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Thursday, 21 February 1985
Page: 21

Mr SINCLAIR (Leader of the National Party of Australia) —On behalf of the National Party of Australia, I join in the motion of condolence moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) to both the family of the late Mrs Indira Gandhi and to the nation of India. Her assassination brought the spectre of international terrorism into the forefront of all our thoughts. It was a death that was unnecessary and it left a heritage which, as my colleague the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) said, is not yet laid to rest.

India is a great nation. It is an extraordinarily complex nation. The leadership which Mrs Gandhi and her father before her gave and which now her son after her is giving to that nation is really an inspiration to those who can see through the democratic process an opportunity to meet the difficulties and challenges of a burgeoning population and inordinate poverty.

Mrs Indira Gandhi, whom I too knew well, was a lady of great charm. She was a very personable lady and yet one of great strength. There is little doubt that during her term India benefited enormously from the guidance that she gave to her people. I believe it a great tragedy that a figure of that ilk should have been assassinated in such a way. The nation seems, remarkably, to have been able to gather together the reins of democracy. I believe there is enormous comfort to her son in knowing that so many people admire him and the task that he is doing. I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister extend to her son an invitation to come to this country for I have little doubt that every Australian will make him very welcome.