Former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser dies at 84
FORMER Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has died peacefully aged 84, after a lifetime engaged in Australian politics.
Mr Fraser's office released a statement saying he died peacefully in the early hours of the morning.
"It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015," the statement said.
"We appreciate that this will be a shock to all who knew and loved him, but ask that the family be left in peace at this difficult time."
Mr Fraser was the nation's 22nd Prime Minister, starting his term as caretaker PM after the controversial dismissal of his then-rival, Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
But the pair had become friends in their later years, as Mr Fraser's liberal ideology, particularly his views on foreign relations and the treatment of asylum seekers, contrasted against the Liberal Party's current views on such issues.
In office, Mr Fraser was widely seen as a builder of Australia's relationship with south-east Asia, reforming trade laws, but led a government gripped by inaction on economic reform.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has paid tribute to Mr Fraser, releasing a statement at 10.28am.
I was saddened to hear of the death of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
Malcolm Fraser will be remembered as a conservative with a strong conscience when it came to issues such as the treatment of those coming here under desperate circumstances to seek a better future for themselves and their children.
The thousands of families from South East Asia who came to Australia during the term of his government and became part of the Australian community are proof of that.
Malcolm Fraser helped build the modern multicultural Australia we know today and had a strong track record as a fierce opponent of racial discrimination.
I pass on my condolences and those of the Queensland Government to Mrs Tamie Fraser and her family.
MALCOLM FRASER ON TONY ABBOTT IN 2010...
In his later life, Mr Fraser remained fully engaged in public life, with his last book Dangerous Allies, on a case for Australia pursuing foreign policy more independently of the United States, winning the 2014 John Button Prize.
He was also heavily involved in charity work.
In 1987, Mr Fraser formed CARE Australia as part of the international CARE network of humanitarian aid organisations.
He was chairman from 1987 until 2002, when William Deane succeeded him.
Mr Fraser was also president of CARE International from 1990 to 1995, and its vice-president for the next four years.
He was earlier involved in lobbying against apartheid in South Australia.
In July 1996, Prime Minister John Howard despatched Malcolm Fraser to Africa to lobby support for Australia's candidacy for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Fraser visited Zimbabwe in Southern Africa and Ghana in West Africa, and was a guest at the Heads of Government Meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Malcolm Fraser was a member of the Commonwealth observers group in Pakistan for the October 1993 election, and visited Tanzania in October 1995 and Bangladesh in June 1996.
In April 1999, during the Yugoslav civil war, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer announced the appointment of Malcolm Fraser as the government's special envoy to Yugoslavia to seek the release from prison of CARE Australia workers Steve Pratt and Peter Wallace.
The aid workers had been tried and sentenced to long prison terms, but Fraser's negotiations were eventually successful.
After the men were released in September 1999, Mr Fraser joined with Nelson Mandela, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari to successfully negotiate the release of the third CARE worker, Yugoslav Branko Yelen.
In 1988, Fraser was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia and in November 2000, he was awarded Australia's Human Rights Medal for his contribution to the advancement of human rights in Australia and internationally.
Mr Fraser is survived by his four children and wife.
Former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser dies at 84
FORMER Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has died at age 84.
ABC News reported the former conservative leader passed away on Friday morning after a short illness.
A statement from his office said Mr Fraser had died in his sleep in the early hours of this morning.
The family asked for privacy 'at this difficult time'.
Mr Fraser was the leader of the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983.
He became a Member of Parliament in 1955, at the age of 25.
Mr Fraser was first appointed to Cabinet 11 years later in 1966.
In 1975, he challenged then Billy Snedden and was successfully elected Leader of the Liberal Party, becoming the Leader of the Opposition.
Fraser was controversially appointed Prime Minister on 11 November 1975 by Governor-General Sir John Kerr following the dismissal of the Whitlam Government, in which he played a key role.
He went on to win the largest majority in Australian political history at that election.
After two further election victories in 1977 and 1980, he was defeated by Bob Hawke in 1983 and retired from politics on 11 March 1983.
Mr Fraser became a vocal critic of some of the LNP's policies in recent times, including on asylum seekers.
In July last year he threw his support behind Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, saying neither of the major parties deserve a majority in both houses of parliament.
"Senator Hanson-Young, as she said, has been a resolute and fair-minded voice on an issue which is important to Australia and where the major parties have let Australia down very, very seriously," Mr Fraser said.
"We don't understand in this country the damage that our stance is doing to us around the world."
Treasurer Joe Hockey paid tribute to Mr Fraser, saying he played an important role in Australia's history and the history of the LNP.
He passed on his condolences to the family of Mr Fraser.
Some of Malcolm Fraser's most recent tweets..