Malcolm Fraser has left the Liberal Party, and poor Margaret Simons, who as the co-author of Fraser's political memoirs has known for four months but promised not to say anything -- which as a journalist must have really, really hurt -- is finally liberated.
Like many old enough to remember, I've got one of those sharp 'where were you when' memories of Fraser's spectacular catapult to the top of the Australian power tree on the day of the Dismissal. I'd just come out of the Adelaide U English 3 exam, during which I had concentrated excessively on Persuasion at the expense of Anna Karenina, and was being picked up outside Centennial Hall (now pulled down and replaced) in the Wayville Showgrounds, where university exams were held, by my dear friend J in her little blue Anglia, the dead spit of the one owned by the Weasley family except that it couldn't fly, though on occasion it certainly felt as though oh never mind. We drove away to the tune of the ABC fanfare for the midday news and then the sound of a shellshocked newsreader.
Twas a day of blues: my memory of Gough Whitlam's outraged and infinitely imitable voice saying 'Because nothing will save the Governor-General' is all tangled up with lines of powdery lavender-blue flowering jacaranda against the lacquered blue enamel of an Adelaide November sky.
We were all so outraged that none of us had a good word to say about Fraser, but I remember noticing even at the time, and certainly later, that he was consistently good on race and racism. His harshest criticism of John Howard was on the subject of boat people. And his resignation from the party now seems to have been triggered by Tony Abbott's bluster about closing the borders and so on. (Hello, Budge, Australia's an island. We don't have borders.)
How Fraser is feeling can only be imagined; apart from anything else, I bet he wouldn't talk about it. Imagine being 80 and deciding that an institution that has had your loyalty all your adult life is something to which you can no longer bear to belong.
In which the pond discovers Baxendale is quiet on oppression, and prattling Polonius feels oppressed ... - Others have observed the recent war going down amongst the more vicious and repetitive and simple-minded reptiles, as in Meade *here* ... *...Lisa Oldfie...
34 minutes ago