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Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser died

Mar 20, 2015 17:30 IST

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser died on 20 March 2015 due to a brief illness. He was 84.

He was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983.

He won the largest majority in two subsequent Elections of 1977 and 1980 in Australian political history. He came to power after the dismissal of Gough Whitlam’s Labor government – having first triggered a constitutional crisis by engineering deadlock in the Senate.

He continued many of Labor’s progressive reforms. In 1976 he established the family court of Australia and federal court of Australia, granted the Northern Territory self-government, passed the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, created the position of federal ombudsman and established the ABC’s FM radio service. The next year, he established the National Aboriginal Conference and SBS.

In 1979 the Fraser government established the Australian Refugee Advisory Council to advise it on the settlement of refugees.

He became a Member of Parliament (M.P) in 1955 at the age of 25. Fraser was first appointed to the Cabinet in 1966. After rising to become Minister for Defence in 1969, he was regarded as a contender for the leadership of the Liberal Party following their defeat in 1972, but he lost that contest to Billy Snedden.

Fraser challenged Snedden in 1975 and was elected Leader of the Liberal Party, becoming the Leader of the Opposition.

Fraser was appointed as caretaker prime minister in November 1975 by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, following the controversial dismissal of the Whitlam Government in which he played a key role. He was defeated by Bob Hawke in 1983 and left politics a short time later.

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