MELBOURNE: Hundreds of mourners gathered Friday (Mar 27) at a state funeral for former conservative prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who came to power in 1975 with Australia’s greatest constitutional crisis and died last week aged 84.Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended the ceremony at Melbourne’s Scots’ Church along with former prime ministers Julia Gillard, John Howard and Paul Keating. Fraser’s close friend and a minister in his government, Peter Nixon, said the nation had lost a “unique and great Australian”.”From the start, it was apparent to me that Malcolm was sure to succeed,” said Nixon, who started working with Fraser from 1961, told the approximately 700 people at the church. The ceremony was also televised live across the country. “His contributions were always thoughtful.”Fraser died last Friday after a short illness, just five months after the death of Gough Whitlam, the man he dramatically replaced after the Labor leader became Australia’s only prime minister to be sacked.He began his term as the country’s 22nd prime minister after the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Whitlam’s government in November 1975.Fraser was appointed caretaker and despite questions about the legitimacy of the dismissal, the Liberal Party man went on… Read full this story
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