I am saddened to hear the news of Malcolm Fraser’s passing. I had the privilege of knowing him both as a former Prime Minister and a local constituent. We worked together on various matters and he was unfailingly decent and gracious in all of our meetings.
Malcolm was a man of deep courage, conviction and compassion. At a time of great instability and uncertainty, he stepped forward to lead Australia.
A testament to his success as a leader is the fact that he won three federal elections – the 1975 win being the largest of any federal election.
And his leadership on the environment left a lasting legacy: he established Kakadu National Park and oversaw the inscription of the Great Barrier Reef on to the World Heritage List. He also brought to an end the practice of whaling in Australia with the enactment of the Whale Protection Act.
In the area of human rights, Malcolm was uncompromising. He championed Aboriginal land rights and established the Human Rights Commission. He also oversaw the enactment of Australia’s first Freedom of Information Act.
And internationally, he was a leader in the signing of the Gleneagles Agreement, which sought to end racial discrimination in sport.
Malcolm’s service to the community did not end with his retirement from politics in 1983. His 15 years as chair of humanitarian aid and development organisation CARE Australia – including a five-year stint as President of CARE International – is a measure of his compassionate and humane approach to the world.
On behalf of the local community, I pass on our condolences to Malcolm’s wife Tamie, their children and their grandchildren.
He was a giant of Australian politics and passionate in his stance for the environment and against racism. Above all else, he was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather.