Only six months after the passing of Gough Whitlam, Australia haw now lost yet another of its former Prime Ministers. The great humanist and philhellene, Malcolm Fraser, who served as prime minister of Australia from 1975 to 1983 for the Liberals passed away on Friday 20th March.
Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam were co-patrons of Australians For The Return Of The Parthenon Marbles (ARPM).
In 2004, Malcolm Fraser sought the support of New Zealand parliamentarians in urging the British Government to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece. His address contained the following comments.
It’s not just a matter for the British Government and Greece, we all owe a great deal to ancient Greece as part of our democratic heritage going back not hundreds of years, but two or three thousand years … Their contribution to civilisation has been enormous and that in a sense creates a wider obligation … Whatever way you look at it, the marbles were taken by the Elgin family improperly, wrongly, illegally, whatever words you want to use. Those events set them apart from most cultural matters.
Our sympathy goes out to former Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Fraser’s family and friends.