MINISTER BISHOP: On arriving in Beijing this morning, I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela at his home in Johannesburg.
I pay tribute to Nelson Mandela as an icon of resistance who became a champion of reconciliation.
He will be remembered as an advocate for human dignity, freedom and justice and was one of the greatest and most inspirational leaders of our time.
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 from prison we welcomed Mr Mandela to Australia as a true friend and later honoured him with our nation's highest award the Companion of the Order of Australia.
He was a moral guide showing leadership to the world on forgiveness, respect and humility.
Through his personal example he not only transformed his country South Africa but also inspired people and causes across the globe.
Nelson Mandela's many words of wisdom will continue to resonate around the world. I recall many of his renowned speeches but these words stay with me, Nelson Mandela said, "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others".
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555