Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne has expressed profound sadness at the passing of the great Nelson Mandela, but says the world will celebrate his life as a gift to South Africa, the world and all of humankind.
"South Africa and the world will today mourn the loss but celebrate the life of the great leader, freedom fighter and President, Nelson Mandela," Senator Milne said.
"Nelson Mandela inspired people around the world with great courage, commitment and personal sacrifice.
"As a global symbol for peace, for freedom and for the struggle for liberation from suppression and violence, Nelson Mandela will live forever in the hearts and minds of Australians, just as he will for people across the globe.
"The world will be united in mourning for Nelson Mandela and in celebration of this great life. I express my own personal gratitude for Mr Mandela's personal sacrifices and gifts to humankind.
"I had the immense privilege of being in the audience when Nelson Mandela addressed the World Parks Congress in 2004. I was humbled to be in the presence of one of the greatest and wisest leaders of the century.
"Mr Mandela's message at the time was: 'A sustainable future for humankind depends on a caring partnership with nature as much as anything else.'
"He was also passionate about including young people in decision making, saying: 'Without the involvement of the youth, the future cannot be secured.'
"His passion for education was a great source of personal inspiration for me as a teacher and a parliamentarian - 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.'
"I can remember distinctly the day 11th February 1990. I watched on television, just as millions did around the world, as Mr Mandela finally walked from prison having served 27 years of his life behind bars for standing against apartheid.
"On behalf of the Australian Greens I send best wishes and thoughts for Mr Mandela's family, the people of South Africa, and to all those who will mourn this great loss to humanity."