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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4347


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/03/1977

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4347

FOR U:. S 15 MARCH 3977
Last Thursday, 10th March, John Armstrong a man who had
held public office in Parliament, overseas and in his home
State of New South Wales over a span of forty years died
suddcnly at Batcmans Bay, on the New South Wales coast
which. he loved so much.
John Armstrong was a straight-forward man blunt, open, forceful
, ithc. ut any trace of sophistry or cynicism. lie was a most likeable
man, with an earthy sense of humour, and he was much respected
by all1 who knew him or worked with him.
He wns also a man of moderation. Many pol: i. ticans forget that
if they speak with hyperbole and rancour, they may oxacerbace
public feel. ings, deepen public divisions and bring disrespect
to Pn. rliament. John Armstrong was well aware of that dangeT and
managed to put forward his point of view with strength and
vigour but tempered with moderation and humour. It is no
wonder that he proved to be a success in the many public offices
he h ld.
And there were many offices which he held over his long career of
public service, In 1934 he became an Alderman oE the City of
Sydney, and three years later he was elected to the Sena te.
He represented New South Wales in the Senate for 24 years, during
which time he was a Minister of the Crown for three years and
latev deputy leader of the opposition for five years.
After lcaving the Senate, he again became active in local government,
and in 1965, he achieved a life-long ambition by being elected
Lord Mayor of Sydney. le brought great flair and imagination
to that offics.
In 1973 he was appointed High Commissioner to London. His sty u
was not thaL V. his predecessors in that of fi. ce, yet he served
AustaTl. ia forthrightly but discreetly. Our continuing good relations
w ith Britain much to his tenure of that office. / 2

One of the initiatives which John Armstrong long advocated
was the introduction of an Australian honours system. It was
most fitt ing that he was made ai Companion of the Order of Australia
iast Au~ st ral ia Day. Sadly he died before being invres ted with the
inlsign ia of thn Order.
A State funeral was hold for him yesterday : in Sydney. At tihe
Requiem Mass at St. Miary' s Cathedral , which was attended by the
Attorney-General on my behalf, Cardinal Freeman paid tribute
to the " attractivc consistency of his character".
John Armstrong held many positions of power and influence but
throughout he remained himsel f, plainly speaking his views wi thout
p re tens ion.
John Armstrong served his Party and his country el]. I talked
with him only last week and he seemed to be greatly enjoying
his well-earned retirement. It is sad that he could not have
had longer to enjoy it.
The Government extends its profound sympathy to his wife, Joan,
and hi~ s four children.
Mr Spea ker, 1 move:

Transcript 4347