news

Tributes flow for former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser: 1930-2015.

Vale, Malcolm Fraser.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has passed away, aged 84.

Malcolm Fraser.

In a statement his family said:

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015.

“We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time.”

Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister is survived by his wife, Tamie, and four children.

Mr Fraser was Prime Minister between 1975-1983.

Fraser was Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, between 1975-1983.

While he entered politics at the age of 24 as a member of the Coalition, he departed from the Liberal party in 2010, stating it had shifted too far to the right.

He came into the top job after the infamous removal of Gough Whitlam, and led the Liberal Party to victory in the 1975 election. He was succeeded by Bob Hawke in 1983.

Mr Fraser was an advocate for human rights and gender equality, tweeting about closing the gender pay gap earlier this month.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was active on Twitter even two days ago.

Tributes have flowed from the public and members of the government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has released a statement recognising Mr Fraser’s economic achievements and his revolutionary human rights work.

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.

He had a deep interest in the advancement of indigenous people.

He banned sand mining on Fraser Island. As well, the first Australian sites were placed on the World Heritage List and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was declared.

He welcomed the re-settlement of tens of thousands of Vietnamese people in Australia who have subsequently added a rich, new dimension to our national life.

He was rightly proud of his government. As he said when he conceded defeat: Australia is handed over… in as good a condition or better condition than any other Western country in the world.

Prime Minister Abbott declared flags will be lowered to half mast today as the nation mourns his passing.

To media, Tony Abbott said Malcolm Fraser “deserves the respect of all Australian Liberals.”

“I always appreciated his wisdom and insights of experience,” he said.

Malcolm Fraser far left, with his successors at Gough Whitlam’s funeral last year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Fraser’s passing, combined with that of the late Gough Whitlam, was the “end of a political era.”

She said although they didn’t always agree, Mr Fraser contributed greatly to Australian politics, and she often spoke with him about foreign policy.

People of both sides of politics are expressing their admiration for the late leader.

Greens member, Sarah Hanson Young praised Malcolm Fraser’s commitment to human rights.

“We’ve lost a great leader today,” she told ABC News.

“I have a great deal of affection for Malcolm Fraser. He was a mentor of mine and a good friend.”

Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard has also addressed the media, saying Fraser showed extraordinary strength in holding the Coalition together in 1975.

“Anybody who achieves what Malcolm Fraser achieved in his life deserves respect as a quite extraordinary Australian.” he said.

More to come.

00:00 / ???