It is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of Senator Jim Molan AO DSC.
Our nation has lost a patriot, a decent an honourable man and above all and most importantly an incredible family man.
On behalf of the Coalition, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the loves of his life, especially his devoted wife Anne, daughters Sarah, Erin and Felicity, son Michael, and five grandchildren.
Jim was a distinguished soldier and military commander, an admired politician of centre-right convictions, and a perceptive author and respected public commentator who expressed his views with courage.
Whether it was on the battlefield, in the political arena, or on the media stage, Jim was admired for his discernment, leadership and unfailingly courteous manner.
Whether you knew Jim or met him for the first time, he drew you in immediately with his warm and captivating quality. In turn, you always had Jim’s undivided attention. He always displayed generosity to the views of others, even those with whom he disagreed.
Jim joined the Australian Army upon finishing school. His military career saw him swiftly rise through the ranks to ultimately become a Major-General. He performed a variety of combat and leadership roles, serving in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany, the United States and finally in Iraq.
It was there, as the Chief of Operations for the Coalition forces, that he played a critical role in repelling insurgents and ensuring the security of Iraq’s transport and infrastructure. For his efforts, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Legion of Merit by the Australian and US governments respectively, adding to the Order of Australia he received for his earlier service in Indonesia and East Timor.
Following the Coalition’s return to government in 2013, Jim was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a Special Envoy. He was an architect of Operation Sovereign Borders and instrumental in helping to break the people smugglers business model, prevent further tragic deaths of asylum seekers at sea, and restore the integrity of Australia’s maritime security.
Jim entered politics as a Senator for New South Wales in 2017. His wealth of military experience and security knowledge saw him serve on the Joint Standing Committees for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade as well as Migration.
During his time in politics, Jim was a champion for the Liberal cause, working hard to build the Party’s grass roots membership and never shying away from espousing the relevance of Liberal values for modern Australia.
Always giving back to his community, Jim was a volunteer firefighter and rescue helicopter pilot. He did much to advance research and awareness in the areas of stillbirths, online safety and prostate cancer.
Never tiring, Jim balanced his political responsibilities with those of being a highly sought-after commentator on defence and national security issues. He regularly appeared on Sky News and podcasts, often taking the opportunity to discuss the importance of Australia developing a comprehensive National Security Strategy.
It was this long-held view which he wrote about in the final chapter of his most recent book, Danger On Our Doorstep – a candid commentary on the challenges presented by China’s rise and military build-up. Just like his earlier book, Running the War in Iraq, Jim’s prose shows the mind of a military man – one with tactical, operational and strategic insights. Jim’s writings and analysis will continue to inform and guide politicians and national security professionals well into the future.
In all that he did, Jim fought hard, decently and well. Those who knew him admired the spirit and bravery in which he battled prostate cancer following a shock diagnosis in 2021. Sadly, this was the one battle which finally defeated the stoic Jim Molan.
Jim was immensely popular and respected by his colleagues and the broader Liberal Party family. I know like me they will be grieving today and my thoughts and prayers are also with them.
May he rest in peace.
17 January 2023