Malcolm Fraser I knew well, he was basically a shy bushie and certainly no redneck determined to trash Constitutional precedents. He more than anyone realised at the time that Whitlam, one way or another, should go with all but the hard Left at Fairfax and the ABC expressing relief at the dismissal. 

I was working for the Sydney Morning Herald at the time and witnessed the tears of anguish, the utter despair, that engulfed the entire building. 

After the dismissal and his subsequent election to Office, big Mal changed noticeably, he became almost reclusive, doubting his judgment while hiding a lost agenda. 

Many castigate him for his inaction in Office, his failure to embrace his clear mandate, and that criticism is well deserved. The turmoil that went with everything Whitlam suddenly became introspective in the Liberal camp. 

It was hushed with uneasy reflections on what had just happened but the doubts were never to be publically expressed.

Historians were already writing into history a one-sided account of a crucifixion rather than a dismissal. 

How many times did Mal reflect on his prior discussions with Chief Justice, Sir Garfield Barwick and his advice to Sir John Kerr on whether an intended dismissal was Constitutional? 

How often did he reflect on his discussions with Sir John Kerr himself? 

Whitlam felt safe, Kerr was his own appointment, what was about to happen was unthinkable in Whitlam’s mind, he was certain that, given time, Fraser would have to back down and pass those supply Bills. 

And who knows, given time, Whitlam may have been proven right.

Whitlam’s bitterness never subsided, Fraser’s anguish also lived on, and it’s hard to tell who suffered most.

Fraser’s subsequent shift to the Left was predictable, psychologically. He was to be remembered for all the wrong things and Whitlam for all the right things, at least in a Constitutional sense. 

There was a reason for Fraser’s torpidity in Office. He had forced the gates of the palace but was reluctant to participate in the spoils. Something felt wrong. 

Had he put Barwick and Kerr in impossible positions? Was the remainder of Kerr’s life to be lived in a bottle of alcohol hiding the pain of endless revilement and public abuse? “Was that as a result of my personal ambition?” Fraser must have asked himself.

Was it worth taking the nation to a such a divisive Constitutional precipice in order to kill Gough prematurely, after all he was going to be slaughtered at the next election anyway? No, it wasn’t really worth it, and Fraser belatedly realised that.

I firmly believe Fraser would have been a different Prime Minister had it not been for the dismissal.

I broached the subject with him at a country function once, where both bush toilets were full, we were both pissing on the same rose bush and his reticence to discuss the subject roared loudly. 

It was clear Fraser’s remorse had eclipsed Whitlam’s bitterness.

Whitlam’s legacy will ring far louder than Fraser’s and he knows that. If he had his time over again I firmly believe he would pass supply.

So next time you see him paying penance and leaning unbelievably Left, cut him a little slack… he is a good, if flawed, man and there are reasons for everything in politics. 

What appears right at the time, history will often prove wrong.

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JayGee
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JayGee

Sir John Kerr was put into power by the Labor clowns. When Fraser stopped supply Sir John did the only thing he could. Neither Whitlam nor Fraser were going to back down so Sir John ordered an election and Whitlam was unceremoniously thrown out on his evil fat arse. Whitlam was a nasty evil person who should have been held responsible for his stuff ups. Unfortunately no politician has ever been held accountable for their actions.

Bargeass
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Bargeass

Nailed it Noosa Duck I also am a Baby Boomer and I lived through the havoc he created I hated him for what he did and felt sick to the stomach when his left supporters hailed the death of Margaret Thatcher, a person of far greater stature, will and integrity than the whimpering union puppet Whitlam. If Australia loved Whitlam why was he crushed at the elections following his dismissal??

NoosaDuck
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NoosaDuck

Totally agree, I am a baby boomer and I can tell you that I am confident….I am highly confident I hated Whitlam’s guts until the day he died (I am confident that it was a Tuesday) for what he did to this country…
I do not think that the “baby Boomer Generation” Loved Whitlam as much as Sheridan may think….otherwise an excellent piece…..

GeorgeofMagpie
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GeorgeofMagpie

He can’t H.. He’s got NFI

Matt12
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Matt12

Do these idiots actually drive in those things, where’s health and safety

Matt12
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Matt12

Good show, they’ll get a good ROI on that.

bobbyfoo
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bobbyfoo

“Acid Tongue Olive” at her supercilious best today, fed crap by Tantrum. Tantrum cant stand Shorten’s bipartism on security.Sending her more bonkers every day. Robb did sleazy like a cooked chook today !

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