Nelson Mandela was one of the towering figures of the 20th century who will hold an enduring place alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr as an advocate for human dignity and freedom.
Throughout his long years in prison and in the anti-apartheid struggle, Mr Mandela showed remarkable inner strength and resilience.
In the dramatic years which saw the end of apartheid and during his presidency, Mr Mandela foreswore bitterness over his decades in prison and guided South Africa through this tense period with wisdom, patience and true statesmanship.
Speaking from Beijing this morning, Ms Bishop said our nation was proud to join others in supporting Mr Mandela in the struggle against apartheid and to witness South Africa's transformation into a free and pluralistic country.
After his release, we proudly welcomed Mr Mandela to these shores as a true friend, and later honoured him with our nation's highest award, the Companion of the Order of Australia.
Now, with the sad news of his passing, I express condolences to Mr Mandela's widow Graça Machel, his children and to the people of South Africa, who have lost their nation's transforming father and its greatest son.
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