Chapter 1: Malcolm Fraser
The following text is part of a short biographical essay written by journalist and author Dr Margaret Simons. Use the navigation bar or the 'Next' and 'Previous' links below to view other parts of the essay. Chapter 1 comprises the full essay.
With his work on South Africa completed, in 1987 Malcolm Fraser began a fresh career as founding Chairman of CARE Australia – the Australian arm of the international aid agency CARE International. He was to be Chair of CARE Australia from 1987 to 2002 – almost twice as long as he had been Prime Minister. For five of these years, between 1990 and 1995, he was also President of CARE International. CARE gave him 'another life's work'.34
CARE Australia developed a particular reputation under Fraser for responding to emergencies – a very different kind of operation from the long-term developmental work for which CARE had been known. Fraser toured the CARE operations in the world's trouble spots frequently, and became closely involved in the sometimes gritty and acrimonious politics of international aid. His youngest daughter, Phoebe, became a CARE worker, and the father and daughter team became the faces of the organisation's fundraising effort. Under Fraser, CARE Australia achieved rapid growth, quickly becoming one of Australia's leading aid agencies responding to crises in Africa, Pakistan and Europe.
One of Fraser's particular contributions was in 1999, following the capture of one Yugoslav and two Australian aid workers in Yugoslavia. They were accused of being spies. Fraser was appointed as the Australian Government's special envoy. Over five extraordinary months in which he made copious use of his contacts with foreign heads of government, as well as trawling the darker side of the mafia-style network of state-sanctioned criminals that surrounded the Slobodan Miloševic regime, Fraser successfully negotiated the men's release.
34 Malcolm Fraser, Speech to CARE gala dinner, Melbourne, 2 May 2002, unimelb.edu.au/malcolmfraser/speeches/nonparliamentary/caregaladinner.html, accessed 22 May 2012.