Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:44 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:44 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Fraser responds


Sam Roggeveen


6 July 2009 10:34

Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister, 1975-1983) responds to criticisms made on The Interpreter of his recent opinion piece in The Age. Read those criticisms to get the context of Mr Fraser's remarks:

Major General Molan (retired) and Sam Roggeveen posted a comment on my article concerning the Defence White Paper.

Let me make a couple of points. 

 In America there is a vigorous debate about future policy. Here, when the relationship with America is in any sense questioned, some respond by saying: 'Oh, you are anti-American are you?' That is not a response, it is an attempt to drive out argument and to drive out discussion. We should put such clichés aside.

The comment about the word 'only' seemed to me totally trivial. The comment about Japan was misinformed. Both respondents forget that this Defence White Paper was once more, in Cold War terms, doing what they thought we ought to do to win American support and to earn support of America’s extended nuclear deterrent. Our own experience in our part of the world suggests that that is a dangerous policy.

President Obama is talking about the abolition of nuclear weapons; he is negotiating, hopefully, significant cuts in both Russian and American missile stocks. Prime Minister Rudd has also established an International Commission designed to point the way to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Senior people in the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Norway, Canada and Australia, are all urging the importance of working towards zero nuclear weapons. They are underlining the irrelevance of nuclear weapons to the defence of any country. 

The Defence White Paper is at odds with the stated policy intentions both of the Rudd Government and with President Obama’s objectives concerning nuclear weapons.

I would hope the Lowy Institute will rethink its position.