I was saddened yesterday to learn the news of the passing of a great Indigenous Australian, Sam Watson.
I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to his family, friends and his community. We have lost a remarkable man whose lasting influence is felt across the country.
Sam was a courageous advocate for justice here in Australia and around the world. He was never afraid of tackling some of the most complex issues that Aboriginal people faced, and continue to face, and worked tirelessly to bring these to the fore.
I engaged his wise advice and guidance in my early years as a young man.
He helped bring about a fundamental and permanent shift in Indigenous policy at the local, state and federal level through his ability to bring people together for a united cause.
He was respected by all sides of politics due to his clear commitment and passion to better the lives of Aboriginal people.
This is shown in his more recent work with Link-Up Qld which has seen many affected by the stolen generation reunited with their families and culture.
He was dependable, always present, and had a way of taking people on the journey. The importance of his life cannot be understated and Sam will be remembered for improving the lives of generations of Indigenous Australians.