Uni days. Being anti-communist is quite a respectable position, particularly during the worst days of Stalinism.

    My own basic leanings were formed during the era of the Vietnam war and conscription. All I could see was a bunch of old conservatives who allowed their anti-communist hysteria to lead us into the immoral quagmire that was the Vietnam war. Fraser, of course, was Minister for the Army under Harold Holt. I rejoiced when the election of Gough freed me from the threat of conscription.

    I think I could vote for a genuinely liberal party, if the liberalism was tempered by a genuine concern for social justice, for limiting corporate power, and, of course, for doing something about climate change.

    For my part, any lingering angst over the dismissal, is directed at the Murdoch press which was then and is now so stridently anti-democratic. Malcolm was concerned about the threat to freedom posed by communism. Today, more than ever, the threat is unrestrained corporate power.

  125. Venise Alstergren

    Perhaps it isn’t a case of Malcolm Fraser turning a little bit left. Rather it is a case of keeping abreast of the decent liberalism which exists in this country-At least I hope it does-which is on the point of going underground.

    Whereas the Liberal Party, led by Tony Abbott, attracts scheming thugs who reveal the rabid right-wing prostitution of all traces of dignity, decency and balance. The same mentality as the small time thugs employed by Hitler to run concentration camps and bully-boy gangs.

  126. Holden Back

    So if the Cold War has been won, why is John James still fighting it with tired half-truths? Could he please explain what is actually conservative about neo-liberalism? Oh, and those Judeo-Christian values, which are they?

  127. davidk

    I think Fraser said Rudd’s govt was worse than Whitlam’s in terms of policy implementation. The fact that abbott lied should come as no surprise to anyone. I’ll be surprised if he ever tells the truth about anything.

  128. Socratease

    Yes, and I said ‘huh?” at that unnecessary and incorrect throw away line of his.

  129. jenauthor

    “And did you notice how Jones put an end to discussion on reducing class sizes by saying “That could never happen here.””

    Had to laugh. In kindergarten in NSW 20 students is the maximum — so it is already happening!!

  130. Socratease

    @jenauthor: “Abbott just lied again — he said Fraser had said the Rudd govt was worse than Whitlam’s. It wasn’t what Fraser said on Q&A.”

    Thanks, I thought I heard Fraser say the opposite, too.

    I’d have more respect for Fraser if he said what he really thinks about the turkeys on the Liberal front bench.

  131. John james

    Fraser, like former leaders Turnbull and Peacock, whose demise he laments, represent an ill disciplined and policy bereft minority of the Liberal Party, that the Conservative base has long since repudiated.
    Margaret Simons, like all those on the political and cultural Left, having been defeated by the West in the Cold War, now prosecute their agenda of social and cultural nihilism, destruction of personal liberty, and economic vandalism, in the very forums that feedom loving societies , unlike their marxist/socialist comrades, have provided.
    It is salutary to remember that Simons, like Choamsky, Pilger, Adams, McCallum and the rest of the ‘proletariat’, are standard bearers for a visceral anti Americanism, apologists for many terrorist organisations, in fact any that oppose the United States, ( Pilger’s public defense of the Khymer Rouge representing the absolute nadir in this sorry mess called the Left ) enduring hostility to the Judeo Christian concepts that underpin Western institutions and the personal freedoms they protect , assaults on the family and its foundation, marriage, and an enduring assault on all religion, but especially anything Christian, for like Marx, Hegel and the teachers at whose feet they absorbed this barbarity, they reject anything transcendent in humankind.

  132. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Syd,

    Q&A is on the ABC, and they must show balance. This means equal time to Labor and Liberal spin, but avoid as much as possible presenting progressive views.

    Neither Labor nor Liberal have any interest in enquiring into Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war – thus move on.

    And did you notice how Jones put an end to discussion on reducing class sizes by saying “That could never happen here.”

    I’m one of the progressives who over time have come to respect Malcolm more and more.

  133. Rena Zurawel

    Regardless what some people think Malcolm Fraser was a statesman.
    All I can remember was that life and social life was much easier under the Fraser government.
    The present neo-con Liberals show less and less affinity with Australia. Very sad.

  134. MARY WALSH

    Any one who has following what Mr Fraser has said over many years could not fail to see his loss of faith in the Liberal Party. I too faced the same dilemmas to a lesser degree when I resigned from the Labor Party. Financial members who hold strong convictions feel mortified about some actions which are taken in their name as members of a group.

    Loyalties are learned in the playground and are very hard to break.

    I knew the Liberal Party had lost the soul of Malcolm Fraser many years ago – instead of a separation it is now a divorce – which leaves him free of commitments to ideals which he cannot in conscience, support.

  135. Syd Walker

    Malcolm Fraser was refreshingly charming on the ABC’s Q&A this week. He almost seemed to hale from a different era, when truth mattered more than cleverness.

    His comment that the British and US Government’s must have known it likely there were no WMDs in Iraq – and the the Australian Government should have known – was the highlight of the program for me. Why were we whisked away so quickly to another topic, I wonder? What’s more important than a former Prime Minister helping to expose war crimes carried out by our Government and its so-called ‘allies’?

    Anyhow, this is a fascinating story. I share Malcolm Fraser’s view that the Liberal Party leadership was in significantly better hands when Malcolm Turnbull was leader. His ousting, I think, was a serious error for the Coalition’s long-term standing and prospects.

    I wonder if Fraser might have kept his party membership, had he known at the time of Turnbull’s susbequent decision not to resign from politics?

  136. Peter Logue

    Well written and thoughtful piece Margaret.

  137. Charles Richardson

    As a private citizen, Fraser is fully entitled to keep quiet about his decision to leave the Liberal Party. But in that case, he shouldn’t have written a book. To publish that sort of book, but hold back such a key piece of information, strikes me as dishonest – the same sort of dishonesty that got Cheryl Kernot into trouble a few years back.

  138. shepherdmarilyn

    Gough is entitled to do what he likes but delving into Frasers real actions over the Vietnamese makes me know that he is a load of old humbug.

    It’s not bitterness at all, but it was Fraser who has been lying about it ever since and his lying should not be rewarded.

    For example. To prevent any Vietnamese coming here the Galang refugee prison was set up close to where the ALP have one today in Indonesia.

    They started jailing people in 1979 in that place, many were still there in 1994 without hope of any kind.

    And this is just one of the many lies about that time.

  139. Elan

    Why do we baulk at censorship??

    All I wrote was “What took you so long Malcolm”.

    It incurred the moderation notice. It disappeared. Perhaps I should have said MR Fraser??
    __________________

    Fraser should feel no sadness. He is (has become) a man of conscience, so he does feel this.

    The ‘Liberal’ Party long since deserted him. Long since. A Howard Liberal Government was- like the Bush Administration in the US.;- a global embarrassment.

    MR Fraser should have ditched this unrecognizable mess of Right-wing Conservatives years ago.

    It saddens me that they are in such a parlous state that Turnbull is looked on as some kind of saviour. He is nothing of the kind.

    His autocratic style of leadership belies any moderate philosophies he espouses. How in the hell he thought he could get away with that, with the Abbott/Minchin (g), machine, is beyond my comprehension!

    He will do the same thing again. It will incur dissension again. The bloke needs his own Party. Perhaps” The New Liberals”??

    Then he can say ‘it’s my Party, and I’ll cry (foul) if I want to’.
    _______________

    Well done Malcolm Fraser!

    This is the first beacon of hope for those of us to support those who see these Parties as so strayed from their original premise that they formally and publicly sever ties with them.

    I hope it starts a trend. (No. I won’t hold my breath).

  140. Tomboy

    @Shepardmarilyn: I’m sorry that you’re so bitter about 1975…you can’ forgive Fraser, yet Whitlam seems to have been able to get over it (haven’t he and Fraser been friends over the latter years?).

  141. David

    @JENAUTHOR…not a day goes by he doesn’t lie Jen, he must spend a damn long time visiting Pell for the ole absolution,,,perhaps he just texts him and Pell has an automatic absolution programmed in…Hi George I,ve got another couple to confess….Pells mobile ..press 1 for 1 lie, 2 for 2 etc…absolution and penance advice will follow…Yours in Liberal George, Bishop and confessor

  142. cmagree

    When are Keating and Whitlam going to resign from the ALP?

    And we already have a socially progressive party — the Greens. Their policies are in the main small ‘l’ liberal (but are portrayed as radical because the major parties have moved so far to the right). Unlike the other parties, the Greens are very upfront about their policies.

  143. Tomboy

    Michael James: I think you made some valid points. Rather than moving to the left in his later years, Fraser may have been more outspoken about his real views (unencumbered by obligations to the Liberal Party right faction). Moreover, his stance with Vietnamese refugees and apartheid-era South Africa was more consistent with his position now. 🙂

  144. jenauthor

    A great story Margaret, and an interesting one.

    As a staunch laborite teenager in 1975 I had a profound dislike for Fraser, (I lived in Whitlam’s electorate at the time) however over the years he earned my respect for the way he voiced his views.

    His charity work, and the world view he expressed in various interviews in those intervening years forced that respect I began to feel.

    Again, his standing up for his principles rather than accepting the extremist attitudes of the current liberal parliamentary cohort, only reinforces that respect.

    It would be very easy for anyone to simply accept that a party is following a particular direction in order to gain a political advantage. I am glad that Mr Fraser has been stronger than that.

    I hope his decision ripples through the liberals and maybe, just maybe, they finally see some sense. They have been blocking good legislation for the wrong reasons. And they have been using sensationalism and negative scare campaigns to gain political advantage instead of working for the good of the country.

    While I realise it is incumbent on an opposition to attempt to gain government, this should never be to the detriment of the country in terms of policy and direction. If we cannot believe that ultimately, our politicians are working for the good f the country, then our political system is in tatters.

  145. shepherdmarilyn

    Something that has to be said about Fraser is the notion that he was particularly humane to Vietnamese refugees is a lie. He set up the camps all over Asia in response to hysteria and because he only wanted to pick the best and brightest while keeping out everyone else.

    We saw on Dateline during the story of SIEVX that a Mr Humphries who worked in immigration showed that Australian agents were putting holes in the bottom of boats to sink them in Malaysia and then have them locked up in jail camps in Indonesia.

    Nothing humane, just a way to cherry pick who we wanted while the rest died or got sent back.

    And for the man who had Whitlam sacked and still won’t admit his perfidy he should be grateful that many can forgive him because I can’t.

  146. Sally Goldner

    We need a small-l liberal party, roughly paralell to the Liberals of Lib-Dem in the UK. Malcolm Fraser has the contacts and money to start such a party. So does the other Malcolm – Turnbull. We need more checks and balances on the 2 larger (I refuse to call them major) parties. And the sooner the better.

  147. Michael James

    I believe that the spilt was due to Fraser moving more to the left in his later years, while the Liberal Party has moved more to the right.

    Labour moved more towards the right in recent years, to become more electable. Rudd won on being Howard lite. The Liberals have moved to the right to differentiate themselves from the ALP, placing a very ‘wet’ Liberal like Fraser in an uncomfortable position.

    At the end of the day however, whatever merits their might or might not have been in Fraser’s leadership of the nation for two terms (which is still the subject of significant argument by historians and those who experienced those times), Fraser has made a personal decision.

    Rather than read into it the fortunes of the conservative side of Australian politics (which will be what happens here on Crikey) perhaps it is better to see it as a personal decision by a generally private individual.

  148. Tomboy

    When Fraser was PM, Abbott wasn’t even a Liberal – more like DLP who were following Australia’s Duce – Santamaria. Howard – 1950s; Abbott – 1930s (New Guard? Mosley?).

  149. jenauthor

    Abbott just lied again — he said Fraser had said the Rudd govt was worse than Whitlam’s. It wasn’t what Fraser said on Q&A.

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