In a statement to the House of Representatives on March 2, 1978, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced that Sir John Kerr would not be taking up his appointment as Australian Ambassador to UNESCO.
Kerr’s decision followed an outpouring of criticism after his appointment had been announced by Fraser on February 9. The position with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation was based in Paris.
Fraser defended Kerr’s actions as Governor-General and said the government believed Kerr “should not be cast aside…simply because he was forced by the Government of the day to make a difficult decision”. He said Kerr had “the right to serve this nation quietly, at peace with himself, at peace with the nation, at peace with his family”.