Hundreds have come forward to honour former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who died on Friday morning at the age of 84 years.
Malcolm Fraser served as prime minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983, leading the Liberals, and was among other things, a great humanist and philhellene.
It wasn’t until the coup of 1975 by Governor General Sir John Kerr -who overthrew the elected Whitlam Labor government- that Fraser rose to power. That alone, was enough of a reason for the vast majority of Greeks to join the protests against him.
But as prime minister, Malcolm Fraser embraced multicultural policies his predecessor implemented, and worked to bridge the relationship with the Greek community.
With his Greek Australian advisor, Petro Georgiou, who later became director of the Liberal Party of Victoria and a federal Liberal MP, he legislated for the establishment of multiculturalism.
Fraser founded the multilingual public broadcasting service that later on became the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), the Australian Immigration Institute that conducted surveys and hosted programs for the integration of the national minorities of the country, and decided to state-fund the teaching of the students’ native languages in schools with a big migrant population.
Moreover, he allocated substantial funds to finance migration organisations as well as independent immigrant artists and writers. Mr. Fraser always supported indigenous rights and environmental protection.
After his defeat in 1983 by the Labor Party led by Bob Hawke, Fraser became an even more driven and dedicated activist, becoming one of the first politicians who fought to end apartheid in Africa.
The protection of refugees has always been a priority to him, working with many organisations to champion their rights.
All this time Mr. Fraser has been openly supporting the diaspora and Greece on many issues.
Hence, he was honoured by the Greek Republic with a special medal, as did his ‘great’ opponent Gough Whitlam, with whom he later join forces in many common struggles.
The former enemies participated together in protests to end the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, whilst heading the committee for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
Read the full report in Saturday’s English edition.
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