A foreign policy realist and dissenterMalcolm Fraser 1930-2015: full coverage
Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died on Friday, was in the process of setting up a new political party that would have advocated scaling back Australia’s military ties to the United States.
Mr Fraser, who led the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983, quit the party in 2009, shortly after Tony Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as leader. He campaigned for Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young at the last election because of her stance on asylum seekers.
With an election due in mid to late 2016, Mr Fraser’s new party could have potentially run candidates at the next election.
Mr Fraser, who died aged 84, would not have led the party but would have driven its policy agenda. Fairfax Media understands Mr Fraser had developed a written draft policy platform for the party that included: ending Australia’s close military alliance with the United Statesa closer relationship with South-East Asian nationsending the offshore processing of asylum seekersstronger anti-corruption and transparency lawstighter regulation of the sale of arable land
Mr Fraser discussed the party with confidants late last year.
In his last book, Dangerous Allies, published last year, Mr Fraser argued that Australia should become a “strategically independent country” and that the ANZUS Treaty with the United States was possibly the biggest threat to Australia’s security.
“If a war between China and the United States were to occur with a continuation of current policies, it would be very hard, if not impossible, for Australia to become involved,” he wrote.
Mr Fraser advocated closing down the US military base in Darwin and the Pine Gap communications facility
Mr Fraser had been a staunch defender of the US alliance during the Cold War but changed his view radically in his later years.
Mr Fraser was also deeply unhappy with the tough asylum-seeker policies of both major parties, including the use of mandatory detention and the offshore processing of asylum seekers.
Last year Mr Fraser tweeted in support of the creation of a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
As prime minister, Mr Fraser introduced several measures to increase transparency of government decision making. These included the creation of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 1977 to handle complaints about government agencies. He also introduced Australia’s first freedom of information laws and created the Australian Human Rights Commission.
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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.