Parliament pauses to remember last HMAS Perth survivor
The last survivor of HMAS Perth, Frank McGovern, has died at the age of 103.
The World War II veteran passed away at the Randwick Rehabilitation Hospital in Sydney's east overnight.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the federal parliament on Thursday he met Mr McGovern just before Anzac Day in April, and was honoured to share a beer with him.
"He was a Roosters fan, so he gave me curry about rugby league and how Easts was a better team," the prime minister said.
"We salute his life today, he is gone but like all who serve our great country in uniform, in the past and today, it will never be forgotten," he said.
Frank's brother Vincent was among the 357 soldiers killed when the cruiser HMAS Perth was attacked by a Japanese convoy in 1942.
The survivors including Frank became prisoners of war, working for years to build the infamous Burma-Siam railway.
He then survived an an American torpedo attack on Japanese transport vessel Rakuyo Maro that killed 1559 PoWs, with US forces unaware that Allied prisoners were aboard.
Recaptured by the Japanese after three days in a lifeboat, Frank was once again forced into labour, working at the factories at Kawasaki camp in Tokyo before it was bombed by US forces.
Moved to another camp, he was injured when it was bombed but continued to work with a fractured spine.
He returned to Australia in 1945 after the US liberated the Japanese camps.
Mr Albanese said the country had lost a remarkable man.
"An extraordinary Australian as part of our greatest generation, a man of deep modesty, humour and powerful optimism."
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Australians should never forget the sacrifices of people like Frank.
"People like Frank McGovern would do it all over again for this country, for those people that they love and the country that they cherish.
"I want to pay tribute to Frank to his fallen comrades."