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Gough Whitlam was the first leader to take into account the urbanisation of Australia, and the need to address social inequality in the fringes of urban centres, according to Paul Keating's Deputy Minister Professor Brian Howe.

The former Prime Minister died on Tuesday 21 October 2014, aged 98.

Professor Howe said Mr Whitlam would be remembered for the social and economic legacy of his policies.

"In the long term, Gough will be recognised as one of the great reforming prime ministers, someone who set an agenda for future generations - especially around poverty and inequality," he said.

"He was a social democrat par excellence."

Professor Brian Howe is a Professorial Associate in the University's Centre for Public Policy.