Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged Australians to think of the less fortunate this Christmas, and says we should share our love beyond family and close friends, reported AAP.

Malcolm Turnbull also thanked the Defence and emergency service members who won’t be spending Christmas at home. “Christmas is a joyful and loving time when we welcome home far-flung family and friends, and relax and reminisce with those closest to us,” Mr Turnbull said.

“From Lucy and me, and our family, to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a relaxing and safe holiday and a 2016 filled with peace, happiness and love.”

Mr Turnbull said the shadows of poverty, loneliness, illness and loss hang heavier during the festive period. “We can lift some of those shadows by sharing our love with others beyond our family and close friends,” he said.

Earlier, PM Turnbull remembered Jim Carlton as a person of warmth and decency and an influential mentor following the death of the former federal minister and humanitarian.

Arrangements for a state memorial service are under way following the Christmas Day passing of Mr Carlton, aged 80.

He served as Health Minister before the fall of the Fraser government in 1983 and held the Sydney-based federal seat of Mackellar for 17 years until 1994.

The prime minister on Sunday praised Mr Carlton as an astute politician who was highly influential within the Liberal Party.

“He was a good political mentor to many people, including me, and he remained a source of good advice and encouragement for all his life,” Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

“Jim was very influential at a turning point in our political history. He was one of the ‘Dries’ leading the argument for free market economic reform during the Fraser government.

“While the Fraser Government lost the 1983 election, Jim had captured the temper of the times and the move to liberalise the Australian economy was taken up by the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments which followed.”

Following the end of his political career, Mr Carlton served as the secretary-general of the Australian Red Cross and received the Henry Durant Medal – the highest international honour of the international Red Cross – for his efforts.