I found the former Prime Minister was a difficult man.
Now, don’t get me wrong, because I have enormous respect for the office of Prime Minister and as a consequence, a great respect for Mr Fraser, but as a radio host, I found him painful.
I interviewed him on a number of occasions…..perhaps 3 or 4 and I didn’t enjoy any of them. I guess that was in part because I was in awe of the man, but I think it was mainly because of his aloofness.
He was a complex character. I couldn’t find even the hint of a sense of humour.
He was very wordy.. He entered interviews with a set goal for him to achieve and he would achieve that goal by hook or by crook.
If you tried to blow him off course and to talk about things that he deemed to be unimportant he just refused to play the game. He was difficult to interview was Malcolm Fraser.
And the fascinating thing about talking to Malcolm Fraser is that…..look…I’m quite a chatty interviewer. I tend to treat radio interviews like conversations between two people that are being overheard by thousands. I tend to use first names. During interviews with the current Prime Minister, I tend to call him ‘Tony’ at some stage. When I speak with former Prime Minister John Howard, I tend to call him John. Now, I don’t know if that’s appropriate or not, that’s just how I do things.
I could never call Mr Fraser ‘Malcolm.’
Couldn’t do it.
I guess that’s an indication of the respect that I have for him.
Today we remember the great Malcolm Fraser.
What anecdotes do you have to share ?
John Mackay was working in PM and C when Whitlam was dismissed. He told me this morning that he ‘hated’ Fraser then. Why ? Because he was on the ‘Gough train’ and like many he blamed Fraser for the way that it all ended.
He said, ‘It’s taken me nearly 40 years to come around, but I warmed to him eventually.’