Vale Malcolm Fraser

I am saddened by the passing of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Prime Minister Fraser's time marked one of the most tumultuous eras in politics. While many felt divided by the events of 1975, Fraser worked tirelessly to rid Australia of the xenophobia and racism of the past.

As well as his compassionate and humanitarian stance towards people seeking refuge from the ravages of war in South East Asia, Fraser also embraced the idea of Australia as a multicultural society.

The rights of indigenous Australians was something very important to Malcolm Fraser, and he continued to move our country along the path of reconciliation.

In recent years Malcolm Fraser had become a strident defender of the rights of vulnerable people who arrived in Australia seeking asylum. When so many political leaders had abandoned compassion in favour of fear mongering, he stood out as a voice of reason.

It is impossible to talk of Fraser without thinking of Gough Whitlam, and it is a tribute to both men that after long and bitter divisions inside and outside Parliament, the two men became close friends. That kind of respect and dignity is all too rare in our times, and I know their example inspired many people.

Malcolm Fraser's death is a very sad moment for us all. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones.

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