Australia’s former conservative prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died today aged 84, was seen as a voice for human rights who oversaw an upsurge in immigration from Asia.
A sharp intellect and prolific tweeter whose last comments related to the role of China, Israeli politics and the cricket World Cup among other issues, Fraser came to power in the tumultuous events of 1975.
He became caretaker prime minister after the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, governor-general Sir John Kerr, dismissed the previous Labor government in Australia’s greatest constitutional crisis.
But he went on to win the largest landslide of any national election in the country a month later, and remained in office until 1983.
“Those who recall the manner of his election discouragingly should remember Malcolm as a liberal on issues of race and human rights,” said senior Liberal backbencher Philip Ruddock.
An Oxford graduate and grazier, John Malcolm Fraser became a member of federal parliament in 1955 when, as a 25-year-old, he was the youngest MP in Canberra that year.
By 1966, he was a minister, and by early 1975 was leader of the opposition.
In government, Fraser sought to reduce spending, streamline the public service and provide responsible fiscal management.