Malcolm Fraser's legacy

23 MARCH 2014

"The last of the true Liberal leaders," is how CSU politics lecturer, Dr Troy Whitford has described former Australian Prime Minister Mr Malcolm Fraser AC who has died aged 84.

"The last of the true Liberal leaders," is how Charles Sturt University (CSU) politics lecturer, Dr Troy Whitford has described former Australian Prime Minister Mr Malcolm Fraser AC who has died aged 84.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm FraserA lecturer in politics and history at CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Wagga Wagga, Dr Whitford has paid tribute to Mr Fraser who was Prime Minister from 1975 to 1983.

"Malcolm Fraser understood that the Liberal Party was just that, a liberal party with a broad cross section of members and a wide ranging number of views," he said. "It was not the neo-conservative party we know today."

Dr Whitford said Mr Fraser's rural background made him more accessible to the National Party, resulting in a strong, harmonious coalition.

"In the 1977 election, the Liberal Party won a majority in its own right and didn't need the support of the National Country Party to govern but Fraser maintained the formal coalition," said Dr Whitford.

Reflecting on the 1975 dismissal of Gough Whitlam, Dr Whitford said, "Fraser went on to win a land-slide victory in the subsequent election but I think his political confidence was shaken by his role in the dismissal.  I don't think he ever felt confident as a leader having obtained office in that way."

Dr Whitford has praised Mr Fraser's contribution to multiculturalism in Australia and his commitment to social and humanitarian causes.

"Fraser's work for CARE Australia and the way he managed the large influx of refugees into Australia after the Vietnam and Cambodian civil wars is how we should remember him," he said. 

"He was able to accommodate far more refugees than Australia does now with without politicking over the issue, there's a lesson there for the political leaders of today."

Media contact:

Ms Emily Malone, (02) 6933 2207


Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Troy Whitford who is based at CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Wagga Wagga.

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