Last night I saw the Right Hon Malcolm Fraser speaking at the ANU about his new book, Dangerous Allies, about the US influence in Australia. He described the current diplomatic core and bureaucracy as having been “duchessed” by the US, for want of a better word he said, but I enjoyed this turn of phrase. Later I spoke to him as he signed a copy of his book for me, which I have bought as a present for someone, and forgot to ask anything interesting, although I have thought of lots of things I could have asked him since the opportunity has passed.
I dimly remember Fraser appearing the television as Prime Minister when I was about 4, and dad pointing him out to me – it was probably in the 1983 election period when he was up against Hawke. It was one of the first exposures i had to the idea of who was “in charge” – I have since had similar conversations with my own son about who is “in charge” of everything, he also seemed to need to get that sorted out in his mind remarkably early on.
I remember then the rectangular jowls and comb-over, the greyish suit in washed out television colours, the slightly menacing smell of power. It is an image which came to represent the look and feel of Australia in the late 70’s to me, just as much as does a metallic hazel brown holden HZ with hot lino seats or an orange sunnyboy ice block sticky and dribbling through the bottom of a schoolbag.
Nowdays Fraser is an energised and ‘ancient’ (by his own description) whipper snapper, forthright and jovial with a liquid baritone, long grown out of his younger callow prime ministerial years. He was questioned closely by Dr John Blaxland from the ANU who challenges the logic of ending the US alliance. Later when he was signing my book and i mentioned that i was an avid twitter follower of his, Fraser tried to tell me something about Blaxland and twitter, but i’m afraid i didn’t understand what he was getting at.
I have just discovered Loomio, although my initial excitement has slightly diminished as i realise it has been there for a year without me knowing it and without the world being revolutionised by it already… but it is good to see there are so many people working in this space, inventing tools. Other tools are Humanity Online and Democracy OS – although i haven’t found these so easy to plug in and go with yet. Dr Roslyn Fuller has written a great article about open democracy which gives airing to all my inarticulately expressed ideas made on this site and elsewhere regarding open or liquid democracy, and she has the same enthusiasm and optomism as i have for the inevitable changes OD will make to society.
In other news, the new BJM album Revelation is fuzzing me out right now.