Consider Fraser’s book published in 2003 Common Ground: Issues that Should Bind and not Divide Us (Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin).
Fraser criticizes the Howard Government's policy of tight border controls against refugees and asylum seekers (p. 250). Fraser interprets popular support for Howard’s policies as evidence for his view that Australia's ethnic transformation had to be a top-down affair. He derogates democratic politics regarding immigration. Such sensitive policy is best left to elites, he implies.
"[A]ny of the political parties could have played politics with immigration policies [during Australia's post-WWII immigration program]. If Australians had been asked to vote on a major immigration program only seven years after the world Depression, when thousands of ex-servicemen were waiting to be demobilised, they would have voted against the program and Australia would have been the poorer. If one had asked the people of Melbourne whether they wanted Melbourne to become the largest Greek city outside of Greece, they would have said 'No' with a resounding majority. Now that it has happened, Melbourne is proud of the fact and Australia is much better off as a consequence of that migration."
Fraser argues that the same would have applied to Indo-Chinese immigration in the 1970s and 1980s. "But the political parties were united in the policy and Australians accepted the policy as right for the nation" (p. 250). That is not true. Australians have never been given the chance to vote for an established party that opposes mass Third World immigration. For the entire period of which Fraser speaks, from the 1940s until the 1980s, opinion polls consistently showed popular unease with non-British and then non-European immigration.
The scholarship of Mark Lopez confirms Fraser’s coldness towards Anglo Australians. (The Origins of Multiculturalism in Australian Politics 1945-1975. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000.) Following are some relevant facts documented by Lopez based on interviews with Fraser and other leading figures and archival research.
The public had no idea of Fraser's conversion to multiculturalism (in 1973), and he was widely viewed as one of the more conservative Liberal Party leaders. Fraser remarked two decades later, without remorse, “Anglo-Saxon Australia is dead. This isn’t the kind of society we are” (quoted by Lopez 2000, p. 440). This is a remarkably detached statement considering that Fraser was perceived to be of Anglo identity himself, that Anglo Australians constituted an overwhelming majority of the nation as late as 1970. Certainly in 1950 most Australians had a firm identity as a British nation. The Australian nation was founded and built by Anglo-Celts from the initial landing by Captain Arthur Phillip at Botany Bay in 1788, a century of exploring and settling an often harsh continent, through Federation in 1901, the First World War and Gallipoli, and the Second World War in the Pacific and North Africa. What is remarkable is the lack of regret from someone who grew up in that original nation and was one of its privileged sons. Fraser treats traditional Australia as if it were somehow improper, something needing correction. It is a decidedly superior position, and one taken towards his own people. That requires explanation.
One interesting feature of Fraser’s disparaging remarks about Anglo Australia in the late 1990s is his openness, in contrast to his previous reticence. Lopez points out that the multicultural movement had always been secretive, had always mistrusted the Australian people, had always relied on infiltrating committees and agencies to surreptitiously advance its policies. Lopez writes:
“The source of the shift towards multiculturalism in public policy was not parliamentarians, vulnerable at elections, but the influence exerted by multiculturalists from positions in the Immigration Advisory Council (IAC), the Migrant Task Force Committees, the Immigration Department’s Integration Branch, non-government organisations like ACOSS, or through lobbying relevant Government ministers. . . . The multiculturalists could potentially maintain their degree of influence as long as they maintained their strategic presence in these committees and agencies” (Lopez, Origins of Multiculturalism, p. 337).
This is further evidence, proof really, that the ethnic diversification of Australia was imposed from above, that it was not a popular throwing off of the country’s traditional identity. It was accompanied by hostility towards Australia as it had always been and how it had previously chosen to remain in its popular restrictive immigration policies, first legislated by state parliaments and after federation in 1901 in the first act of the Federal Parliament.
Salter on Fraser, Part One