Acting PM pays tribute to Sharon

Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss has paid tribute to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as controversial but courageous leader.

In a statement, Mr Truss described Mr Sharon as ''a man of great courage, who fought bravely during Israel’s major historic wars."

"He was a controversial figure but undeniably a leader of conviction," Mr Truss said.

"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.''

Mr Truss extended the nation's condolences to Mr Sharon's family and the people and government of Israel.

Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said Mr Sharon would be remembered as "a giant in the history of Israel."

"In his final years as Prime Minister, Sharon made great strides in the Israel-Palestine peace process, representing a courageous shift in his politics in favour of a two-state solution," Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

"Ariel Sharon embodied fearless leadership through trying times and spent his life serving Israel and its people," she said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will represent Australia at a memorial service for Mr Sharon on Monday.

This story Acting PM pays tribute to Sharon first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.