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CONDOLENCE MOTION FOR LEE KUAN YEW

SPEECH
CONDOLENCE MOTION FOR LEE KUAN YEW

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2015
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Labor pays tribute to the father of modern Singapore and a principal architect of harmony and prosperity in our region.

Lee Kuan Yew owns a giant legacy of many dimensions and today we recognise briefly what he accomplished.

Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore was born in turbulent times – at home and in the region:

  • Nations across Asia felt the ragged edge of the British withdrawal and decolonisation.

  • The Malayan Emergency, Konfrantasi and the Sukarno split threatened peace and stability.


And there were internal, as well as external, perils.

As Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Lee Kuan Yew’s great friend on the world stage and friendly rival on the golf course, recalled, ‘Harry Lee’ faced profound challenges at home:

To quote Bob Hawke, “He found himself leading a country deeply divided on religious and ethnic lines, surrounded by powerful potential enemies, with a weak economy and no natural resources at all.”

And indeed, from that uncertain platform, he built a modern, prosperous nation – a leader in the region, especially through ASEAN and a trading powerhouse in the world.

But his ambitions for his people and his country reached higher than this.

In 1997, at a celebration of the Chinese New Year, Lee Kuan Yew reflected on how far his nation had come – and the measure of true success.

He said, “We cannot measure our happiness just by our GDP growth. It is how our families and friends care for each other, how we look after our old and nurture our young, they are what make for a closely-knit society, one we can be proud to belong to.”

Australians in fact owe a debt to Lee Kuan Yew, he built modern Singapore, and modern Singapore and modern Singaporeans are a dynamic people amongst the first rank of Australia’s friends and allies.

So Lee Kuan Yew, the proud father and tireless servant of the nation he brought forth is now at rest.

Our condolences to his family, his friends and all the people of Singapore who share grief at his passing.

ENDS

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