John #MalcolmFraser AC 22nd Prime Minister of #auspol: @Jansant tribute

Wayne Jansson

Wayne Jansson

Chief reporter & photographer at No Fibs
Wayne Jansson is an Australian citizen journalist and photographer. He covered the seat of Indi during the 2013 federal election which saw Independent Cathy McGowan unseat Liberal Sophie Mirabella. His interests are politics and social justice.
Wayne Jansson

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Wayne Jansson
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Photo:

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Photo: Wayne Jansson.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (@MalcolmFraser12) has left the building, and it feels empty without him.

The man who had once torn Australia apart, became a voice of reason, decency and compassion in a sea of gutter level race fuelled political strategy.

A child of the squattocracy, that in the end, was the reasoned and vocal champion of progressive politics.

Fraser, over a few short years, became a much loved and respected member of the Twitter #auspol family, he didn’t use the hashtag very often, but we were always listening.

John Malcolm Fraser AC, 22nd Prime Minister of Australia, was a genuine beacon of humanity.

He was a fearless human rights warrior, always!

In that space alone, the loss is immeasurable.

No Fibs editor Margo Kingston (@margokingston1):

I was so upset by the 1975 coup that I closed my mind to Malcolm Fraser’s extraordinary achievements in Government for a progressive, environmentally responsible, transparent, open and empathetic Australia.

I began to reconsider his record many years ago when Fraser’s head of office of the status of women, Sarah Dowse, told me Fraser offered the first federal funding for women’s refuges on condition there was no publicity. Otherwise, he said, his party would not let him do it. My conversion crystallised when he gave a powerful speech in 2001 explaining why he’d changed his mind on an Australian bill of rights. http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/21852/20010921-0000/www.smh.com.au/news/webdiary/2000/08/25/FFX78LRU6QC.html

Looking back, his achievements in Government proved he shared Gough Whitlam’s social vision for Australia, a vision so many of my generation believe in and continue to fight for, despite the death of small-l liberalism in the Liberal Party. Land rights and reconciliation. Strong environment protection. Open Government whose decisions can be challenged by citizens. Celebration of difference and legal protection for minorities. And an Australia at the forefront in promoting human rights around the world.

Gough and Malcolm shared hard core beliefs to which they were faithful, and for which they were prepared to lead.

Gee I’ll miss his voice. And I’ll keep hoping Malcolm Turnbull, another true believer in a progressive, environmentally responsible social vision for Australia, will lead the Liberals, and Australia, towards the grand Whitlam-Fraser vision for us and our place in the world.

Julian Burnside (@JulianBurnside) on the passing of Fraser, so soon after Gough Whitlam:

Those who represent us in parliament today are midgets by comparison, and Australia is the poorer because of it.

Matthew Knott (@KnottMatthew): “Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died on Friday, was in the process of setting up a new political party”.

Troy Bramston (@TroyBramston): “Fraser told me he did not rule out rejoining the Liberal Party”.

A new round of history wars already? Both could be true, but neither fit with what I heard from Mr Fraser’s own mouth, or what I know of his recent involvement in politics (beyond commentary).

October, 2014, No Fibs ran a story about the creation of the new political party, Australian Progressives (@AusProgressive).

We can now reveal one of the “giants of public life” involved was, Malcolm Fraser.

Fraser acted as a facilitator between different groups of people who were looking to do the same thing, form a new broad-based progressive political party.

In late October, 2014, during a question and answer session at a Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (@ASRC1) event in Melbourne, Fraser said:

I’ve been talking to some people about the Labor Party and they’ve come to the view the Labor party is beyond reform. John Faulkner in Sydney has tried really hard and has been rolled absolutely. I’ve been trying to find the people to reform the Liberal party, but it would take 25 years, we haven’t got that long. Now the logic of that is key. A whole bunch of 30 to 40 year olds should get up and do something about it. It’s not a job for octogenarians……it’s a job for young people, it really is!

Listen to Malcolm Fraser call for a new political party.

Full speech from the event at bottom of page.

As Fraser was leaving the event and about to hop into his waiting car, I said to him:

A little birdie told me you acted as a facilitator in the formation of a new political party.

His face lit up with a huge smile as he replied:

Provocateur.

Malcolm Fraser posing for a selfie

Malcolm Fraser posing for a selfie as he left the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre event in October, 2014. Photo: Wayne Jansson

Tim Jones (@forthleft), a founding member of Australian Progressives:

My dabbling with politics has given me the great fortune to speak briefly with Malcolm Fraser and the shock of his passing has been substantial. This noble man was promoting the ‘greater good’ until the day he died, in an age where the obfuscation is de rigueur.

Fraser’s mark on Australia, and indeed the world, is large. If we could erase recent history, he would be one of the main reasons, if not the major reason, our country would still command a deep respect on human rights.

A true patriot who was defined by his love for all peoples.

Behind many of Fraser’s opinions, on a broad range of issues, was his desire that Australia be the very best it could be, ensuring a strong authorative and independent voice on the international stage to advance our national interests.

The polar opposite of jingoistic slogans preying on fear.

There are no words that can adequately describe the loss to our national political discourse with the passing of this truly great Australian.

My hope is Mr Fraser’s Twitter account, @MalcolmFraser12, remains online and exactly as it is today. A reference point, so future voters can recognise true political courage, conviction and leadership when they see it.

 

 


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Comments


  1. Thanks Wayne.
    I lived through the Fraser Prime Ministerial years. I took an iconic photo of the impromtu rally marching past the Sydney Town Hall on 11 November 1975 at 6.45pm. I attended some of the protests around that time. There is even a pic of 20 year old me at the ALP policy launch that year in the Sydney domain.

    I remember later picketing Public Service offices when the Commonwealth Employees Employment Provisions Act was passed. And somewhere in my record collection I have a single by Red Peril called ‘Give Fraser the Razor’.

    But of course Malcolm Fraser did carry on Whitlam’s work and institute the Northern Territory Land Rights Act. And do initial Great Barrier Reef marine park protection, and whale protection in Australian waters. His policy on accepting boatpeople from Indochina was humanitarian and non-partisan. He was outspoken on the international stage on humanitarian issues and against apartheid.

    Perhaps he gained a measure of wisdom as he aged and became a statesman, but I don’t think his politics changed that much. More that both the Liberal and Labor Party have moved further to the right and have got caught up in their own power processes. I am not surprised he favoured the formation of a new political party, the Australian Progressives.

    In the end I found myself appreciating his twitter posts, if not entirely agreeing with him. My rage against him from 1975 had transformed into a measure of respect.