Tributes flowed from all sides of politics on social media this morning after the death of Malcolm Fraser at age 84.
Mr Fraser became the nation’s 22nd Prime Minister in 1975 after the dismissal of Labor’s Gough Whitlam.
Mr Fraser will always be remembered for his role in the dismissal, but is his later activism and humanitarian work, notably for asylum seekers, has been widely recognised.
Politicians have paid tribute, with former PM Julia Gillard saying a chapter of political history had ended.
“With the loss of the great Gough Whitlam last year, the chapter in our nation’s history that included the controversy of the dismissal has closed,” Ms Gillard wrote on Facebook.
Former prime minister Paul Keating said it was a great loss to Australian politics.
“I always thought Malcolm would be around a lot longer. I must say, I wished he had been,” Mr Keating said.
“His public life also enshrined other important principles: no truck with race or colour and no tolerance for whispered notions of exclusivity tinged by race. These principles applied throughout his political life.”
Tony Abbott released a statement saying Mr Fraser “restored economically responsible government while recognising social change”.
“The friendship he built in later life with Gough Whitlam spoke volumes about the character of both men at the centre of the crisis; in their own different ways, they were both fierce Australian patriots,” he said.
Social media has been flooded with people extending their condolences.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd also expressed his condolences and posted a touching tribute on his website:
“Prime Minister Fraser will be remembered as a compassionate Australian, who cared for people at home or abroad, who had little or nothing to protect them,” he wrote. – Rebecca Hopper
Top photo from Jim’s Flickr photostream.