Malcolm Fraser was Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, leading the nation from November 1975 to March 1983.
Entering politics aged just 25, he was the youngest member of the 22nd parliament. The Fraser Coalition government won office in 1975 with the largest landslide of any federal election.
As prime minister, Fraser was influential in changing Australian relations abroad, both within the Commonwealth and with the countries of East and Southeast Asia. He was an adamant opponent of apartheid and a strong supporter of reform in South Africa. He also played a prominent part in the Commonwealth’s efforts to establish an independent Zimbabwe. His government supported strong defence spending and reinforced Australia’s diplomatic and trade relations with the countries in our region, viewing defence and foreign policy as key means of promoting National Security of Australia.
In the years of the Fraser Government a significant piece of legislation for Indigenous people, the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976, was passed. The position of Commonwealth Ombudsman was established in 1977 and Australia’s first Freedom of Information law was enacted in 1981. The same year, the government passed the Human Rights Commission Act and established the Human Rights Commission.
In recognition of the legislative record of his government in Indigenous land rights, as well as his personal commitment for all of his public and private life to anti-racism, Aboriginal reconciliation and minority rights, Fraser was awarded Australia’s Human Rights Medal in 2000 for his contribution to the advancement of human rights in Australia and internationally. Fraser was a Member of the Inter-Action Council for Former Heads of Government.
An Oxford graduate and a grazier, Fraser, published his book Common Ground – Issues that should bind and not divide us – in 2002.
Mr Fraser died on the 20th March 2015.