Ok, the post title is snarky, but Fraser does seem to be getting his name in lights a bit lately [warning: there is a video that starts 5 seconds after you load the linked site].
As well as his resignation from the Liberal Party, he was on Q&A on Monday, for which there is a transcript here. I had it on in the background while I did some work, so I didn’t catch every word. But this comment of Fraser’s made me perk my ears up (my emphasis):
MALCOLM FRASER: [partial answer to question about how to balance budget concerns and health expenses] I think euthanasia starts to be a real questions because…
TONY JONES: Is it a real question for you? Have you thought about it? Have you got a set position on it?
MALCOLM FRASER: Well, I’ve thought about circumstances. I think any person does at some stage in their lives. You know, to be plugged in and kept alive by machines, I think would be unconscionable, you know, if your brain is dead or whatever. But this has happened to some people. But even if it’s not, if you’ve got no quality of life, keeping you alive is enormously expensive. You’re never going to get better. Maybe you’re on your back and you can’t move. Do you really want to continue that kind of existence?
TONY JONES: So do you…
MARCIA LANGTON: But what if you’re in the position where you’re incapable at that point of indicating…
MALCOLM FRASER: Can’t make a decision.
MARCIA LANGTON: …you know, that it’s okay for the doctors to unplug me now and, you know, so what do you do? So, you know, I think what we have to do, because we have an aging population, is actually face this as an ethical question. And one of the things that has occurred to me, not that I’m intending anytime soon to do… [that's what the transcript says - I heard it as "to die"]
MALCOLM FRASER: Nor am I.
So, basically we have Fraser saying: if you’re not brain dead (ie the “even if it’s not” part), but you have no quality of life, it would be better to die. However, he acknowledges that he, himself, would prefer to live than die (at the end of the quote I’ve extracted).
Which is it, Mal? Live or die?
I’ve made it clear before that my views on the euthanasia debate are complex. But this is quite simple: while I accept that there might be some people who, when actually in the position of being incapacitated but conscious/aware may make a choice to die rather than to continue living, it is absolutely inappropriate to make a blanket statement that everyone would and should make that choice when in that position. Especially since that is clearly untrue.
Anyway. I’ve always respected the fact that Fraser spoke out against some of Howard’s more awful policies (most notably, those concerning refugees), but he’s always been a bit problematic, too. Some of the other things he said on Q&A on Monday confirmed that.
And don’t count me as excited that he’s quit the Liberal Party because it’s now more of a conservative party. As far as I’m aware, the Liberal Party has always been pretty conservative. I don’t disagree that Howard was more conservative than Fraser, but surely Howard was no more conservative than Menzies!