Well, the last Easter Island statue has been toppled. John Malcolm Fraser, 22nd prime minister of Australia, dead at the age of 84, outlasting Gough by a few months. Sheer bloody-mindedness, no doubt, by a man who probably attracted more hate than just about any figure in recent Australian life -- if only because he spent the first half of his career getting it from the Left, and the latter half getting it from the Right.
The last Liberal prime minister to have been around as an adult -- or young man at least -- when the party itself was formed, for decades he had the air of being of that era, all woolen suits and service (Bob Hawke, who is older, looks like a 52-year-old ex-surfer who runs a crystal healing shop on the Sunshine Coast). His death will divide everyone, but in a sort of fourfold fashion: an older generation of the Left will never fully grant him absolution, and will take the veneration he is now receiving from a younger Left as evidence of political amnesia. The remnant Right will take -- and have taken -- his traitorous later politics as grounds for excommunication, while a younger Right damn him for cowardice during the one period in recent history when a Coalition government had control of both houses and solid electoral backing.