Farewell Fraser Friday

To mark the passing today of Malcolm Fraser, one of the giants of Australian politics in the last third of the 20th century, I have put together a short photo-essay.

Like many of the left, I do not forgive Fraser for engineering the dismissal of the Whitlam government. I do, however, have no hesitation in acknowledging the many good things he achieved, both during and after his political career. Despite the Dismissal, he earned my respect and admiration with his treatment of the boat people, the continuation of land rights for the first Australians, his work against apartheid, ceasing Australia’s participation in whaling, stopping sand mining on Fraser Island, to mention a few.

So vale, Malcolm Fraser, and thank you.

Portrait of Malcolm Fraser as a young boy, c. 1934

(Image Credit: National Archives of Australia)

A young Malcolm Fraser (back row on the right) in an undated photo

Wedding of Malcolm Fraser and Tamie Begg, Willaura, 9 December 1956

(Image Credit: National Archives of Australia)

Federal Member for Wannon (Vic) Malcolm Fraser, with wife Tamie Fraser at Sydney’s Mascot Airport on 11 January 1959

(Image Credit: Hugh Ross)

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser with his wife Tamie and their hosts James Callaghan and Audrey Callaghan during a visit to Chequers in Buckinghamshire, 2nd June 1977

(Image Credit: Rob Taggart/Central Press/Getty Images)

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and wife Tamie in the 1980s

Tamie and Malcolm Fraser and their companions Grizzle and Choco in the garden at their Merricks property on the Mornington Peninsula

(Image Credit: Angela Wylie)

Malcolm Fraser and wife Tamie at the Australian Open tennis in January 2015

(Image Credit: AAP)

If Maestro CK Watt would be so kind as to run the raffle, and if youse will all help yourselves to beverages and comestibles as you feel inclined . . .

317 thoughts on “Farewell Fraser Friday

  1. make room on that soapbox for me Leonetwo,
    nah, lets refashion the soapbox into a couple of bats and whack some sense in their dangerous heads.

    Gawd, those anti vaxxers are creeps.

  2. Cheers C K Watt,
    I’d be honored to be part if the raffle.
    Don’t usually post on Friday night but you can be assured that im usually in attendance sitting in a dimly lit corner of The Pub.

  3. Stonyhabbott,

    Ah, so it’s you sitting under the accumulated cobwebs that I’ve been meaning to deal with!

  4. stonyhabbott

    Not one of our resident bench warmers I hope! (Fiona could you post the pic again for reference)

  5. Puffy,
    Don’t worry, my wife’s friend was left in no doubt what I think about her and her selfishness. I was so worked up that my wife lied and said we had to go pick up her mother just to get me out of the room.

    Thanks, I agree parents should have a right to know, not necessarily the name of a particular child but whether there are any children in a particular class who are not vaccinated.
    I realise it just isn’t possible to know the status of every child in a shopping centre or playground but given that some parents don’t have a choice in taking their infant child along to school with them and the school has the information I think that parents should be entitled to ask before they potentially put their baby at risk.
    It seems that the rights of a few uninformed nutjob parents to not vaccinate takes priority over the majority of parents to keep their baby safe.

  6. Your Government: no care and no responsibility

    A parliamentary committee has accused NBN Co of secrecy over future costs of rolling out the broadband network.

    The Greens-Labor dominated Senate committee tasked with overseeing the NBN has produced a damning second interim report, accusing NBN Co of releasing a glossy version of its public corporate plan by omitting forecasts for financial years after 2014/15.

    It also accuses the company of manipulating forecasts for political purposes.

    Additionally, NBN Co refuses to divulge names of companies that have signed contracts and the “substantial new costs” incurred, the committee claims.

    “This level of secrecy is unacceptable,” the report says.


  7. There are teenagers who were not vaccinated as kids because of their nutter parents, going to the doc for their vaccinations as soon as they turn eighteen.

  8. I just found out that my sister has arranged a meeting at her children’s school so I will let you know the schools response.
    Given that these days schools ban all sorts of food eg peanuts, and for good reason I think its wrong that they admit unvaccinated kids who are pretty much little disease incubators.
    My wife’s stupid friend kept saying that she has made the decision not to vaccinate because she believes it is dangerous however she couldn’t comprehend that her actions are dangerous for everyone else who happens to have a baby or a medical condition.
    Why the hell does her choice to not vaccinate, against overwhelming medical opinion take precedence over my sister and other parents simple right to drop their children off at school?

  9. Stonyhabbott,

    The problem is that your wife’s friend is of a generation that has never experienced the results of an epidemic of certain diseases.

    I was born in 1955, and was the fortunate recipient of both the Salk and the Sabin polio vaccines.

    My OH was born in 1942. He caught polio during the 1953 epidemic, but had an extremely mild case, with (apparently) no long-term consequences. (They could still manifest, however.) Many people his age, and younger, and older, died, or suffered life-long disabilities.

    I remember people at school just a few years older than me who were in calipers, or who had shortened arms. All the sequelae of polio.

    Then there’s rubella (and here I will proudly declare that my ophthalmologist when I was a cheeild was one Sir Norman Gregg, who identified the link between rubella in pregnant women and consequent appalling effects on their children: congenital blindness, deafness, blindness and deafness, severe retardation. Not to mention early death).

    Now, let’s consider measles. Complications include death, brain inflammation (with brain damage), deafness, and sometimes blindness.

    Chicken pox? Death (rare). During pregnancy, can lead to brain damage, eye damage, other neurological damage in the child. For those who have chicken pox as children (or, indeed, adults), the later risk of shingles which is NOT a pleasant ailment to have as an adult, as I have observed (OH again).

    Mumps? Meningitis. Infertility (mostly in males, but also in females).

    Diphtheria? Death (anywhere, these days, between 5% and 20% of cases).

    Tetanus? Death (mortality rates reported vary from 48% to 73%. In recent years approximately 11% of reported tetanus cases have been fatal. The highest mortality rates are in unvaccinated people, people over 60 years of age or newborns.)

    Whooping cough (pertussis)? Read all about it.

    In my opinion, people who don’t vaccinate their children are criminally negligent, both regarding their own kids and with respect to the community in which they live.

    There should be sanctions: no jabs, no playgroup/kindergarten/school. It is not a question of “choice”. It is a matter of making sure that the herd immunity is maintained – and improved.

    I will be updating my own vaccination status over the next couple of weeks.

  10. I wouldn’t like to be the principal of a school where a child catches a serious disease from a child who attends / has attended the school and who has not been vaccinated.

  11. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1301&dat=19810501&id=J_5jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2eYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5810,35156&hl=en have a read of this

  12. Anti-vaxxers anger me above and beyond most other crazies. They pose a real danger to everyone.
    Unfortunately, some parents of newborns feel that, because of these “conscientious objectors”, they need to keep their bubs away from shops and other public places to protect them from potentially fatal, and eminently preventable, diseases.
    One of the great ironies is with the MMR vaccine (often cited as causing autism by these f-wits). Congenital Rubella Syndrome, caused when a woman contracts the disease in early pregnancy, can cause…
    That’s right, they are actually increasing the risk of their own kids being autistic.

  13. AJ,

    Well, they aren’t increasing the risk because so-called Congenital Rubella Syndrome doesn’t exist – but as you correctly point out, their fear of ‘CRS’ and the way they behave would lead to an increased risk – if the risk existed in the first place . . .

    Now I know exactly how Alice felt in Wonderland.

  14. I’m trying to find why someone would consider Mr Fraser a ‘KGB mole’.

    I am aware that recently released British documents indicate that a nasty little man associated with both the CIA and the KGB in someway was involved with offering money to the Whitlam government when the Senate was getting toey in ’75, but what is the connection between Fraser and the KGB?

    Or is this stuff that I’m more likely to find in a Real Book ™ than on the internet *delighted grin*?

  15. Curioz,

    I thought about reproducing the latest rant from James Darby, the person who described Malcolm Fraser as a KGB mole, but thought better of it.

    If you can open this link, you will understand my decision:

  16. I was about to ask why he wasn’t wearing a hi-viz vest, then realised he didn’t want to be TOO visible a target.

  17. Fiona,
    I recognise that style of incoherance and fear. I occasionally startle it out of my SiL who, shown facts and figures to the contrary, would still rather believe the lies she has told herself. It quite makes my brain ache.

    I feel incredibly sorry for folk like that, because I believe that they end up voting for the thing/policies that will do them the most harm, and they will go to their graves shouting “It’s just a flesh wound!”, defending to their last breath the people who take greatest advantage of them.

    It’s very confusing trying to understand where they are coming from …

  18. Curioz,

    Cognitive dissonance is hard enough to deal with in oneself.

    In other people it is almost impossible.

  19. On Lateline..to watch that “White-trash” of humanity, those LNP. losers of dignity, those wasted effort of evolution…to hear their insincere patronising of a colleague who , although guilty of laying the foundation of the sewer that his party has become, at least tried to undo some of the damage inflicted by his divisive tactics.
    It sickens any honest citizen to witness such poltroons give a panegyric to a man they really despised and who despised them in return…..low bastards…very low bastards, the lot!

  20. Jaycee,

    It is a condemnation of the present “liberal” rabble that the most generous – and sincere – eulogies have come from two former Labor PMs: Julia Gillard and Paul Keating.

  21. Still trying to find the irritant that grew the pearl of Mr Fraser being considered a KGB mole. It just doesn’t fit anything that I’ve read about him.
    Mr Fraser always struck me as a very old-fashioned sort of chap, a member of the squatocracy that really did believe in ‘nobless oblige’ to those who depended on his class, and not understanding that led to many of the problems that were raised by him and for him.

    Mind you, as my first experience of politics played by Australian Rules, I thought he was a bit of a bounder, But I also now realise that there was a great deal of manipulation going on by outside influences that is only now starting to see the light of day.

    I have always been impressed how he never really did change his philosophy, and in doing so demonstrated just how far the current “Liberals” have drifted away from where they once held sway.

  22. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I have four days of dialup download speed in front of me to test my patience.

    The Liberals appallingly turned their backs on Malcolm Fraser.
    Lenore Taylor contrasts Fraser’s steady hand with Abbott’s chaotic manoeuvres.
    “Taking out the trash” with the release of the Moss report yesterday was too clever by half. Is there no limit to this government’s cynical manipulation?
    Will the UBS interference issue be kryptonite for Baird?
    Another paedophile from a “prestigious” Catholic school finally gets lumbered.
    Peter Hatcher advises us that it’s time to stop playing juvenile politics.
    Jon Birmingham on ho Malcolm Turnbull is taking on Murdoch.
    Julian Burnside posits that Fraser didn’t change much after 1975 but Australia did.
    Someone owes someone an apology over the contents of the Moss Report says the SMH.
    Michael Gordon says government backbenchers have plenty to fear.

  23. Section 2 . . .

    What sort of a prick is John Laws?
    Tony Windsor in The Saturday Paper looks at the NSW election and what the issues are. He thinks it will be a close contest.
    Ross Gittins reckons fiscal policy is about to return to the economic party.
    Mike Seccombe examines Prissy Pyne’s performance.
    As does Paul Bongiorno as he looks at the government’s troubles in general.
    Ignoring child sexual abuse is a crime says Joanne McCarthy.
    Mark Kenny writes on the efforts of Abbott and Hockey in trying to avoid a political train wreck.
    Latika Bourke reviews the John Faine interview with Abbott.
    The 28 worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    Is the Abbott government planning to privatise Centrelink?
    Ron Tandberg with Hockey’s empty rhetoric.

    Beautiful work from David Pope on the life of Malcolm Fraser.

    Mark Knight on Malcolm Frasers ascension.

  24. Re the links to James Darby and his views … I imagine that he is part of the Darby dynasty who have made a lot of noise out Manly over the years. Founder Douglas and first son Michael began as Liberals before their eccentric and extreme views took them out of the party to become independents, but always of ultra right persuasion.

    They’re probably good for the tabloids wanting a sensationalist quote, but really are about as pleasant as the Cameron dynasty, which has mostly stayed within the party.

  25. I taught at a very well known boys school where John Laws sent a son who had some deeper issues than most of the other boys. Always felt very sorry for the son and it was suspected that the son was being kept out of the way. That story linked by BK fits the general impression staff had of the man.

  26. A time for just one thing !

    I have to say I was somewhat angered last night, when I saw Bob Hawke say that since Gough had forgiven Fraser, we ought to do the same…Now..I thought that a tad patronising to us citizens from one of the ‘elite” political class…The insult of the dismissal may have been made to Whitlam, but it was directed straight and true to us citizens of the state. It was not wholly and solely Whitlam’s feelings to assuage…and I would like to add that on that fateful day, when it was ‘touch and go’ whether there would be any kind of rioting on the streets…I think, in retrospect, that Whitlam made a mistake to ameliorate the rising outrage…I would go further to say that in my opinion, it was almost his sovereign duty to raise the ire of the masses to attack the Liberal party some of it’s more prominent members and overthrow that regime of “born to rule” tyranny. For in stopping that purge, he gave tacit approval to the resultant behaviour and hubris of all the leaders and policies of the LNP. to this day…Remembrance day , 1975, was the day this nation had a chance to politically “come of age”.

    The betrayal of social convention by Fraser , the undignified manner in which it was done, by the undignified people involved, did lay the foundation of knowledge within the right-wing of politics as to how far the public can be manipulated…how much pain can be applied to the body politic..and how the MSM. can be allied to it’s political propaganda..and we saw it with Tampa..with Iraq, Afganistan and all the refugees..and more locally, with the slandering and humiliation , once again , of a Labor leader in Julia Gillard. It was not Gough’s ‘insult” to be assuaged..it was the insult to the nation.

    This pattern of ‘half the job done’ can be seen through our history…with Eureka, the nose of the tyrant was only bloodied..resulting in a more militarised governance…with Ned Kelly, who conspired for a failed local uprising, which resulted in a closer tie of the Victorian police force to the political arm of governance…a problem Victoria has inherited to this day!…as has several other states…witness the Dunstan era and the surveillance of police commissioner Salisbury.. witness the “planted stooges” in many protest marches who would try to provoke the marchers into outrage so the police squads could then move in.

    So that day when Whitlam stood on the steps of Parliament House and said those witty lines and held his head high, when he gained a place immortal for the urbane language he used, he perhaps ought to instead had spoken some blunt words of revolution. For while we of the left talk reason and conciliation, the right-wing conspires and cooperates with the power of the international corporate / military to wage war and death and then despair on millions of citizens…of whose blood we see not a drop..of whose suffering the MSM. reports a confected glimpse..of whose refugees we now hear only a smuggled picture of despair…yet done with such arrogance of “right”, of “soverignty”, the glare of the exploding ordinance on those lost souls reflects back badly on our citizen body..we, the people of this lucky nation, have through the mendacious machinations of the LNP. and it’s mainstream media arm, been sold into the world of opportunist military adventurers…we now supply the arms and bullets that do unto others what we dread will one day be done unto us.

    Yes..Whitlam ought to have called for a rising of the people, because sadly, as history has shown so many times, by such action only, can a tyranny of one class over another be removed..and it indeed is known and accepted that only by “bleeding” does one comes “of age”. It is a tragic pity that all the bleeding this nation’s youth have done has been in the service of another national power, over another nation’s agenda, in another country far away.

  27. Just some gossip –

    Michael Smith’s former wife, Katarina Kroslakova, is a talented, intelligent woman. You might have seen her ages ago on the old ABC ‘Spicks and Specks’, talking about her ‘relationship’ with Andre Rieu. She is a journalist – masters degree in journalism – with Fairfax and an accomplished musician – Bachelor of Music.

    I always wondered why she was with Smith. The Smith/Koslakova wedding was the one that George Brandis attended at our expense. Perhaps his toad-like presence put a curse on the marriage.

  28. Still trying to find the irritant that grew the pearl of Mr Fraser being considered a KGB mole.

    That would be me.

    It’s a thought that’s been in the back of my head since I found out that, despite the Moscow Games boycott, we sent a record amount of wheat to Russia that year, co-ordinated behind the scenes by the usual suspects in government, agriculture and commerce – all cronies of the Fraser government; indeed one could say “The Ruling Class”.

    Looking back at Fraser’s career, I read that he went to Oxford to earn a very average degree, a reasonably dull, apolitical son of the squattocracy. While the degree may have been average, Fraser came back to Australia politically energized. There was fire in his belly.

    What happened in those couple of years at Oxford? It was never explained.

    Then there was the utter ruthlessness with which he brought about Gorton’s fall, by resigning as Minister for the Army, leading to Gorton going next day.

    The next leader to fall under Fraser’s bus was Snedden.

    Then Gough Whitlam. If anyone today thinks of Fraser as a relatively mild-mannered, measured statesman, talking noble, lofty sense on matters towards the Left end of the spectrum, they should do the research: Fraser was a single-minded assassin, and used every means possible – and some of them, at the time, thought impossible – to claw his way to the Prime Ministership, to lead a country that was still under the control of the same people who had controlled it for 30 years, and more. What he did to get into power as Prime Minister, the sheer brutality, daring, arrogance and cruelty of it made The Dismissal Australia’s political 9/11.

    If you were a foreign power, wishing to influence national affairs in a foreign country, who would you turn to within that country?

    Would you turn to the side of politics based on workers earning average wages, led by union jobbers whose influence extended to backstabbing opponents at raucous party conventions, “Rats In The Ranks” style?

    Or would you turn to the side of politics whose members and associates controlled commerce, agriculture, mining, shipping and all the rest of the great machinery of state, and could turn them to your advantage when required?

    Would you seek to overthrow the ruling government, or join it, quietly and work from within?

    Would you turn to the party that had been in opposition for 23 years, or the party that had ruled for 23 years?

    Would you select as your inside man a member of the Communist Party with all its quaint comradeisms, or maybe of the Labor Party with its then dedication to the socialization of just about everything, nailed down or not? That would be a bit obvious, wouldn’t it? Fairly easy to spot?

    Or would you turn to a member of the Bunyip Aristocracy, with an impeccable pedigree of conservatism, a plummy voice, an Oxford scholar even, a man to be found in the best clubs and occupying a seat in the front row of the ruling circle? “One of our chaps”?

    That’s who they turned to in Britain. Kilby, Burgess, McLean and the Queen’s own Antony Blunt went to one of the top two British universities as fresh faced 20-somethings, and came out dedicated the the Soviet cause, focused and committed. They hid in plain site. Perhaps Fraser was part of the second wave, the class of Oxford, 1952. He returned to Australia from Oxford a different person, politically fired-up, energized, with a cultivated “approved” accent, and went straight into politics at the age of 23. He was in Parliament for the Liberal Party at 25.

    For a ruthless conservative head-kicker Fraser had an anomalous social conscience. Even after getting rid of Gough, Fraser augmented Gough’s work in almost every facet of social progress except Medibank. The lists of institutions founded under Fraser’s government read today like a shit sheet of “come the counter-revolution” targets of the IPA.

    When Russia needed wheat after major crop failures, Fraser, whose speciality was wheat, got it to them.

    When a Marxist revolutionary in Rhodesia agitated to take over the country on behalf of the local population, Fraser – as an “eminent person” – backed Robert Mugabe.

    Fraser actively and prominently worked to make sanctions against the South African government stick.

    His many left-wing causes since have become famous, culminating in his friendship with Gough Whitlam, his criticsm and eventual desertion of the Liberal Party, his active campaigning for the Greens, and (we were told yesterday) his intention to form a political party dedicated to reducing American influence in Australia and the Asia-Pacific geopolitical area.

    And did I mention that, before all this happened, even before Gorton was knifed, Fraser was Minister for the Army during the Vietnam War: a perfect placement for a Soviet government that was backing the other side.

    Judging Fraser by his deeds, his perfect Establishment pedigree, his connections, his ruthlessness, his political positions (his real political positions) and by his growing and eventually rampant, open support of all things Left after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989, I think the question is worth asking.

    Just who was Fraser really working for all those years?

    You can have some fun answering it.


    P.S. Please…

    1.No “tinfoil hat” references. Too tiresome. Think up something more original.

    2. No, I don’t think Harold Holt was spirited away on a Chinese submarine.

    3.Yes, my prediction a year ago that they’d never find MH-370 is looking a better each way bet, by the day.

  29. BB
    Very convincing.

    Just explain one thing for me – Fraser’s views on education while he was Gorton’s Minister for Education and Science in 1968/69 and then McMahon’s Minister for Education in 1971/72. I was a young teacher back then, and the state aid for private schools debate was raging. Fraser had been demanding government funding for private schools since he first took on the portfolio, talking up the needs of the poorer church schools who did need help. i agreed with that part, but not with his more elitist views on education. On the old ABC Monday Conference Fraser, speaking about the issue, said public schools were for those who could not afford anything better. That really angered me, which is why I have never forgotten the comment.

    How does his elitism in education fit in with all that other alleged socialism and his alleged socialist conscience? Was it Fraser’s Soviet-influenced way of breeding a semi-educated workforce of proles, or was it just his Bunyip aristocracy roots shaping his views?

  30. Independent candidate for the immense Nationals stronghold of Barwon, Rohan Boehm, claims to have a ReachTEL showing “that [incumbent Kevin] Humphries’ primary vote has halved and that on preferences he would face a clear defeat.”


    Unfortunately no figures have been found and it is worth noting that at last years state election Nationals MP for Morwell Russell Northe was waving round a reachtel poll showing him getting 56% of the primary vote (he ended up with 44%).

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