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Conservatives should remember Thatcher's 1979 call to Fraser

Abbott and Bishop should remember Thatcher's 1979 phone call to Fraser

April 11, 2013

"Conservative politicians like David Cameron, John Howard, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop may well be gushing with praise following the death of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but they suffer from selective amnesia and keep many aspects deeply buried for political reasons - including Thatcher's blatant refugee racism," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said today.

"Julie Bishop has been prancing around, trying to score political points against Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, who belled the cat on Thatcher's racism on ABC Television earlier this week, but she should remember Thatcher's 1979 phone call to former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, suggesting the UK and Australia act collectively to buy a remote island in the Indonesian archipelago to lock up and store away all the Vietnamese refugees who were fleeing following the fall of Saigon," spokesman Jack H Smit said.


"Thatcher's notion of supreme "First World arrogance" where she proposed to approach a "Third World country" - Indonesia as a developing country was amongst the countries labelled this way in those days - and seeks to do its dirty bidding in exchange for enormous amounts of cash shows how she carried the British colonial arrogance in her time as Prime Minister, and Thatcher's proposal dovetailed almost perfectly with prevailing attitudes within Australia's Immigration Department - a Department labelled by Fraser as "arch-racist" in his Memoirs."

"John Howard as Prime Minister showed himself to be a true follower of Margaret Thatcher when he and his Immigration Minister Phil Ruddock first proposed remote and offshore refugee internment in Australia's "own colonies" of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Thatcher's racism and colonial arrogance has cast long shadows, and it has found a keen following amongst Australian conservatives. Thatcher may well have given new invigoration of confidence to politicians, but only to Conservatives in Britain and other Commonwealth countries."


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