The Australian: Liberals thrive on fear, says Fraser [ 30nov05 ]

The Australian: Liberals thrive on fear, says Fraser [ 30nov05 ]: “Liberals thrive on fear, says Fraser
Cameron Stewart

THE Liberal Party has embraced fear by exploiting race and religion and abandoning the principles on which it was founded, former prime minister Malcolm Fraser said last night.

In a scathing attack on his former party, Mr Fraser accused the Liberals of trampling upon democracy in their haste to introduce sweeping anti-terror laws.

He said Australia had entered a ‘darker age’ in which the once-fundamental human rights of liberty and freedom were being seriously eroded by trumped-up fears of terrorism.

‘The departures from the principles underlining the (Menzies) Liberal Party are substantial and serious,’ Mr Fraser said in a speech on human rights at the University of Melbourne.

‘The party has become a party of fear and reaction. It is conservative, not liberal. It has not led in positive directions, it has allowed and, some would say, promoted race and religion to be part of today’s agenda. I find it unrecognisable as liberal.’

Mr Fraser said there were now ‘substantial’ grounds for him to resign from the party. But he said he believed he and others needed to do what they could to keep ‘a liberal flame alive’ during this ‘period of regression’.

He warned that the tough new anti-terror laws might be counter-productive because they could easily increase the ‘sense of grievance, of alienation’ felt by some in the community.

Mr Fraser was particularly critical of the sedition laws being debated in Canberra, saying they could lead to the arrest of people who were doing no more than being critical of the Government.

The former prime minister’s speech will only further alienate him from the federal Government, which has shunned him in recent years due to his criticism of its policies on immigration, race, Aborigines and terrorism.

Mr Fraser said that on the issue of terrorism, ‘fear and deception have become the order of the day’. He also accused the Government of failing to provide adequate reason for its anti-terror laws.”

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