20 Mar 2015

Former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser dies

2:54 pm on 20 March 2015

Australia's former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has been remembered as a "giant of Australian politics" and a "very tough politician".

Mr Fraser died today aged 84, after a short illness.

He first entered Parliament in 1955 as its youngest MP.

Mr Fraser became a caretaker prime minister in 1975 after the government of Gough Whitlam was dismissed in a constitutional crisis.

He led the Liberals to victory in the 1975 election before being succeeded by Labor's Bob Hawke in 1983.

Mr Fraser was Australia's 22nd prime minister.

In recent years, Mr Fraser became an outspoken critic of the Liberals and he quit the party in 2010 over its lurch to the right on issues such as immigration.

A statement released by his office confirmed Mr Fraser died peacefully early today.

"It is with deep sadness that we inform you that after a brief illness John Malcolm Fraser died peacefully in the early hours of the morning of 20 March 2015," the statement said.