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. Ah! Thank you Bushfire Bill. That fills a lot of gaps for me, as my knowledge of ‘things political’ really only starts after December ’74 when my family arrived “on Australia”.

    The trouble is, I can also see that the example of the UK in Mr Fraser’s young adulthood together with his own upbringing could have also led him to pinch ‘good ideas’ from all sides. But one cannot deny that he had a raging ambition which obviously led him to desire being PM.

    As for Harold Holt, I was told he had a prediliction for not swimming between the flags, a common cause of Australian opprobrium. Either that, or the Russians got him, not the Chinese. (Pre1975, so I don’t really know)
    And the passengers & crew of the MH370 are currently the guests of North Korea as the cargo contained something “odd”.

    Do I get a new roll of tinfoil now? *cheeky grin*

  2. Just had an invitation from the ALP to sign a petition against the abolition of the minimum wage, and clicked on the link that was provided to remind myself of the IPA’s little list.
    I was amused that the IPA promptly checked out my browser in case it was a DDoS attack *evil grin* One has to wonder what they are afraid of that they mark their URLs with secure protocols …


  3. From Ducky last night:

    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.


    I just wanted to note how the term “Greens-Labor dominated”, prominently placed very early in the article, colours and skews the piece. It’s an unnecessary addition.

    It’s tantamount to suggesting that there’s something ‘fishy’ about the Senate committee’s findings. it echoes the kind of language Coalition members use to discredit anything they don’t like, and it implies a partnership between the Greens and the ALP that mostly isn’t there. Especially judging by the way the Greens talk about the ALP most of the time.

    And it’s a suggestion that any findings made by the committee should be taken with caution as they have a ‘leftist’ bent to them.

    Calling a committee ‘Greens-Labor dominated’ is not a statement of fact. It’s an intended slur which exposes either the journalist’s or the editor’s leanings.

  4. As far as Fraser’s concerned, I don’t look back on him with any particular affection. His PM-ship was a shambles and the way he got there was a disgrace. The only use he’s ever been to me is as a demonstration that the politics of the Howard and Abbott governments have been so toxic that even people on the right can be outraged by them.

    BB’s theory sounds plausible to me, and may well be true. But then I don’t give Fraser all that much thought. He had a conscience, which was nice. But then a conscience is the very least you’d expect of a human. That the current crop of Liberals can’t even rouse themselves to act with any sort of conscience just illustrated what a pack of low-lifes they are. Cheap tacky crims in suits and ties.

  5. 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?

    The whole theory is based on Fraser playing a role selected for him, when required to do so.

    His role was: “Plummy voiced, boarding school frat-boy from the Bunyip aristocracy”.

    Saying what he said about public schools would be perfectly in character.

    Only after the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980s could he afford to reveal more of his true colors. Before that he would have had to confine his lefty dabblings to minor matters,hoping no-one would notice.

    Of course, he could have just been a genuine plummy-voiced frat boy from the Bunyip aristocracy, and not a Soviet agent at all, but this doesn’t explain his change in political stance over time.

    People can change, over time, of course. Fraser’s excuse was that he didn’t change, but the Liberals did. Other people have ventured noblesse oblige as the reason, a deep-seated sense of duty to the less well-off and their plight. But mostly, commentators I’ve read just say something like, “Gee! Malcolm’s changed!”

    This doesn’t really hold water for me. It’s too pat.

    Fraser’s change of attitude over the years was too severe, too polarised for someone who had a name for right-wing inflexibility, ruthlessness and winning at all costs, even to the near-destruction of cherished institutions (so destructive that the Constitution had to be changed to make sure it never happened again) of which the conservatives claim to be guardians and custodians.

    Naturally we know that conservatives don’t believe that the institutions just hang there in space. They believe a nation’s institutions are their institutions, to do with as they please, and for the Left never to touch. Conservatives giveth institutions, and conservatives taketh institutions away, at whim.

    Frasers place in all this is, in hindsight to me, a square peg in a round hole. The “legend” constructed around Fraser has never been fully explained in my opinion, either in the construction or the demolition.

  6. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=8J1WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6OYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5680,4359858 full article scanned in

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/51772630?searchTerm=life%20easy%20AND%20%22malcolm%20fraser%22&searchLimits=exactPhrase=malcolm+fraser|||anyWords|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom|||dateTo|||sortby Women’s Weekly interview from 1980


  7. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=njtkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=G-cDAAAAIBAJ&pg=4940,604657



  8. The end of Fraser always was equality – try floating that in the current liberal party.

  9. It’s a fun theory BB put up on Fraser being a Soviet mole, even if it started with James Darby. But it makes about as much sense as Chris Mitchell’s obsession with trying to prove Manning Clark had a Star of Lenin gong.

    As a resident of his former constituency of Wannon I get a different impression. He won it from Labor in 1955 and gradually made it a very safe Liberal seat. He was helped by the DLP split and a strong Irish-catholic settlement. Gradually they moved from DLP to Liberal over time. He nurtured his constituents very well, regardless of their political allegiance, which is what you’d hope for from a conscientious MP.

    My father, a lifelong Labor and union man, held him in the highest regard, albeit he’d never have voted for him. As Chief Meat Inspector (in the days when the government did it to sustain export quality) Dad was almost caught up in a major industrial dispute at Borthwicks. It would if continued have shut Borthwicks and exports from the port. Dad rang Fraser, who got onto Primary Industry Minister Doug Anthony and they had the whole thing settled in about two days. Dad was impressed with that and other local dealings. He always spoke openly of his regard for Fraser right through the angry Dismissal years.

    The Mungo piece in The Australian pointed out the contradictions in Fraser. I’d personally believed that Fraser was pretty well stuck with the Senate rigging and blocking and with Kerr – that if Fraser hadn’t moved they’d have made someone else Leader. However, Mungo was much closer to the action and makes it clear that it was at his impatience that it occurred. As Mungo said, he’d have got there easily in 77.

    The action took away the goodwill he could have had from the Left in an otherwise good leadership. Of course, like Muldoon in NZ, he would find that protectionism, subsidies and Keynesianism were not working in the new post-oil price hike era. So on economics he scored as badly or worse than Gough.

    I’d still regard him as a sort of patrician Liberal, which had a long tradition in Victoria and SA. Alas, now long vanquished by Howard.

  10. Dunny, I have never heard of James Darby. It was an original idea of mine. I have a $10 bet with a friend going back to 1984 on the subject. But I suppose, whoever Mr Darby is, great minds often do think alike 🙂

    I always make sure I have $10 in my pocket, in case my mate phones and wants a payout.

    Ross Gittins suggests (probably tongue in cheek) that after Fraser’s death a “spate of newspaper revelations” may spring up to support the theory.

    A post mortem spate of allegations would not be unique: the day after NSW Premier Robin Askin died, a veritabe avalanche of newspaper allegations did spring up, proving beyond doubt that he and Col Allen, then NSW Police Commissioner, ran illegal gambling in Sydney, literally from the Premier’s office, skimming millions of dollars in corrupt money along the way.

    Stranger things have happened…

  11. My long dead father was not the type that ever showed much emotion about anything, sad or glad. when Fraser was at his pime I was reading some ratbag publication and they were advertising things called “frazer rolls”, a roll of toilet paper with an image of Frazer on every sheet. I bought one for the Old Man for Xmas. It’s the only time I can remember him being genuinely delighted about something. After a good laugh he raced out the back to try it out.



  12. Retrieved a snake skin /western brown, complete from the back paddock…it measured 1700mm , or 5ft8in in the old money!….whoaa!

  13. Richard Marles on the Moss Report


    Moss review: Former disability commissioner says Government review confirms Gillian Triggs’ Forgotten Children report
    AM By Sarah Sedghi, Naomi Woodley
    Updated about 2 hours ago

  14. Handy tip, if you post scribd.com document links into this blog (and similar format wordpress blogs) it pastes it in & incorporates the file into the blog for easy reading. A bit like pasting Youtube clips creates a window to Youtube, so you can view it without going to the site, or pasting in an individual tweet URL.

    The above link I found at the https://twitter.com/political_alert twitter account. Lots of very useful updates & original documents posted via Scribd, and worth following on twitter. Here is the tweet which had the link…

  15. BB, the Darby link was on here, I thought from you but possibly from one of Leroy’s links. It’s on the previous thread – so I won’t go back. From memory it might’ve been someone posting a Malcolm Farr link to the original story. That was, that at a 2000 Liberal convention, Howard nominated Fraser for life membership.

    That apparently caused James Darby to jump from his wheelchair yelling that no way would he support honoring a Russian spy. Lynton Crosby had to rush from the podium to calm him down and shut him.

    I don’t know James, but assume he was from the same brood that gave us Douglas and Michael Darby. Both started in the Libs before some of their views took them out and they became ultra-right independents.

    I assume that’s Norm Allen you mean with police corruption. Col Allen’s claim to fame is as a Murdoch tabloid hatchet man, which I suppose is another form of it.

  16. A week end ‘spit’…

    I’m over the Israeli’s flogging the Palestine.

    in 1956 and the 1970 it was acceptable but now just a land grab.

    Benyyyyam Net an arsehole just another flimflammed dick hole.

    OK, done.

  17. jaycee

    Fraser ; a Russian spy!

    Yep, Wanking of the first degee.

    Malcolm was actually one of ours.

  18. Just for fun!


    Where is Samarkand?
    Is it cry of bird strangely,
    Or is it man?
    And Byzantium?
    A pealing of great bells, where
    The name ; Pliny, is but a tinkle!
    And Jerusalem, Jerusalem…..syrup,
    As sticky as a bruised sugar fig.
    Dar-Es-Salaam….a command?
    If so, then consider its neighbour :
    Like the last whispered word
    From an unsettling dream….
    ……….ZANZIBAR !!……….

  19. 5ft 8 inches of snake skin – the NE hadn’t been in the neighbourhood by any chance?

  20. Fiona….I remember years back when I was about fifteen and was out hunting with three other youths..lanky Bill, Bodo and my brother Peter…three of us had .22s..Bodo had a 12 gauge shotgun…well, lanky Bill steps on a brown snake which promptly wraps around his lower leg but didn’t have a chance to bite Bill, as he had chucked his gun up in the air in a panic and was dancing a kind of jig, with his snake-leg a shaking and a shaking and him yelling ; “Yah , yah, yah !”…till Bodo rushes up with his 12 gauge and says to Bill…: “Stand still Bill and I’ll shoot it orf!”
    Bill gave one extra loud scream and took off up the hill till he shook the snake off and promptly came rushing back to tear into Bodo!….geez it was funny!…ahh!..youth.

  21. But that Bill was so lanky and skinny…when the fad of tattoo came in, he decided to be like Bodo and get a tatt on his upper breast…but he was so skinny, that Bodo said he got two for the price of one : one on his chest and the reverse on his back!

  22. Granny Anny, I don’t recall the actual rolls but I did have a badge with a pic of them on it.
    I would love to get my hands on some Abbott rolls.

  23. I put this post up a fair while ago when Maris died…now it happens that his brother Harry has died recently…so I will post it again if you don’t mind.

    Maris Zalups…..and Harry !

    One of the lads I went to school with died a couple of months ago…of a heart attack, I am told. His name was Maris Zalups…Of course, we kids lazily condensed his Latvian surname to more suit our casualness and his happy easy-going nature to “Slopsy”….His brother’s name was Arrtis (sp?)…..too hard!…he got called : “Harry”….Harry grew from a gangling boy to a full-blown archetype “Viking Warrior” in both phiz and psyche!.. a body like “Conan the Warrior” and a voice like Barry White….he was much in demand by the “gentler sex”….we scowled in the corner of the local front-bar…but we scowled quietly!

    Their parents were escapees from a turmoiled Europe after the second world war…the father was a very good musician…before a very bad motorcycle and side-car accident….I remember him tiresly trying to teach Harry the piano, and he suceeded..even against Harry’s whishes (too much sun..too much surf in Australia!)…there was a small bust of Ludwig van ‘ on the upright piano and Harry would everyday be there rolling out some turgid piece, with his father smoking a dour pipe whilst sitting in a teacher’s contemplate at the end of the keyboard. I remember once the father went out of the room to fill his pipe as Harry played…he had no sooner gone than the rebellious spirit grabbed the youth’s hands and a playful Jerry-Lee Lewis piece sprung from the keyboard….parents came running and Harry immediately fell back into the rythmn of the classical piece as if nothing had happened!

    Maris was a lost cause as far as artistic instruction went and his father left him alone and he, with all us adventurous kids would immediately make for the gully to swing from the trees like Tarzan, or wooden sticks in hands, make for the seaside sand-dunes ala Beau Geste!…we could always see Harry, finally released from Tchaikovsky, running toward us in frenetic glee!

    Their mother was an artist..with oils…she could often be seen UNDISTURBED! in a small side room off the shed painting away. I remember once..I must have been about nine or ten..chasing Harry through the house and we were pulled up in the lounge room where Mrs. Zalups had a lot of her framed paintings propped on the chairs there…She held us up ..”Boys, boys…stop!..I would like you to meet Mr….” of course, young boys are even less inclined to remember names than manners and we said hello and then ran on. It was only many years later, whilst walking down Rundle Mall, past a Myers window display of a full-size photo cut-out of a man in a grey suit with several framed paintings of his on display that I recognised him as that same gentleman in Mrs. Zalup’s lounge-room ..and her introductory words came straight back to me..”Boys, boys..stop!..I would like you to meet Mr. Hans Heysen”.
    This is an important story…look at the players..Myself ;Italian / Irish..them Latvian..others in our group incl’ English, Dutch , German..and well..you know it…..AND…let us embrace the reality..: All Australian!

    This..is the Australia I vote for, not a mean-spirited polarising of one ethnic group against the other…for there is no one ethnic majority that can work this huge nation on it’s own…there never has been….This is the Labor objective I support..it’s motto, no less intense than us kids on a limb of a huge pine tree about to group-swing way out over the gully depths, all clasping onto the one many-knotted rope..: “One in -All in!”…..GO!… this is the spirit of the people who still stand united together around the “light on the hill”.

  24. Fiona
    Totally possible – the NE is around 5ft 10, so allowing for a bit of shrinkage when drying…..

  25. From the satire site The Shovel

    The Australian Prime Minister is the new host of the BBC’s much-loved motoring program Top Gear.

    The show’s producers said the suspended Jeremy Clarkson would be a hard act to follow, but they believed Tony Abbott was up to the task.

    “We were a bit worried there for a while [about finding a suitable replacement]. I didn’t think there was anyone else who could pivot so effortlessly from a sexual stereotype to a Nazi reference in order to make a point. Then someone told me about Tony Abbott,” one of the show’s producers explained.

    “His show reel of recent work was very, very strong. But his public persona was on the money too. We wanted someone who, like Jeremy, loves a scrap, who isn’t afraid of saying something a little bit weird in order to draw some publicity, who doesn’t back away from an old-fashioned punch-up if something’s not going his way. Big tick there,” he said.

    “Abbott’s perfect,” one BBC insider said. “Using racially-charged innuendo to boost the ratings isn’t as easy as it looks. If I’m honest, I think Clarkson may struggle to get a place back on the show”.

    Mr Abbott will join James May and Richard Hammond from next week.

  26. For PUBsters’ information Mrs BK and I will be hosting the Hon, Jamie Briggs at the dedication of a seed production area for C4 summer grasses at our property on Monday week.

  27. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/video/id-tmZDkzdDpWN8b3l8naXplP-Zv3-Oqysf/Greg-Sheridan-on-Fraser%27s-enigmatic-legacy If you make allowances for what Greg says about Whitlam (usual RW stuff of the old era) he raises some good points at least worth remembering. Greg also wrote an article not much different from what others wrote but its the attached video clip (this link) that’s worth a look.


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