On the life and death of Malcolm Fraser
Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Rundle: farewell to Fraser, a political exile and the last of his kind” (Friday). As Crikey’s resident Liberal Imperialist I was always unconvinced by Fraser’s conversion to soft left causes. Was it simply a guilt trip for all that he was, up until 1975? Easter Island countenance grimly set against the leftist unconstitutional rabble Whitlam’s crash through experiment with government became. Or was it the glorification of his actions regarding refugees from Vietnam? Does anyone remember Malcolm’s warehousing of Vietnamese in Indonesia? His was the first offshore processing line and the fact that most of the resettlement took place after his demise in 1983? Of course Gough — a fellow new age venerable — was even more beneficent in his magnanimity toward Vietnamese refugees when he famously rejected them with “Comrade — these people will never vote Labor” or words to that effect. Or was it just his insufferable hypocrisy of later years in embracing the Leftist analysis of everything in the face of facts which render his guilt trip light years from the Liberal mainstream he once tried to represent?
Les Heimann writes: Guy Rundle’s piece on Malcolm Fraser portrayed him as a very Methodist rich and upper-class landowner in his heyday and a disillusioned apologist in his layday. From my experience of the man he was the embodiment of a class of person who genuinely believed his background and origins of entitlements made him one who was born to rule. This was a natural state for him and interestingly a state the Liberal Party father R.G. Menzies believed he himself had acquired, even though an imposter. For Malcolm Fraser to be praised for his humanitarian/ egalitarian actions and “positions” misses the point.
Fraser was of that class that believed in duty to the lower classes. So he held fast to ensuring he did his bit for those of a lower class than he. It may have pained him to stoop but this was his duty. He certainly never realised he was irrelevant and the class he believed he belonged to was a myth; certainly in these times. Unfortunately, apart from those inglorious and irrelevant English appendages, the royals, we still have a number of prominent Australian “wannabes” still kicking around. They float throughout the Liberal party and even hold elected office and we know them for what they are. A catch cry could be used to describe them “a right to be a bigot because we are”. Thankfully Australia has largely rid itself of the Malcolm Frasers of yesteryear. I felt sorry for the man who believed he was serving his subjects to the best of his ability as he was a tragic figure in his later years. Still we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead — best say he acted according to his class.
On Abbott’s St Patrick’s day message
John Shailer writes: Re. “Rundle: the Tony Abbott guide to cock-ups in three easy steps” (Wednesday). The drivel that passes for political comment by the feral Abbott-haters is a disgrace! They sweat on every word he utters for a “gotcha”, and ignore the same quotes from Labor politicians. Do they really believe Irish don’t like Guinness or you can’t mention the Nazis? Meanwhile they mostly support the Senate rejecting sensible measures to prevent our slide into a Grecian quagmire. What will their children think in 10 years, saddled with Labor’s projected debt of $100,000 a household and high youth unemployment?