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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.

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. 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.

  2. 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?).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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?).

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