Page 986 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

His first term government’s achievements also included establishing the Family Court and the Federal Court and granting self-government to the Northern Territory. His government was the first to attempt to legally recognise the Aboriginal system of land ownership. The Aboriginal land rights act was enacted in the Northern Territory and traditional owners could claim their lands.

His second term as Prime Minister saw the creation of the Special Broadcasting Service, the SBS. An insight into the foresight and political astuteness of Fraser’s leadership were his victories in a series of referendum questions in 1977. Only four times in the past 50 years have the Australian people supported changes to the constitution. In 1967 Liberal PM Harold Holt held a successful referendum which recognised Aboriginal Australians. Fraser had three referendum successes. No Prime Minister has had a success since.

In 1977 the Australian Constitution was amended in relation to the filling of casual vacancies in the Senate, and the retirement age of 70 was introduced for federal judges. Importantly, his third victory was to give the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the right to vote in constitutional elections.

Malcolm Fraser’s personal commitment to establishing immigration policies saw his government forge links with migrant and ethnic communities. As a result, in 1979 the government created the Australian Refugee Advisory Council to advise the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs on the settlement of refugees.

Fraser was also an active environmentalist. He declared Kakadu national park in 1979, then Australia’s largest national park. It was granted to the Kakadu Aboriginal Land Trust under the land rights act in August 1978. Fraser then had Kakadu national park inscribed on the World Heritage List. Later, his government protected the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island, from sand mining. Fraser established the first part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and ended whaling in Australia.

In 1978 Australia experienced its first terrorist attack on home soil, at the Sydney Hilton Hotel. This resulted in the Fraser government establishing one federal police body to deal with terrorism and national matters. The Australian Federal Police was a combination of the Commonwealth Police, the Australian Capital Territory Police and the Federal Narcotics Bureau.

In 1983 Malcolm Fraser lost government to Bob Hawke and later that year he retired from political life, aged 52. Forever a servant of the public, Fraser founded CARE Australia in 1987, a charity committed to supporting individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Today, CARE Australia works in 23 countries across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and directly helped more than two million people in 2014 alone.

Malcolm Fraser was the founding chair of CARE Australia and the chair from 1987 to 2001. He was also president of CARE International from 1991 to 1995 and its vice-president for the next four years. He took his role personally and visited CARE emergency operations in Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda and long-term projects in Cambodia, Jordan and Vietnam.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video