Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser dies aged 84

9780522858099Former Prime Minister and champion of human rights Malcolm Fraser has passed away.

“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,” a statement read.

“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 sworn in as caretaker prime minister in 1975 after the Whitlam government was dismissed. He led the Liberals to victory in the 1975 election before losing the 1983 election to Labor’s Bob Hawke.

Despite Fraser’s role in the 1975 “coup” against Gough Whitlam, the pair developed a close friendship post politics.

9780522867688In recent years, Mr Fraser had become an outspoken critic of the Liberal Party and quit the party in 2010 over the party’s view on issues such as immigration.

Recently Mr Fraser turned his attention to government criticisms of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, writing that attacks on her had ‘diminished important work highlighting the worrying expansion of ministerial powers over asylum seekers’.

Labor senator Doug Cameron was shocked to hear of Mr Fraser’s death on Friday, having only recently met with the former prime minister and his wife Tamie.

“I am just devastated that Australia has lost a great voice for human rights,” Senator Cameron told reporters in Canberra.

Toni Whitmont review: 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Award winners announced – Alex Miller and Malcolm Fraser scoop the pool

The winners of the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards were announced at a gala dinner at the Sydney Opera House last night. Some of the countries leading writers and luminaries were at the event, including ABC TV presenter Jennifer Byrne (as MC), NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and former Prime Minster of Australia, Malcolm Fraser.

One of Australia’s best-loved writers, Alex Miller, was awarded the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction for Lovesong, described by the judges as “a magnificent novel of desire”.

(No surprises there – we are Miller groupies here at Booktopia. Go here to see his answers to our Ten Terrifying Questions and here to see my interview with him on the publication of Lovesong).

Alex has received numerous awards for his writing, including twice winning the prestigious Miles Franklin Award. Miller also won The People’s Choice Award. Introduced three years ago to increase public engagement with the arts, the People’s Choice Award was chosen by Australian residents from the six novels shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize.

Former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, along with Margaret Simons, were awarded the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction for Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs. It also took out Book of The Year. The judges described  it as an engaging work that demonstrates how literary craft can transcend the usual limitations of political autobiography.
The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, established in 1979, were Australia’s first premier’s awards. In their 32 year history, they have honoured many of the nation’s greatest writers, including Continue reading

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