Malcolm Fraser was one of the most controversial Prime Ministers of Australia. When he engineered the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 he alienated a significant part of the Australian community.
But the controversy surrounding the dismissal of Whitlam overshadowed a number of important political achievements, and obscured one unchangeable fact about him: his devotion to the ideals of human rights. From 2001, Fraser became increasingly prominent in concerns about the Australian government’s treatment of people seeking asylum. Slowly but surely, through his commitment to the cause of human rights, he came to be embraced by the same people who had reviled him in 1975.
In memory of Mr Fraser’s vision for Australia, the University of Melbourne has established an annual address – the Malcolm Fraser Oration.