Malcolm Fraser awarded honorary Doctor of LawsFebruary 10, 2012
When Melbourne Law School graduates attended the University’s final graduation ceremony for 2011, they shared their celebration with one of Australia’s great statesmen, The Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC CH.
In the ceremony, Mr Fraser was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Melbourne, an honour he said he valued more highly than any other he’d received over his distinguished career.
“His contributions to both national and international affairs have been characterised by a staunch commitment to human rights, an abhorrence of racism, and a determination to secure and preserve the rights of minority groups,” stated the citation.
Over 250 law students graduated at the ceremony on Thursday 22 December, including some of the first law students to graduate with the Melbourne Juris Doctor.
“I am particularly delighted to be receiving the doctorate at a graduation of law graduates,” said Mr Fraser.
“In today’s world I can think of no profession more important, more vital to a sane, humane and secure world.
“A knowledge of and respect for the law is something that will stand you in good stead no matter what you may ultimately do. As I see today’s world, the rule of law and due process, equal access to the law, represent values of great significance.”
Professor Carolyn Evans, Dean of Melbourne Law School, said the Law School welcomed the honouring of Mr Fraser.
“Without a doubt, Mr Fraser has made a substantial contribution to public life in Australia and beyond. The legal reforms instituted by the Fraser government include the passage of significant laws including the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) and Australia’s first Freedom of Information Act,” said Professor Evans.
“The Fraser government also established important and enduring legal institutions including the position of Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission, and since leaving government, Mr Fraser has played a significant role in international affairs, particularly in the Commonwealth.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Fraser inspired graduates with an ardent reminder of the responsibilities and challenges that will face those who dedicate their lives to law in the modern world.
“The law, its application not only of meaning but of intent, provides guidance for civilised societies both at home and abroad. The degrees you have so justly earned over years of hard work will have equipped you well to use the law, and where dilemmas exist, exercise rational judgement.”