28 July 2022

Two minute statement

Earlier this week I wasn’t able to make a contribution on the passing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but I just want to make a very short contribution right now. Like everyone in this place and right throughout the nation, I was shocked to hear of the assassination of Shinzo Abe. It was a very dark moment for democracy and looms large over those of us who are committed to representative government and the rule of law. Abe was one of Australia’s strongest allies on an increasingly fraught international stage, particularly in our region, in the Pacific.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, as part of the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program, and I had the pleasure of speaking to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, particularly Rear Admiral Hirata, the vice-commander of RIMPAC. Japan’s participation in this exercise was a very strong reminder of the positive influence that Shinzo Abe has had in bolstering Japan’s positive and peaceful influence in our region. I continue to work with the Japanese people. No doubt there will be a parliamentary friendship group of Japan in Australia, and I look forward to being part of that.

All democratic nations are better off for Shinzo Abe’s efforts. Abe’s death must be taken as a reminder that we cannot take peace and democracy for granted, and we must all recommit to ourselves and to the people to defend our values, to defend our institutions, from these cowardly acts of violence, these acts of terrorism. I am sure everyone else in this chamber joins me in grieving for Abe’s family and the people of Japan.