26 March 2012

Former Prime Minister blasts politicians over Australian immigration row

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Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, who governed Australia between 1975 and 1983, has criticised his present day equivalents, claiming they are taking the nation backwards on several matters including Australian immigration.

Australian immigration

Malcolm Fraser, now 81, served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Australian from 1975 to 1983, winning three elections.

According to Mr Fraser, the ongoing Australian immigration row is damaging the country's international standing and politicians are more concerned with attacking each other than coming to a solution.

"Both major political parties are rattling around at the bottom of the barrel trying to find something derogatory they can say about the other party," said Mr Fraser.

"I believe at the moment they would use any issue if they think there's a vote in it."

Mr Fraser, himself a Liberal Party politician, said the problems could be traced back to fellow Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, who Mr Fraser said used asylum seekers arriving by boat as a means to gain political credibility.

He said Mr Howard's efforts had meant many Australians now have a 'totally toxic and false view' of asylum seekers.

"At heart, I don't believe the great majority of Australians are racist, but the government has behaved as though we are."

Mr Fraser said Australia's international reputation was being damaged by the continuing fight between parties and, with little hope for a solution in sight, said he would like to see future politicians of a different mould than the current crop of career politicians.

"I would like to see in the Parliament people who have achieved something in their own right before they become members of Parliament. So if it doesn't work out, if they have a serious issue of conscience, they are prepared to support their conscience and, if necessary, walk away from it all."

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