Former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock has died aged 82 at his home in the US.
Mr Peacock was one of the most significant Australian political figures of his generation, leading the Liberal Party in both the 1984 and 1990 federal elections.
Mr Peacock’s daughter, Ann, posted a heartfelt tribute to her father on Instagram.
“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,” she wrote.
“Daddy, love you more than the world, please continue to look after us all. You will live within us forever and ever.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also paid tribute to the former Liberal leader, labelling him a “great Australian and a treasure to the Liberal Party”.
“He was one of our greatest Liberals who helped shape Australia and the Liberal Party over three decades. Andrew Peacock served in Parliament for over 28 years and was a Minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments; and led the Liberal Party to two elections,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“During his time as a minister, Andrew Peacock held the Army; External Territories; Environment; Foreign Affairs; Industrial Relations; and Industry and Commerce portfolios.
“He was Minister for the Army during part of the Vietnam War. A difficult portfolio in the most challenging of times.”
Mr Morrison said Mr Peacock was “instrumental” in gaining Australian acceptance for Papua New Guinea Independence during his time as Minister for External Territories.
Mr Peacock quickly rose within the ranks of the Liberal Party. He was dubbed the ‘the colt from Kooyong’ in 1966 when he was chosen at the age of 27 to replace Sir Robert Menzies in his Melbourne electorate.
Just three years later he was appointed Minister for the Army and then at age 36 was made the Foreign Affairs Minister.
Mr Morrison said during his time as the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Peacock “built deep relationships”.
“He was vocal in his denunciation of the Pol Pot regime in Kampuchea, despising what he called that ‘loathsome regime’,” Mr Morrison said.
He was appointed Leader of the Opposition by the time he was 44, just missing out on securing the top job of prime minister.
However, in an interview with The Australian in 2019, Mr Peacock revealed he never yearned for the job as prime minister.
“Unlike most of my colleagues I did not hunger for the job as prime minister,’’ he told the publication.
“I truly was more interested in what we were doing than the post itself. I wanted good posts. I wanted to be the foreign minister, but being prime minister was not the central orient; it wasn’t the central purpose to what I was doing.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also wrote a tribute to Mr Peacock, thanking him for his “friendship, advice and support”.
Mr Frydenberg holds Mr Peacock’s old seat of Kooyong in Victoria, saying he “feels proud to be apart of his wonderful legacy”.
“My love and prayers are with Penne and his extended family at this difficult time,” he wrote.
Mr Peacock retired from politics in 1994. He also served as the Australian Ambassador in Washington DC between 1997-2000.
“As Australia’s Ambassador in Washington, he used his enormous personal skills to strengthen the close relationships with our most important strategic ally,” Mr Morrison said.
“Andrew had a rich life outside politics. He had a lifelong love of horse racing and the Essendon Football Club. His love of his daughters was a mainstay of his life. In later life, his wider family also brought him immense happiness.
“To his wife Penne and his family, Jenny and I extend the sympathies of the Government and the Liberal Party.”