Claudia Long 27/3/15 (Originally published at http://www.syn.org.au)
Around 700 people have gathered at Scots’ Church in Melbourne to farewell former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who passed away last week.
Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister was remembered as a controversial yet effective leader and caring relative by his friends, family and colleagues as many attendees watched a televised version of the service across the road in St. Michaels Church.
Mourners gather across the road from Scots’ Church at St. Michael’s
Prime Minister Tony Abbott was present at today’s memorial as were former Prime Ministers Julia Gillard, John Howard and Paul Keating with Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd unable to attend due to overseas commitments.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives at the service
Former colleague and friend Peter Nixon remembered Fraser as a man who always had a “big grin on his face”.
“The pressure on him every minute of every day was immense” he said “his support for Vietnamese asylum seekers was without limit”.
General Secretary of the Vietnamese Community of Australia Phong Nguyen agreed saying “Mr. Malcolm Fraser meant a lot to our community”.
“In 1975 when he became Prime Minister he opened up Australia to Vietnamese refugees” he said “we are here today for Mr. Fraser”.
Members of the ‘Vietnamese Community in Australia’ lead by General Secretary Phong Nguyen pay tribute to
Malcolm Fraser outside Scots’ Church
Many parliamentarians attended the service including Treasurer Joe Hocker, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks with SKY News as Victorian Liberal President Michael Kroger and former Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson watch on
Treasurer Joe Hockey arrives at Fraser’s memorial
Floral tributes outside Scots’ Church
Fraser described her granddad as “a joker at heart” and an avid fan of ‘The Bodyguard’. “Every time I stayed with him” she said “he would ask Granny and I if we wanted to watch it, as if we had never seen it before”.
Malcolm Fraser passed away last Friday at 84 after a short illness and is survived by his wife and four children.