House debates

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Statements on Indulgence

Abe, Mr Shinzo, AC

3:20 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I will visit Japan from 26 to 28 September to attend the state funeral for Mr Abe Shinzo, AC, former Japanese Prime Minister. We've spoken previously in this parliament and, across the whole spectrum, expressed our condolences to the people of Japan.

I will be accompanied on that visit by former prime ministers the Hon. John Howard, OM AC, the Hon. Tony Abbott, AC and the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, AC, all of whom worked with Mr Abe during his two terms as Japanese Prime Minister. We will be the official delegation, and I believe it's entirely appropriate that I as the Prime Minister have extended invitations to Mr Howard, Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull, and I'm pleased that they are able to attend with me.

Mr Abe's state funeral will be attended by past and present world leaders, foreign dignitaries, colleagues and family in honour of his leadership and immense contribution on the international stage. Mr Abe was instrumental in elevating Australia's relationship with Japan to a special strategic partnership and did more than anyone to advocate for a free and open Indo-Pacific. He signed the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, creating new opportunities for Australian businesses in Japan and, of course, was a tireless champion of the Quad.

I believe that the attendance at Mr Abe's state funeral by not just myself as the sitting Prime Minister of Australia but by three former prime ministers will send a very strong message to the government of Japan but, most importantly, to the people of Japan about how respected Mr Abe was by Australia and about the friendship that is there. I thank the former prime ministers for the discussions and for attending with me.

3:22 pm

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

DUTTON (—) (): I want to provide the opposition's support to the Prime Minister on what's a very important visit to Japan. It's not only to commemorate a life well lived in the service of his country; it's a very significant expression about the depth of the friendship between our two countries. It's always important to celebrate the links, the people-to-people links, and the former prime minister, Abe Shinzo, had a very significant personal link with former prime ministers, including prime ministers Howard, Abbott and Turnbull. We support, very much, the gravitas that's attached to the delegation having invited the former prime ministers, and I thank the Prime Minister for extending that courtesy to the former prime ministers.

I had the great fortune of having dinner earlier this week with the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, a great friend of our country, as many across the chamber know, and they will spend time with him, from meeting to meeting, and know that he is very serious about deepening the relationship even further.

The tragedy that struck with the assassination of Abe Shinzo, as we mentioned in the condolence motions, shocked the world. It's right and proper that our Prime Minister should lead the delegation, to express sympathies to the family and to the nation as a whole, and it will enhance the relationships between our two countries. On that basis, we wish him and the delegation safe travels.