Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock remembered as ‘great Australian’ with lasting legacy – ABC News

Posted: April 21, 2021 at 9:36 am

Former Liberal Party leader Andrew Peacock has been remembered as a "great Australian" who has left an "indelible mark" on the country.

Tributes have flowed from all sides of politics since news of his death at the age of 82 on Friday evening.

"Andrew was a hugely significant figure in Australian politics of the 70s and 80s, and played a dominant role in the development of the Liberal Party," former prime minister John Howard said.

Former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett told the ABC Mr Peacock was "a wonderful servant to the country".

"He was a wonderful servant within the Liberal Partyand was an inspiration for the youthof the Liberal Party when he entered through the seat of Kooyong in 1966," he said.

Born in Melbourne on February 13, 1939, Mr Peacock was elected to Parliament at the age of 27.

His age saw him dubbed the "colt of Kooyong", a moniker which stuck for his nearly three decades in Parliament.

He held a number of cabinet portfolios during his time in politics, including as foreign minister between 1975 and 1980, then led the Liberals at elections in1984 and 1990.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who currently holds the blue-ribbon seat of Kooyong, said Mr Peacock was "a great Victorian, he was a great Australian, and he will be greatly missed".

"Australia has lost one of its greats in Andrew Peacock," he said.

"He combined great elegance, styleand substance and he left an indelible mark on the Australian political scene."

After leaving politics in 1994, Mr Peacock served as Australia's ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1999.

He spent much of the rest of his life in the USand died at his Texas home.

He is survived byhis third wife Penne andthree children.

His daughter Ann Peacock said her "beautiful, loving, most caring, thoughtful, generous and brilliant father" would be "so greatly missed".

"Your guidance and deep love for us will live in my heart, we are absolutely devastated," she said.

AAP: Joe Castro

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday remembered Mr Peacock as "one of our greatest Liberals, who helped shape Australia and the Liberal Party over three decades".

John Hewson, a former colleague of Mr Peacock who went on to follow in his footsteps as Liberal leader, said: "Andrew was a great Australian."

"I think he would havebeen an excellent PM," Dr Hewson told the ABC.

"I always saw him as a small-l liberal, really, in a large-L Liberal Party. I know that annoys some people in the Liberal Party to say that, but that's what he was.

"He had very strong and compassionate social policy views while he was preparedto take a harder line view on the economic issues and so on."

Dr Hewson said his friend and colleague made "principled stands" during his time in political life, both within the party and in his role as foreign minister.

"I was very pleased to be his friend as well as working for him. We had funny occasions together outside of Parliament," Dr Hewson said.

Mr Howard said his former colleague and rival was a "quite outstanding foreign minister" who forged important relationships with countries in the region and deepened the US alliance.

He is known for taking a stance against the Khmer Rouge genocide.In his earlier position as minister for territories, Mr Peacock played a key role in the path to Papua New Guinea's independence.

Mr Peacock spent much of the 80s battling with Mr Howard for the party's leadership positionand he served as opposition leader twice.

Mr Howard acknowledged the pair had their personal differencesbut said they had "well and truly buried the hatchet" by the time he was appointed US ambassador.

"He brought to all that he did in public life a great amount of style, flair and distinction," Mr Howard said.

AAP: Alan Porritt

In 1987,Mr Peacock and then-Victorian opposition leader Mr Kennett were recorded in a phone call using colourful language about Mr Howard, who was federal Liberal leader at the time.

"On a personal note, I remember him as a very close friend," Mr Kennett said.

"We lived so much of our political lives in each other's company, both the highs and the lows," Mr Kennett said.

"It's sad that he's gone. But unfortunately, we're all going to follow him."

Victoria's Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said Mr Peacock was just as comfortable in the betting ring at Flemington as he was in the corporate boardrooms of Collins Street.

"He was a giant of the Victorian Liberal Party," Mr O'Brien said.

Victoria turned blue under Mr Peacock in the 1990 electionbut "unfortunately the rest of the country didn't play along otherwise Andrew would've been prime minister," Mr O'Brien said.

"His career shows you can have an enormous impact on the state and on the country without being prime minister."

Mr Frydenberg said Mr Peacock's passing would be "mourned by those on bothsides of the political aisle".

"Because he pursued his politics as he pursued life with vigour, with dignity and with the utmost decency," he said.

Former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard expressed her condolences the family of Mr Peacock, who she said would "be remembered fondly for both his political career and diplomatic service to Australia".


Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he was "a respected former liberal leader, minister and ambassador to the US who advocated for liberal values over so many decades".

Mr Albanese said Mr Peacock was a "fine Australian" who would be sadly missed by his family and many friends.

Mr Peacock was known for encouraging younger MPs from all political parties.

"He was distinguishedfor that sort of standing across theaisle," Dr Hewson said.

"He didn't play favourites. Hewasn't tribal in today's sense.

"Ithink he took people on theirmerits. He encouraged people andencouraged them to meet their fullpotential."

Health Minister Greg Hunt, who was recruited by Mr Peacock as a young student, remembered a "true parliamentarian".

"He loved the parliament, he loved the notion of freedom, he loved the concept of each Australian being theirbest self," he said.

Mr Howard said Mr Peacock was respected by both Republicans and Democrats during his time representing Australia in the US.

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Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock remembered as 'great Australian' with lasting legacy - ABC News

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