1994, 27 Minutes.
Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983.
Born in Melbourne in 1930, Malcolm Fraser grew up on farming properties in NSW and Victoria. In 1948 he was accepted into Oxford, graduating with a Master of Arts degree.
On his return to Australia, Fraser entered politics and at the age of 25 was elected the Liberal member for Wannon in Victoria, a seat previously held by the Labor Party. In 1966, he was made Minister for the Army in the Holt Government, and after Holt’s death in 1967, he became Minister for Education and Science.
After the Labor victory of 1972, Fraser recast his political image and won the Liberal Party leadership. Fraser is perhaps most remembered for his role in the political upheaval of 1975, a series of events which commentators continue to scrutinise. Led by Fraser, the opposition used its numbers in the Senate to stall the passage of the appropriation bills (supply) until the Labor government called an election - thus causing a constitutional crisis. Following the dramatic dismissal of the Whitlam Government by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr in November 1975, Malcolm Fraser became Prime Minister. He was to hold office for over seven years, until his government was defeated by the Labor Party led by Bob Hawke, in a landslide victory in 1983.
During his time in office, Fraser established the Human Rights Commission and also the position of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. He oversaw the resettlement in Australia of over 56,000 Vietnamese refugees, including 2,000 boat people who had arrived without official documentation.
More recently, Fraser was co-chair of the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons, which worked toward democracy in South Africa. He formed the humanitarian aid organisation CARE Australia in 1987, which he chaired until 2002, and served as president and then vice president of CARE International.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Producer/Director/Writer: Frank Heimans
Interviewer: Robin Hughes
Running Time: 27 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Australian History; Politics; Civics and Citizenship; Legal Studies; Economics; SOSE; English and Media Studies.