Conservatives Divided: Defending Rhodesia Against Malcolm Fraser 1976-1978

Alexander Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Understanding the conflict between pro‐ and anti‐Rhodesian government parliamentarians is the only way to understand how and why Australia struggled to formulate a coherent Rhodesia policy. It reveals the extent to which Malcolm Fraser had to struggle against his own party in this matter and adds needed nuance to this period. Fraser's opinion that Rhodesia was a racist and immoral project caused a schism in the Coalition parties. Despite Fraser's open antipathy towards Rhodesia, Rhodesia's interests in Australia were largely safeguarded. This reflects the reality that the Liberal and National Country Parties contained sizeable blocs of parliamentarians who openly and publicly saw Rhodesia as a fraternal country, not a dangerous pariah. They did not hold these beliefs passively and actively sought to resist any moves made by Fraser to damage Rhodesia and its interests. By following the development of Fraser's Rhodesia policy in the late 1970s the power of Rhodesia's allies in the Australian parliament becomes clear. Opposing Rhodesia was touted by Fraser as one of the greatest achievements of his government, yet the issue was divisive and caused bitter infighting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)503-521
    JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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