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Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s mother dies at Adelaide hospice

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s mother has died.

Wong said her mother, Jane Chapman, died on Sunday.

She was a woman of “exceptional intellect and penetrating insight, of mischievous wit and endless curiosity”, Wong said on social media.

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“Most of all she was a woman of deep compassion and principle,” Wong said.

“She gave expression to her compassion through her courage and determination for justice, qualities that have steeled me through all my life’s challenges.

“Through her work, her choices, her courage and her deeds, she inspired and empowered me and so many others.”

Chapman married Chinese-Malay architect Francis Wong while he was studying in Adelaide on a scholarship under the White Australia policy, designed to limit non-British immigration.

They had two children, Penelope and Toby, who were both born in Malaysia.

When they divorced, Chapman moved back to South Australia with her children.

Toby took his own life in 2001, 10 days after his 30th birthday and on the same day Wong was elected to the senate.

Wong’s father died in May 2023.

Wong paid tribute to her mother at the International Women’s Day Breakfast in Adelaide in March, saying: “She showed me that my destiny was mine to shape.”

Wong thanked staff at Calvary Hospital’s Mary Potter Hospice in Adelaide for their compassion while looking after her mother.

Parliamentary colleagues and the public shared their condolences on her social media post.

Wong said her mother would be missed “terribly” by her friends and family.

“Mum loved me completely. And she loved her granddaughters Alexandra and Hannah beyond measure,” she said.

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