It is with deep sadness Burnet Institute acknowledges the passing of the Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser AC.
The former Prime Minister and a Burnet Institute Patron since 2004, died peacefully earlier today after a brief illness, aged 84.
Mr Fraser was a much loved and committed Patron of the Burnet Institute.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC said Mr Fraser had a passion for the Institute that transcended his appointment as a Patron.
“He assiduously attended Institute AGMs, always contributed to whatever we asked of him and he regularly corresponded with me, always saying how much he delighted in our work,” Professor Crabb said.
“In these ways he passed on considerable insight, thoughts and best wishes to this place. He loved what we did.”
As Liberal Party leader, Mr Fraser became Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister at the 1975 Federal election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government by Governor General Sir John Kerr.
He was succeeded by Labor’s Bob Hawke in 1983.
“He was a towering figure in Australian history, literally and metaphorically,” Professor Crabb said.
“While he was controversial on some fronts, few questioned his deep humanitarian principles and extraordinary contribution in that regard.
“His attitude and policy to refugee intake and immigration in general was a great example of this. That alone is a great legacy of his leadership. It enriched this country.”
Mr Fraser devoted much of his life thereafter to international affairs, social justice and human rights, with a particular focus on Africa.
He served as Chairman of the UN Panel of Eminent Persons on the Role of Transnational Corporations in South Africa 1985 and as Co-Chairman of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons on South Africa in 1985–86.
Mr Fraser was Chairman of the UN Secretary-General’s Expert Group on African Commodity Issues from 1989–90.
He was appointed president of the foreign aid group Care International in 1991.
“In the coming days this nation, and this Institute will salute this incredible figure in our history,“ Professor Crabb said.
“He has left us with much, and indeed he was still contributing positively and energetically right until the end. We will be poorer for his passing."