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Malcolm Fraser, Randwick Racecourse
, 1975 (printed 2002)

by Roger Scott

gelatin silver photograph selenium toned (sheet: 30.3 cm x 40.5 cm)

Malcolm Fraser (1930-2015) was photographed by Roger Scott at a Liberal Party rally at Randwick racecourse, two weeks after the Dismissal. Fraser was standing on the flatbed of a semitrailer, addressing a crowd of some 20 000 supporters. Scott clambered onto the vehicle, and enraged by Fraser’s rhetoric, shouted an abusive phrase. The caretaker prime minister wheeled around and met the eye of Scott, who took the opportunity to fire off a definitive image of the heated era.

The son of a wealthy grazier, Fraser was famous for publicly declaring that ‘life is not meant to be easy’. Inevitably, the statement – made in the course of a speech in 1971 - was later ‘cherrypicked’ by his opponents on the left, public servants whose jobs had been slashed and the young unemployed. However, when the Frasers attended a dinner at the Lodge in 2001, honouring retiring Governor General Sir William Deane, journalist Alan Ramsey wrote that their presence signified Deane’s ‘immense regard for Malcolm’s 1970s legislative record, as Prime Minister, in Indigenous land rights, as well as Fraser's personal commitment for all of his public and private life to anti-racism, Aboriginal Reconciliation and minority rights’.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012
Accession number: 2012.198