Andrew Peacock, former Liberal party leader and Australian foreign minister, dies aged 82

Former federal Liberal party leader Andrew Peacock has died in the United States aged 82.

Peacock was the leader of the Liberal party for two stints in the 1980s and led the Australian conservatives to defeat at the 1984 and 1990 federal elections.

“To my beautiful loving most caring thoughtful generous and brilliant father, you will be so greatly missed, your guidance and deep love for us will live in my heart, we are absolutely devastated,” Ann Peacock wrote on social media on Friday night Australian time.

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said Peacock was “a great Australian and a treasure of the Liberal party”.

“He was one of our greatest Liberals who helped shape Australia and the Liberal party over three decades,” Morrison said in a statement on Friday night.

Peacock entered parliament aged 27 following Robert Menzies as the member for Kooyong in Melbourne. “These were big shoes to fill, but he was not daunted and filled them in his own way,” Morrison said.

He spent 28 years in Canberra – initially dubbed the “colt from Kooyong” – and was a minister in the John Gorton, William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser governments. After leaving parliament, he served as Australia’s ambassador to the United States.

Morrison said as the minister for external territories, Peacock built a close relationship with Michael Somare and was instrumental in gaining Australian acceptance for Papua New Guinea independence.

“His bonds with Papua New Guinea were such that he visited PNG over 50 times in his career,” the prime minister said. “In honour of this work, Papua New Guinea awarded Andrew Peacock the grand companion of the Order of Logohu making him an honorary chief.”

Despite losing two elections, Peacock “picked up seats against a popular prime minister” in both campaigns, Morrison said. “As Australia’s ambassador in Washington, he used his enormous personal skills to strengthen the close relationships with our most important strategic ally.”

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