Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss has remembered former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon as a controversial leader, but one of great courage and conviction.
Mr Sharon died in hospital near Tel Aviv on Saturday aged 85, eight years after a stroke put him in a coma.
Mr Truss said Australia, alongside friends in Israel, mourned the death of the former prime minister.
“He was a man of great courage who fought bravely during Israel’s major historic wars,” Mr Truss said in a statement.
He said Mr Sharon was a controversial figure, but a leader of conviction.
“He was unflinching in his commitment to doing what he considered the right thing by the people of Israel, reshaping the political landscape to pull Israel out of the Gaza Strip in 2005,” he said.
“On behalf of the Australian government and the Australian community, I extend my condolences to Mr Sharon’s family and to the people and government of Israel.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop will represent Australia at a commemorative service for Mr Sharon on January 13.