Page 989 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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At the 1977 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London Fraser publicly railed against policies based on racial superiority as “the most flagrant violation of fundamental human decency”. He backed majority rule in then Rhodesia and took a hard-line stance against South Africa, backing sports boycotts against apartheid. He promoted the independence of Zimbabwe and campaigned for Australia to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Less idealistically, he accepted Suharto’s 1975 military incorporation of East Timor and in 1978 recognised the annexation, viewing the anti-communist strongman through his Cold War lens.

Fraser’s economic policies have been viewed by some commentators as a wasted opportunity. Falsely hailed as a Thatcherite or Reaganite, he was really a disciplinarian upholding the Australian tradition against the rising tide of pro-market reformers. He was the last Prime Minister before the age of globalisation forced Australia to break from its introspective economic past. John Howard has said:

Malcolm Fraser and Doug Anthony were people who acquired their political and economic experience at a time when the old paradigm worked, and understandably they didn’t think a change was necessary.

Malcolm Fraser’s separation from the Liberal Party is well known. He resigned from the party in 2009 upon the election of Tony Abbott as leader, bemoaning their rapacious economics and social conservatism.

In later life he took on a different role in Australian political discourse, most prominently as an outspoken advocate for asylum seekers. As late as last month, Malcolm Fraser was calling on Australia to end its strategic dependence on the United States, he was defending Gillian Triggs against attacks by the Abbott government and he was criticising both Liberal and Labor for their inhumane asylum seeker policies. In 2013 Malcolm Fraser publicly campaigned with South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

He used both traditional and social media to promote his message, and I urge members to stop by his Twitter feed to get a better sense of the man we are eulogising here today.

On behalf of the ACT Greens I would like to express my sincere condolences to his wife, Tamie, his four children, and his broader friends and family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.


The following petition was lodged for presentation, by Mr Doszpot, from 1,446 residents:

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