Judith Troeth,
Marise Payne, Russell Trood, Barnaby Joyce and any other government senators
thinking of crossing the floor or abstaining can take heart from two sets of
comments Crikey has obtained.

We asked some
elder statesmen:

  • Do you support the proposed migration
    legislation?
  • Do you believe it is consistent with
    your view of Liberalism?
  • Do you believe it’s appropriate for
    members of parliament to vote against the government on an issue like this?

Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm
Fraser replied:

No, I do not
support it. It is not consistent with liberalism. It is totally contrary to
everything that the early Liberal Party stood for. It is appropriate for
Members of Parliament to vote against the government on this issue. It is a
matter of morality, of conscience and human decency. It is necessary to defeat
this legislation.

And a former Liberal leader in the Senate,
Fred Chaney, was brisk and unambiguous in his responses: “No,” “No” and “Yes.
This was a fundamental tenet of the Liberal Party that unlike Labor we did not
have a binding caucus.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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