Malcolm Fraser: Life wasn't meant to be easy

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has died at the age of 84 after a short illness. (AAP)

In 1971, Malcolm Fraser famously said 'life wasn't meant to be easy,' and it proved prophetic.

In 1971, Malcolm Fraser famously said, "life wasn't meant to be easy".

It proved prophetic.

In his twilight years he was shunned by the Liberal Party faithful for criticising and eventually deserting the very party he once led.

But most venom was reserved for the role he played in the most turbulent moment in Australian political history, The Dimissal of the Whitlam government.

In Whitlam's words, "Malcolm Fraser will go down in history as Kerr's cur".

'No point throwing your hat into the ring and not winning'

Born in Toorak in 1930, Malcolm Fraser had pastoral prowess and politics etched in his DNA.

His grandfather was a farmer and Senator in the early 1900s.

A young Malcolm Fraser was raised on family farms in New South Wales and Victoria before falling into politics by accident.

He was persuaded to contest his local seat against a sitting Labor candidate to simply make up the numbers, until he had a change of heart.

“To hell with it, he said.

“No point throwing your hat into the ring and not winning, so I started to work at it… and won.”

'We as an opposition would be held in contempt if we didn’t do everything we could to give Australians the change to vote on who they wanted to govern the country'

Aged 25, he became Australia's youngest member of Parliament and represented the seat of Wannon in Victoria's Western District until his retirement in 1983.

He won leadership of his party in 1975.

Later that year, he used senate numbers to defer budget supply bills for the now scandal plagued government led by Gough Whitlam.

Whitlam himself, planned to call a half senate election to break the deadlock but when he went to government house, Malcolm Fraser beat him to it.

The Governor General Sir John Kerr had already decided to sack the Prime Minister.

“We believed that we as an opposition would be held in contempt if we didn’t do everything we could to give Australians the change to vote on who they wanted to govern the country,” Mr Fraser said.

He became the nation's 22nd Prime Minister after the historic dismissal in November 1975.

The coalition went on to win two more elections, crushing any notion of him being an illegitimate Prime Minister.

His 1975 election victory was the biggest in Australia's history.

'Multiculturalism became a reality... There's no fantasy about that'

He was a fiscal conservative with a socially progessive heart.

Malcolm Fraser worked to pass land rights legislation for Indigenous Australians.

"No one expected us to do that," he said.

"'Multiculturalism became a reality... There's no fantasy about that."

His government created multicultural broadcaster SBS and his passion for upholding human rights saw him establish a local branch of CARE international.

He continued to lobby for many social causes late in life and was awarded Australia's Human Rights Medal in 1988.

In 2010 he quit the Liberal Party, criticising it for fostering "fear and reaction" particularly on the issue of immigration.

At the time, Tony Abbott had just replaced Malcolm Turnbull as party leader.

"I'd like to see someone with a deep conviction about where Australia will go," he said.

Source SBS

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