I attended the State Funeral for former Prime Australian Minister, the Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser AC CH yesterday.
There was a very big turnout and the small Scots Church could not accommodate everyone. I was advised late Thursday afternoon to go to the church across the street, St Michael's, where there was live screening of the service. This church too was full.
The service had a strong family focus with very moving tributes from Mr Fraser’s children and especially lovely tributes from two of his granddaughters. I will attach some reporting so you can read this.
During the service there was mention of Mr Fraser’s long involvement in activities after politics and his strong opposition to apartheid in South Africa. There was also reference to his involvement in the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group. There was no specific mention of the Foundation, but there was reference to many condolence messages to the family from overseas. I assume that one of these was from Ifa Lethu?
It was not possible to convey condolences to Mr Fraser’s family directly after the service. However I assume that the family would have seen the letter that went to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. I also signed the attendance register at the church as a representative of the Ifa Lethu Foundation. There is a condolence book at Old Parliament House in Canberra where I can record full condolences, which was more than was possible on the simple attendance register. Do let me know if you think it necessary for me to also do this? If so, I would need to do this quickly.
On a personal note, along with others who attended Mr Fraser’s funeral in Melbourne, and very many people listening to the service around Australia, it was an occasion to say a very sad farewell to a great Australian and a respected elder statesman who had a passionate commitment to human rights and who throughout his long political career and afterwards took such a very strong and public stand against racism and injustice.
As you expected, it was not appropriate to take photos but I have attached the front and back pages of the order of service so you can see this.
Di Johnstone AM