Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Saturday said former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's execution was significant because he was given a proper trial and dealt with according to Iraqi law.
Saddam Hussein, born on April 28, 1937, was deposed by the U.S.- led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was hanged on Saturday morning after he was handed over to the Iraqi authorities for execution.
"The real significance is that this man has been given a proper trial, due process was followed," Howard told reporters.
"There was an appeal that was dismissed and he has been dealt with in accordance with the law of Iraq," he said.
"I believe there is something quite heroic about a country that is going through the pain and the suffering that Iraq is going through, yet still extends due process to somebody who was a tyrant and brutal suppresser and murderer of his people," he added.
"That is the mark of a country that is trying against fearful odds to embrace democracy and it is a country that deserves sympathy and support and not to be abandoned," he said.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Australian government will continue to support the people of Iraq following the execution of Saddam Hussein.
Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd, leader of Australia's largest opposition party, the Labor party, said Saddam Hussein deserved severe punishment for his crimes against humanity, but not the death penalty.
"Labor has a universal position of opposition to the death penalty both at home and abroad," Rudd said in a statement.
"It is not possible in our view to be selective in the application of this policy," he said.
He also doubts Saddam's death will have any impact on the deadly sectarian unrest in Iraq.
"Labor questions whether the execution of Saddam Hussein will in any way reduce sectarian and political violence in Iraq, which has already brought that country to the brink of civil war," he said.