Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

31 July 2009

Speech by Trade Minister Simon Crean at Craig Senger's Memorial Service

Parliament House, Canberra

Here in the Great Hall of the national Parliament, we gather to pay grateful thanks to one of the nation's most promising servants. To mourn the passing, but to remember his contribution; to celebrate his achievements at such a very young age.

Public service is a noble cause. It's pursued at its best by those people of conviction and passion. Craig had this in spades.

Tragically, on the morning of 17 July in Jakarta - pursuing that passion, that conviction, on behalf of the nation - as fate would have it he chose the wrong seat at the table.

Craig became the first Australian diplomat killed in a terrorist attack. Craig was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Albert Senger. He was also a trade commissioner in the '50s. Albert, like all of us, is part of Craig's wider family - it's the trade family - so immediate family who follow in the tradition, they hold a special place of pride.

Craig, as we've heard, was born, educated and married Kate here in Canberra. Whilst Canberra was his home, the world was his challenge. Jakarta should have been the first of many major postings. Tragically, it was his last.

He'd worked hard to better his skills, and successfully. He had become - to lead the mining and resources team for South-East Asia - all of the challenge, all of the passion.

Tragically also Craig's death highlights the risk of many Australian officials working overseas. Protecting our officials abroad has no greater priority for our government, as does our determination to bring the perpetrators to justice.

My heart goes out to Kate, with whom I had the opportunity to speak last week, but by phone. Kate, I was struck not only by your love for him, but your resolve and your grace under such enormous pressure.

To Craig's mum and his sister, Cate, I also extend my heartfelt condolences. The fact is no mother should have to bury their son.

But on behalf of the Australian Government, I extend my deepest condolences.