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Hundreds gather to farewell former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Vale, Malcolm Fraser.

The 84-year old died last week after a brief illness.

Australia’s 22nd prime minister, Mr Fraser first entered Parliament in 1955 as its youngest MP and spent nearly 20 years as a backbencher and in the ministry.

Malcolm Fraser, 1930-2015.

He became opposition leader in 1975, facing off against Gough Whitlam before becoming prime minister in the wake of Mr Whitlam’s dismissal.

Despite his controversial rise to power, Mr Fraser went on to win the next three elections.

Related content: Tributes flow for Malcolm Fraser, 1930-2015.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has attended the service, along with former prime minister John Howard.

Among the absentees are Bob Hawke, Kevin Rudd and Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, who are all overseas in China.

A number of readings, speeches and musical performances were conducted by Mr Fraser’s family.

Many people turned out to farewell Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister.

His granddaughter, Hester, sung an emotional song of her own composition.

“You are not here for the universe to roam … but the magnanimity of your ideas will never die,” she sung.

Scots’ Church is Melbourne’s oldest Presbyterian Church.

Scot’s Church.

Members of the public were welcome to attend today’s service, which began at 11:00am (AEDT), but seating was limited due to the size of the church.

Prior to the service, dozens of members of the Vietnamese community gathered outside the church to pay their respects to the leader.

Many laid wreaths and carried signs that displayed the message “Farewell to our true champion of humanity: Malcolm Fraser”.

Members of the Vietnamese community displayed banners: “Farewell to our true champion of humanity: Malcolm Fraser”.

“We were refugees from Vietnam and my family arrived in Indonesia as refugees and thanks to Malcolm Fraser’s policy at the time we were welcomed to Australia as refugees in 1979,” Vietnamese community leader, Phuong Nguyen, said.

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“Later on, when I studied history at Melbourne University, I realised how significant it was.”

Mr Fraser was regarded as playing a significant role in the rise in Australia’s multiculturalism.

He also embraced Aboriginal land rights, led the Commonwealth push to end apartheid in South Africa and argued for an independent Zimbabwe.

In 1982, amid the backdrop of a looming recession, drought and social unrest, Mr Fraser called a snap election and lost to Labor’s Bob Hawke.

Malcolm Fraser served as Prime Minister from 1975 to 1983.

When reflecting on the life of Mr Fraser last week, Mr Abbott called him a “fierce Australian patriot”.

“The friendship he built in later life with Gough Whitlam spoke volumes about the character of both men at the centre of the crisis: in their own different ways, they were both fierce Australian patriots,” he said.

“Under Malcolm Fraser’s leadership, self-government was conferred on the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth Ombudsman was established and our first Freedom of Information laws were enacted.

“Under Malcolm Fraser’s leadership, Australia was an unwavering opponent of apartheid and after he left office, Malcolm Fraser continued to work for the end of apartheid.

“His subsequent appointment to roles with the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations reflected his high international standing.”

This article was originally published by the ABC and has been republished here with full permission.

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