STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF NELSON MANDELA
SPEECH TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2013
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I, too, rise to record my deep regret that on 5 December Nelson Mandela AC, former President of the Republic of South Africa, passed away. I acknowledge the Deputy Prime Minister and my own deputy, the member for Sydney, for their notable words on this motion in the House earlier this week. Nelson Mandela was arguably one of the world's greatest figures of our time. It is true what many have said this week in Johannesburg, that we will never see his like again.
In troubled times in South Africa Nelson Mandela stood tall. He led his nation out of an incredibly difficult time; not with a violent struggle but with peace, compassion and the force of moral leadership. It is impossible to imagine what 27 years in prison would do to one's spirit, but in the case Nelson Mandela it steeled his resolve. He suffered so his people could be free. Nelson Mandela was a symbol to the rest of the world. He achieved perhaps more than any other world leader in his pursuit of peace, acceptance and justice.
His example to all of us is as powerful today as it was 20 years ago when he was released from prison. The slow struggle for reconciliation does not end with Mandela's passing, not for South Africa and not for any of us. Let us renew our resolve for reconciliation. Let us think of Nelson Mandela in hard times and forge on with his strength in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his country and all of those who look to him and hope for a better world. We are all the better because of Nelson Mandela's life—may he rest in peace.
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