House of Representatives
25 November 1913

5th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker took the chair at3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Minister for Home Affairs · ParramattaPrime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs · LP

– Feelings of common humanity prompt us to a surcease in our parliamentary strife to enable us to lay a tribute of respect and esteem on the grave of a’ late comrade. I received this morning the news of the death of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. The event was entirely unexpected. Only a day or two ago I was talking with Mr. Frazer regarding a visit to the Mother Country which he contemplated. He wondered whether he could get away, and I told him. not to worry, offering him a pair during his absence. Therefore, this morning, the news of his untimely decease came to me as a tremendous shock. The Grim Reaper appears to take no account of the promise of life, nor of other circumstances, and one stands dumb in the presence of these mysterious visitations. Mr. Frazer” and I were always, I am glad to say, on terms of the utmost friendship. No matter how fierce the political fight might rage in this House, it never disturbed, even for a moment, the private friendship between us, and to-day I make willing mention of the many abilities for Parliamentary service which he possessed I have often said that there was scarcely an abler Parliamentarian in the House. He was in every way a worthy foeman, and while he hit hard he hit always above the belt. In my judgment, he was a most valuable public man. The loss to my friends on the other side will’ be great, as is the loss to the whole Parliament, but they will feel it especially, because their late comrade had peculiar qualities of the greatest value in ordinary party warfare. We cannot forget the distinguished public service that he rendered to the State when filling the office of Postmaster-General. Altogether his life was a very full one. Preferment and distinction came to him at an early age, but they were none the less worthily won by his qualities of heart and mind. and his concentration of effort on whatever he took in hand. I feel that a most valuable career has been lost to us. Although we do not see all the plan of life, I have no doubt that a kind Providence orders these things for some wise end, and when they occur we can only bow in submission. Our feelings to-day are those of intense sorrow. Personally, I confess to feeling deprived of a comrade who, although opposed to’ me politically, always behaved towards me as a nian and a gentleman. I- am sure that that feeling is shared by the House. I therefore move, if I may be permitted to do so without notice -

Thai this House places upon record its high appreciation of the great public services of the late member for Kalgoorlie, the Honorable C. E. Frazer, and tenders ils sincere sympathy to the bereaved widow of an eminent citizen, whose untimely decease is a great loss to the Commonwealth.

I would only add one word more - a word of sympathy and kindly feeling to his widow in her time of trial. She was, I know, devoted to the interests of her husband to the fullest possible extent. Living, as I did, in the same hotel -with them, I had often opportunities of witnessing her devotion and care, and her efforts to make her husband’s life useful and happy. Our hearts go out to her in sorrow for the loss that has fallen on her and upon us.


– T take it that it is the desire of the House, in the sad circumstances of the present occasion, that our ordinary procedure shall be departed from, and the Prime Minister allowed to move his motion without having given notice of it.

Honorable Members. - Hear, heart

Wide Bay

.- I second the motion which has been moved, and so supported bv the Prime Minister, lt was my privilege to be connected with the late member for Kalgoorlie even more intimately than was the Prime Minister, and I indorse all that he has said concerning Mr. Frazer’s merits and high qualities.

I saw him yesterday, on what was to be his death-bed, and this morning arrived only just too late to be with him in his last hour, when, in my opinion, a life of great promise to the public of Australia ebbed away. Mr. Frazer was a singularly able young man, and showed his merits from the earliest days. He left his home in Victoria at the age of fifteen years to go to the gold-fields of Western Australia. At that time, Kalgoorlie was attracting multitudes of the most capable men, and it is a great tribute to Mr. Frazer’s merits that, at the age of twenty-three, he won a Beat in this National Parliament in competition with the able men who in his constituency had - similar aspirations. As the Prime Minister has said, he assiduously attended to his public duties, advancing his political views with a vigour, energy, and capacity that won the respect even of those who did not agree with them. That is just as it should be. He not only made a name for himself in the House and the country, but did great service to the Commonwealth. Of his finer qualities, those who were not so nearly associated with him as I was can know hut little. He never, apart ‘from his speeches in Parliament, spoke an ill word, and never harboured an ill thought, of an opponent. Of such he spoke kindly in private. I have known him to defend them in private when he thought that to be necessary ; and in that way he showed himself a man whom we, whatever our political views, can all honour.

In Ministerial office, I know, Mr. Frazer worked hard. I fear that the arduous and onerous duties that fall upon Postmasters-General rather undermined his health, even at his time of life. But he attended to his duties as a Minister, as he did to his duties as a member, wiLh the same energy and capacity that we would expect from one who devoted himself to his country’s services.

I join with the Prime Minister in conveying our sympathy to her upon whom the blow must fall as it can fall upon no other person. She has lost a partner in life; we have lost a member in this House. The place here will be filled, and no doubt filled by a capable representative of the people; but the place of the husband - a devoted husband, in my opinion - cannot be filled; and . I am sure that the feelings of each and every one .of us go out to Mrs. Frazer in her sudden and sad bereavement. It will be our privilege to follow the remains of the late Charles E. Frazer from this place to-morrow, and I am glad that the Government are kindly co-operating in allowing that honour and respect to be paid to his memory. I feel that, when we pay that lasE tribute, we shall do honour to one who served his country faithfully during the time he had the opportunity to represent the people. May we all during our parliamentary career do likewise, acting vigorously and earnestly, but always recognising that those to whom we are opposed hold as sacredly and as sincerely their political views as we hold ours-. I beg to second and support the motion- so appropriately proposed by the Prime Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

Motion (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to-

That Mr. Speaker . be requested to transmit the foregoing resolution, and a copy of the addresses delivered thereon, to Mrs. Frazer.

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Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta-

Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs) [3.13]. - I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

As . regards the funeral arrangements, I understand that the . remains of Mr. Frazer will be removed from this House at eleven o’clock to-morrow, and that full provision will be made for the accommodation of honorable members.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 3.15 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 November 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.