The news of his passing is sad for many Australians but particularly for the communities in his former home of Western Victoria, where he was more than a Prime Minister and a much-admired local member.
First elected in 1955, Malcolm Fraser served the electorate of Wannon for nearly three decades, having first been elected at the age of 25.
His family farm Nareen Station in Western Victoria gave him a great appreciation and understanding for regional and rural life in Australia and the role of agriculture in our country’s economy.
Malcolm Fraser served as both the Leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister from 1975-1983. In this time he steered Australia through a turbulent global economy, providing a new period of stability.
Fraser’s time in office has left a lasting legacy in its contribution to a modern Australia.
On winning government in 1975, Fraser set about rebuilding the country’s finances.
His contribution was marked by his continued support for a multicultural society, the conservation of our natural heritage and the liberalisation of government.
Fraser established the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs along with SBS and saw the successful settlement of over 56,000 Vietnamese.
Under Fraser, Australia saw the creation of Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Fraser’s Prime Ministership also saw the creation of the Australian Federal Police, the formation of the office of Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Human Rights Commission, Aboriginal Land Rights in the Northern Territory and the introduction of Australia’s freedom of information laws.
It would now be impossible to imagine our democracy without these institutions.
Having served as Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser returned to Nareen Station, and remained an active and respected member of the community until he sold the property in 1997.
My thoughts are with Malcolm’s wife, Tamie, and his family.