Malcolm Fraser was involved in one of the most scandalous moments in Australian politics.
Malcolm Fraser was involved in one of the most scandalous moments in Australian politics.

DAY IN HISTORY: Malcolm Fraser dead in 2015

MALCOLM Fraser - the Prime Minister who won his title in one of Australia's most politically scandalous moments - died on this day in 2015.

Fraser rose through the ranks of the Liberal party in the 1960s before he became embroiled in the infamous the Dismissal or for Labor historians, 'Kerr's cur' - the sacking of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by the Governor-General John Kerr.

Born in Toorak, Melbourne, Fraser had politics in his blood - his paternal grandfather, Sir Simon Fraser, served in both houses of the Parliament of Victoria in the 1890s and the new federal Senate (1901) while his maternal grandfather, Louis Woolf, also ran for the Senate.

Fraser grew up on the sheep station Balpool-Nyang in New South Wales before the family sold the property and moved to Victoria - a decision that would forever haunt him.

He attended Oxford University, and though didn't excel in his studies, regarded this time as an awakening in his critical thinking.

On his return to Australia, Fraser lost his contest for the seat of Wannon in 1954. However, a redistribution made it a notionally Liberal seat and Fraser, aged 25, became the youngest Member of Parliament.

Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser - two leaders who were determined to lead their way.
Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser - two leaders who were determined to lead their way.

Fraser spent a decade on the backbench before he was appointed to Cabinet by then Prime Minister Harold Holt.

He served as the Minister for the Army, Minister for Education and Science (he also served this position as Shadow Minister when the Liberals were in opposition), and Minister for Defence before becoming leader of the Liberals when he defeated, at the second time of asking, Billy Snedden in 1975.

However, his play for power was only just beginning, and incensed by the free-spending Whitlam, blocked supply and forced Kerr to dismiss Whitlam and put him in as care-taker Prime Minister.

In the subsequent election, the Fraser-led Liberals romped to victory.

A Liberal leader in the sense of the word, Fraser surprised and dismayed supporters and enemies alike with his leftist views and radical thinking on issues such as immigration.

However, his reign of power slowly dimmed over the years and, after several political attacks, most notably the challenge from Andrew Peacock in 1981, he was defeated in the 1983 election by Labor and their new leader, Bob Hawke.

Malcolm Fraser died in the early hours of March 20, 2015 after fighting a brief illness. His ashes are interred within the 'Prime Ministers Garden' of Melbourne General Cemetery.
Malcolm Fraser died in the early hours of March 20, 2015 after fighting a brief illness. His ashes are interred within the 'Prime Ministers Garden' of Melbourne General Cemetery. ABC news

In retirement, Fraser became involved in international affairs and humanitarian work, while at home, fought for human rights.

His time in politics finally came to an end in 2009, when after Tony Abbott won the Liberal leadership, he tore up his membership as it "no longer a liberal party but a conservative party".

A father of four with his wife Tamara Beggs, Fraser died in the early hours of March 20, 2015 after fighting a brief illness.

His ashes are interred within the 'Prime Ministers Garden' of Melbourne General Cemetery.


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