Malcolm Fraser’s coffin is carried from the church yesterday. At top right his wife Tamie is consoled and below a group of Vietnamese migrants pays tribute.
Malcolm Fraser’s coffin is carried from the church yesterday. At top right his wife Tamie is consoled and below a group of Vietnamese migrants pays tribute. TRACEY NEARMY

A man whose ‘ideas will never die’: Fraser farewelled

A PUBLIC day of mourning for former prime minister Malcolm Fraser began early in Melbourne on Friday, with crowds gathered outside the Scots Church before a state funeral for the leader.

Mr Fraser, Australia's 22nd prime minister, was remembered as a humanitarian, republican and military man, but most touchingly, a father and grandfather.

Hundreds gathered inside and outside the Presbyterian Church in Victoria's capital, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his mentor John Howard among the dignitaries.

Mr Fraser's granddaughter Hester sang a clearly heartfelt song she wrote for her grandfather, singing the "magnanimity of your ideas will never die".

Outside the church, Vietnamese migrants and their families and the wider public gathered to remember his contribution to supporting immigration and multicultural Australia.

While Mr Fraser came to office in the fiery outcry over former prime minister Gough Whitlam's dismissal, he was remembered by friends and political foes as a man of conviction and engagement to the end.

In office, Mr Fraser helped bring land rights to indigenous Australia, end apartheid in South Africa and began the economic foundations that Bob Hawke and Paul Keating built on.

An Oxford graduate, Mr Fraser was remembered as a reserved, shy man; a farmer who believed in the principle of fundamental human rights shared by all.

He died peacefully aged 84 last week after a brief illness.

ABC news

His son Hugh Fraser told the service how much his dad loved the country he served.

"He loved Australia. He was not merely one of its sons, but one of its most fervent custodians. I feel the world is slightly less safe now," he said.

"There were no days when in his life where he woke and ceased to care about current affairs. Regardless of whether he was right or wrong in his actions, this sense of responsibility endured to the end."

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