Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says his predecessor as Kooyong MP, former Liberal leader Andrew Peacock, “combined great elegance, style and substance” and would be missed after his death at 82.
Mr Peacock’s chief Liberal Party rival John Howard, meanwhile, says the Victorian “played a dominant role” in the party’s history and the pair had “buried the hatchet” long ago.
Mr Peacock, dubbed the “colt from Kooyong,” served in parliament for over 28 years, was a minister in the Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments and led the Liberal Party to two elections.
He was also foreign minister from 1975 to 1980 in the Fraser government.
Mr Peacock died on Friday at his home in the United States.
Mr Frydenberg, the current member for Kooyong in Melbourne’s east, said Mr Peacock had “left an indelible mark” on Australian politics.
“He carried the baton of his (Kooyong) predecessor Sir Robert Menzies – there was no more popular, no more respected Victorian Liberal than Andrew Peacock,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters on Saturday.
“His passing will be mourned by those on both sides of the political aisle because he pursued his politics as he pursued life – with vigour, with dignity and with the utmost decency.”
Mr Frydenberg said Mr Peacock “combined great elegance, style, and substance” and he was honoured to follow in his footsteps as Kooyong MP.
Mr Peacock launched Mr Frydenberg’s first campaign to win the Kooyong seat and was one of his referees for pre-selection, along with Mr Howard.
Mr Peacock and Mr Howard – who served as prime minister from 1996 to 2007 – tussled for the Liberal leadership for much of the late 1980s.
Mr Howard said he had long ago “buried the hatchet” with Mr Peacock, who he labelled a man of flair and distinction with a deep understanding of US politics.
After leaving parliament in 1994, Mr Peacock served as Australia’s ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 1999.
“As is well known, Andrew and I had our differences but we well and truly buried the hatchet many years ago,” Mr Howard said.
“We were both very committed to the future of the Liberal Party and, above all else, to our country.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement on Friday night that “Andrew 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,” Mr Morrison said.
“To his wife Penne and his family, Jenny and I extend the sympathies of the government and the Liberal Party.”
Mr Peacock’s daughter Ann Peacock said on social media she was devastated.
“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,” Ms Peacock said.
“Daddy, love you more than the world, please continue to look after us all. You will live within us forever and ever.”
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett tweeted that he and Mr Peacock “shared a long friendship of political highs and lows”.
Mr Morrison also said Mr Peacock had the difficult job of being minister for the army during the Vietnam War.
He was also minister for external territories and was instrumental in gaining Australian acceptance for independence for Papua New Guinea, whose government later made him an honorary chief.