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March 20th 2015 print

Roger Franklin

The Apotheosis of Malcolm Fraser

As the Romans liked to say, De mortuis nil nisi bene -- speak no ill of the dead. On the steps of our twenty-second prime minister's mausoleum, now being washed with the gushing left's telegenic tears, some will find such restraint presents a very great challenge indeed

malcolm fraser halo 3He was at the end a sad and silly old man — well-meaning, to bestow doubt’s benefit, but howling on the heath of his final years’ irrelevance all the same. Malcolm Fraser, that contradiction in terms, dead at 84.

He was the imperious upholder of tradition who rejected convention and blocked Supply, the leader of a party allegedly committed to small government who declined to cut taxes. The very devil to those who took to the streets on November 11, 1975, he will be mourned by many of those same people, who might once have delighted in burning him at the stake. To think that the likes of Julian Burnside will be shedding telegenic tears as his casket passes by, well, if Fraser achieved nothing else, let Australia’s twenty-second prime minister serve as a reminder that life can take some very queer twists indeed.

Blubbered Petro Georgiou, once the Member for Multiculturalism and not much else, to the ABC’s Jon Faine within minutes of the announcement, Malcolm Fraser “carved his own path.” Him and Ludwig Leichardt, so take that and all the other graveside platitudes we’ll hear over the days to come for the precious little they are worth.  De mortuis nil nisi bene, as the Romans liked to say, speak no ill of the dead. In the case of this headstone it will be a greater challenge than most.malcolm at the pearly gate

As to the inevitable, effusive gushing of the sodden-hanky left, well that as it should be. Like the reformed tosspots trotted out by the temperance preachers of old, Fraser was their validation that the benighted might be led unto the light. Once, so very long ago, a young Defence Minister was set upon by protesters infuriated by a stone-faced insistence that Australia belonged in Vietnam. Now they and many of their children will hail his bravery and candour in recently asserting that ANZUS is gross liability and the US never to be trusted.

In old folks’ homes come the next election, those of the same persuasion may well be volunteering to help the doddery ancients fill out their postal votes, but what Fraser surrendered was rather more sad than the borrowing of a senior’s ballot and franchise. A few years back, Fraser advertised for a paid companion to take him fishing, such was the extent to which his switch of loyalties had robbed him of real friends. The left was more economical. It made him their buddy for nothing, save the cost of an old man’s dignity and the frequent loan of a pulpit he believed might restore it.

Below, a random selection of Fraser’s presence in the pages of Quadrant and elsewhere. As mush runs a gusher, it might be handy to bookmark this page in order to be reminded that the haloes turned and fitted by stage-managers of partisan public spectacles are often made of cheapest, tarnished tin.

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Malcolm Fraser’s Dangerous Dotage

Should his unhinged insights on trade and the US alliance be heeded, Australia would go down in history as a tragic and unforgettable sequel to that other ornament to Malcolm’s brilliant career, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

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Shame, Fraser, Shame!

Is it relevance-deprivation syndrome that inspires those frequent pronouncements on a world which has moved quite clearly beyond Malcolm Fraser’s ken? Geriatric perversity, a compulsion to betray … who really knows? One thing, however, is certain: his opposition to Anzus is a new and contemptible low

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Malcolm Fraser’s Noisy Irrelevance

Every leftists’ favourite conservative ex-PM is at again, using the Joint Strike Fighter to score a few precious headlines with his demand that Australia abrogate its ANZUS obligations. Is there nothing this pathetic figure will not say to illustrate his remove from reality?

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Malcolm Fraser’s Biography — The Fallibility of Memory

The former prime minister conceded that his memory had grown somewhat clouded and urged readers of his biography to remember that it was author Margaret Simons’ responsibility to get the facts squared away. Gerard Henderson maintains it was a duty she neglected

Comments [3]

  1. en passant says:

    Curiously, on hearing of Mal’s demise I sent off an email to a limited distribution list pointing out that he had lived a better life than he gifted to Rhodesians of both shades of black and white, the East Timorese and of course his fellow Australians now living in fear thanks to the results of his M.E. immigration policies of the 1980′s.
    It is of course regarded as bad form to ‘speak ill of the dead’, but if you do not, then you lack values and principles. Decades ago I was asked to give a eulogy for someone for whom I had no respect. It took ten seconds to compose my reply “No. If I said nice things about him, what would be left to be said about genuinely good people?” I noted at the end of my email about Fraser today: “Let’s remember the whole man and not just cherry-pick and eulogise the ‘nice’ bits. He deserves better than that.” It is because of my belief in honesty even unto death and beyond that I have taken the precaution of pre-writing my own eulogy …”

  2. Jody says:

    He was one of those ubiquitous individuals in western society who can afford the luxury of moral vanity because they live an otherwise comfortable existence, remote from the vagaries of the rest of us city-bound individuals. You know, we who understand what it’s like to have a beer can hurled at us at the cricket or having to stand up in crowded, graffiti-covered public transport. How easy it is to pontificate from a safe distance. So easy to be generous. Well there’s an old saying, “charity begins at home”.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    Fraser was a sad disappointment after having won in a landslide in the ’75 double dissolution election and then failed to undo the miriad socialist actions of the Whitlam government, such as socialist health care, free tertiary education, the socialisation of indigenous affairs which were far better handled by church missions before, etc. etc. He was always a small “L” liberal, a closet socialist at heart, just as the current Malcom in the ranks. God help us if the latter ever gets into power.