It is with great sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to one of Australia's great public servants and public diplomacy professionals, my friend and mentor the late Gregson Edwards, who recently passed away just shy of his 70th birthday. Gregson began his career in 1963 as a bush journalist. He had a 30-year career crafting Australia's image abroad, representing Australia in missions around the world, including in The Hague, Beijing and Tokyo, as director of information for the new Australian Federal Police, and, ultimately, as director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's overseas cultural relations program.
It was during his time when he was in Beijing, after the atrocities in Tiananmen Square, that Gregson smuggled footage of the massacre across the border to Hong Kong. He did this because he knew what was right. He did this without any concern for himself. His only concern was justice for those lives lost in Tiananmen Square.
Gregson lived a full life. He was always thinking of others and always thinking of the greater good. Australia is incredibly grateful for his enormous contribution, Canberra is incredibly grateful for his contribution and I am incredibly grateful for his contribution. I send my deepest condolences to his family; his wife, Maria; his sons, Bredun and McLean; his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth; and grandchildren Molly, Bea and Aston. Vale Gregson Edwards.