Former PM Malcolm Fraser Dies
20 March 2015 at 11:30 am
Former Australian Prime Minister and champion of asylum seeker rights, Malcolm Fraser, died today at the age of 84.
Tributes started to flow in for the Liberal Prime Minister who later quit the party he lead from 1975 to 1983.
A spokesperson from Fraser’s office confirmed that he died following a brief illness.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“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.”
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) said that it was saddened by Fraser’s passing.
“Vale Malcolm Fraser. He was our champion at the ASRC, our country's collective memory of a more compassionate time towards refugees,” the ASRC said.
CEO and founder of the ASRC, Kon Karapanagiotidis, said he was also personally sad to hear of Fraser’s death.
“Our champion. Visionary. My hero. Reminded us of how great and compassionate political leaders can be.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Fraser had left an undeniable mark on Australian society.
“He immeasurably enriched Australia’s multicultural society, offering refuge to tens of thousands of vulnerable people driven from Vietnam by the horror of war,” Shorten said.
“He maintained the Whitlam Government’s commitment to the cause of reconciliation and recognising the land rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“In the long third act of his public life, Malcolm won many new admirers as a powerful voice for human rights and reconciliation and a deep thinker regarding Australia’s place in the world.”
John Malcolm Fraser controversially became caretaker Prime Minister after Gough Whitlam was dismissed by Governor General John Kerr in 1975.
He later won an election against Whitlam to hold on to the title.
In 2009 he quietly quit the Liberal Party following the election of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.
He said at the time that the party was “no longer a liberal party but a conservative party”.