8th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– During the ad journment I received a return to the writ issued by Mr. Deputy Speaker for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Maranoa in the place of the Hon. James Page, deceased, indorsed with a certificate of the election of James Aitchison Johnston Hunter, Esq.
I announce, too, with very deep regret the death of the honorable member for West Sydney, the Hon. Thomas Joseph Ryan, K.C., which occurred on the 1st August. Mr. Ryan endeared himself to every member of the House by his genial personality and his amiable disposition. On the 8th August I issued a writ for the election of a member to serve in his place for the electoral division of West Sydney, and it has been returned indorsed with a certificate of the election of William Henry Lambert.
Mr. HUNTER and Mr. LAMBERT made and subscribed the oath of allegiance,
– During the recess the following letter was received by Mr. Deputy Speaker: -
Hughenden, 14th August, 1921. J. M. Chanter, Esq.,
Kindly accept roy thanks for your kind message of sympathy in my sad bereavement. I have received the bound copy of the resolution; many thanks for same.
– Just before I entered the chamber this afternoon, the secretary to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor), who, I am sorry to say, is still seriously indisposed, handed to me on his behalf the following letter: -
It is with sincere regret that I am unable, on account of ill-health, to be present to-day to pay a tribute to the memory of our most respected comrade, Mr. T. J. Ryan, who was so suddenly taken from us.
The news of his death was a great shock to me. When I last left him to carry on my duties as leader during my health trip to New Guinea I little dreamt that it was our last farewell. His health then appeared to be all that could be desired.
My departure from, and return to, Australia were marked with two sad occurrences. The day I was to leave Brisbane I received word from the late Mr. Ryan that our dear friend, Jim Page, had passed away. The day before I arrived in Brisbane on my return trip I received the sad news by wireless that Tom Ryan himself had died at Barcaldine.
I was privileged to have had the opportunity of attending the funeral of our late comrade and of hearing the spendid address given by Archbishop Duhig, at Brisbane, on our late friend.
I was not so well acquainted with the late Mr. T. J. Ryan until he entered Federal politics. I saw then that he was a tower of strength to the Labour movement. At different periods allegations were made in certain sections of the press that he and I did not work harmoniously together, but I can truthfully say that such was not the case. On the contrary, the late Mr. Ryan and I were very friendly disposed towards one another, and he was ever ready to give me his valuable assistance, and advice.
It will, I hope, be comforting to his dear wife to know that her husband died fighting in the interests of the Labour movement in the district which first sent him to Parliament. He had travelled over 2,000 miles to speak on behalf of the Labour candidate when, without warning, he was stricken down with pneumonia, and I am told that he fought gamely to the end to win back his health and strength, but it was not to be.
To Mrs. Ryan and family I tender my deepest sympathy. She was ever by his side assisting him in his work. Our hearts go out to her in her great loss, and I am sure that she is comforted in the knowledge that his life had been devoted to the welfare of the people.
– I offer you, Mr. Speaker, the warm felicitations of the House on your return to duty. We are delighted to have you with us again, and hope that your health may continue as good as it appears to-day, and that for a long time you may .preside over the business of the House with that dignity urbanity, fairness, and justice which havecharacterized your rule in the past. “ May your bow abide in strength “ fori many years, and may you long adorn the position you now occupy.
I wish to make mention, also, of the obligations of the House to Mr. Deputy Speaker. During your absence, sir, Mr. Chanter discharged the onerous duties of the Speakership in the manner that we associate with the right conduct of affairs in this Chamber. He performed his task in full measure, and we therefore felt your absence the less. The House is under a deep debt of gratitude to Mf. Chanter for his services as Deputy Speaker.
– I wish to express to the right honorable the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) my great appreciation of the kind words of welcome which he has extended to me on my resuming my official duties in this House after a long and somewhat severe illness. I should like also to take this opportunity of thanking honorable members on all sides of the House for their very kind expressions of sympathy with me during that trying period, and to say how much I appreciate their kindness. I wish further to express my appreciation of the work which was performed by the Deputy Speaker (the Hon. J. M. Chanter) and by the Temporary Chairmen of Committees in relieving him of a great deal of the arduous work in connexion with the consideration of the Tariff. I again thank the House for the welcome afforded to me this afternoon.
– It is my painful duty to merve -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the appalling disaster which recently occurred in the Mount Mulligan Colliery, and its sincere sympathy with the bereaved relatives of those who lost their lives.
Thre is little one can add to this motion. We were all impressed with the tearfulness of this disaster, which resulted in the loss of so many valuable lives Seventy-four persons, while actually engaged in the discharge of their daily occupation, were sent into eternity without a moment’s warning. In the face of such happenings, we stand appalled, and can only hope that some gr eat. and benevolent design is in process of working out, the meaning of which will in time be unfolded to us. This it is almost impossible to realize at the moment, and in the circumstances all we can do is to bow our heads before the mystery. I hope that those who have been bereaved by this terrible happening may receive the consolation and sympathy which flow out from this House to-day, as they have already done from the minds and hearts of sympathizing people outside.
This House does well to pause in its labours to record its impression of these disasters, and to send such messages of comfort and sympathy as are possible to those who suffer and are sad because of the sudden deprivation of their wageearners and those whom they have loved and honoured. I submit the motion with sincere regret at the occasion for it, and I am sure that the House will receive it sympathetically.
.- On behalf of the Opposition I desire to second the motion just moved by the right honorable the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook). We on this side extend our deep sympathy to the relatives and friends of those who suffered in the disaster that occurred in the Mount Mulligan coal mine in Queensland.
The right honorable gentleman has said that it is very difficult for us to know how these things happen, but .there is this to be said in connexion with all these happenings, that it devolves upon the Legislatures of the country to see that every precaution is taken to prevent, so far as possible, such calamities in connexion with these dangerous callings. Fortunately, they are rare in our country, but they have been sufficiently numerous during our lifetime to teach us the necessity for the greatest care in connexion with the conditions under which these callings are carried on.
I can only add that our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the relatives and friends who have been bereaved in consequence of this sad disaster. We hope that they will derive some consolation from the fact that the hearts of the people of Australia beat in deep sympathy with them in their unfortunate bereavement.
– I desire on behalf of my colleagues of the Country party and myself to associate ourselves with the. views that have been, expressed by the right honorable the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) and the Acting Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton). We extend our sympathy to the relatives of the deceased, and we cordially indorse the remarks made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition in regard to the necessity for legislating in such a. way as to make such awful happenings practically impossible.
.- May I, as one who has witnessed the scenes which followed upon more than one of these colliery disasters, add my tribute in support of .the motion, and express with the honorable gentlemen who have already spoken my sympathy with those who have been bereaved by the Mount Mulligan disaster.
I think that we should at .the same time give some expression, to our admiration of . the noble men who rushed from all parts of Queensland to do what they could in the way of rescue work. It is notable that with these dreadful happenings there is always associated the. fact that, no matter what the circumstances, men have been found ready to rush headlong, and en masse, if they were permitted, to brave the dangers attendant upon the possible rescue of men who may have been left in a mine in which a disaster has occurred.
I indorse the remark that it is high time in this country, notwithstanding all that science has done in connexion with the ventilation of mines, that the Legislature should do all that is possible to further insure the safe working of people employed in the bowels of the earth.
.- I desire to join with the other mining representatives on this side .of the House in expressing my sympathy with the motion, which has been submitted by the right honorable the Treasurer (Sir Joseph
Cook), sympathizing with the relatives of those who were victims of the disaster at Mount Mulligan. I do so especially because at least six of the victims of the disaster were Broken Hill workers and late workmates of my own in the year* before I was returned to this. House.
I am very heartily in sympathy with, and desire to emphasize, the appeal made by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, that disasters such as that which occurred at Mount Mulligan* should bring home to the various authorities in this country the vital necessity of the utmost being done to safeguard the lives of these soldiers of industry, who are continually giving their lives in one calling or another. It is only too often forgotten that this sacrifice of life is going on continuously, to a greater or less extent, in every industry in the country. It is only disasters such as that which occurred at Mount Mulligan which bring home to us, in a special way, the necessity of doing whatever may be done to preserve the lives of the people engaged in carrying on our industries. I again express my heartfelt sympathy with those who have been bereaved by this awful disaster, and I hope that because of it action will be taken to prevent disasters of such a character in the future.
.- As a representative of one of the largest gold mining districts in Australia, I wish to add my expression of sympathy on behalf of tb.3 many miners in “Western Australia whose hearts go out to those bereaved by the Mount Mulligan disaster. Every one who has followed the occupation of mining is aware that when sympathy is most needed is the time when the miners find most friends. I trust that not only will sympathy in words be extended throughout the length and breadth of Australia, but that sympathy in the most practical sense will be shown to those -who, as the result of this disaster, are not in a position, to help themselves. I trust that honorable’ members, irrespective of political creed, will be prepared to do all that may be necesasry to prevent such occurrences in the future.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of the honorable member for West Sydney (the Hon. Thomas Joseph Ryan, K.C.), and expresses its appreciation of the energy and ability with which he devoted himself to his public duties, both as a member of this Parliament and of the Parliament of Queensland, of which State he was for some years Premier; and this House tenders its profound sympathy to his bereaved wife and family in their great sorrow.
Death has been very busy in our ranks of late years, and during the last few months has taken from us three men who were, members of this House. Two of them ha.ve literally died at the post of duty. The late honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Ryan) was engaged La a by-election campaign when he contracted the illness from which he died, and that by-election was caused by tha death of Mr. James Page, who had been a member of this House since its inception. The Angel of Death has laid his icy hand on the shoulders of these two strong men, and we shall see them no more. They left us without warning, and with appalling suddenness. Another former member of this House (Mr. Wallace) died but a few days ago, and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Tudor) is, we learn with very deep regret, a very sick man. These facts cannot but impress themselves upon the minds and hearts of the members of this Parliament. We deeply deplore the death of our late colleague, the Honorable T. J. Ryan. He had spent the greater part of his public life in another sphere, and entered this Parliament comparatively recently, where he speedily made his mark. He was, as is well known, a. political opponent of mine, but I am very glad now to say that our personal friendship was never interrupted by those political upheavals which tore us asunder and placed us on different sides of the House, and this is, I think, true of every man in this Chamber. The late Mr. Ryan had no personal enemies in this Parliament; I question if he had any outside. Political enemies he had, of course, as have all men who. stand in the forefront of party politics. This strong man while still in his grime has been taken away, and his wife and family are bowed with sorrow. The motion will, I feel sure, be supported by every honorable member, no matter to what section of the House he belongs. Ib is a tribute to his memory and an expression of sympathy with his wife and children, and we wish it to be inscribed upon the records of this House so that those who come after us may know the high regard in which this House held the late honorable member for West Sydney.
.- With very deep regret I rise to second the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and to indorse his remarks regarding our late comrade and Deputy Loader (Mr. Ryan). I desire also to extend to the relatives of the deceased statesman the deepest sympathy of the Labour movement throughout Australia. The late Honorable T. J. Ryan was with us in this Parliament for only a short time, but prior to entering Federal politics he was a member of the State Legislature in Queensland. Such were his ability and force of character that he was not long in attaining the highest position in that Parliament, and he administered the public affairs of Queensland to the satisfaction of the people. He resigned from the State Parliament to enter the wider sphere of Federal politics, and it was not long before his great natural qualifications impressed themselves upon this Chamber. As the Prime Minister has said, although honorable members may differ politically, our late comrade enjoyed the respect and friendship of every member in this place. He was a conscientious man and a fair fighter, and always had for his object the betterment of the condition of the masses. We all can admire a man who fights strenuously to give effect to principles which he believes to be in the best interests of his country. The death of Mr. Ryan is a great loss to the public life of the Commonwealth. We can ill spare such a man, and the fact that he was cut off in the very prime of life makes the blow harder to those who were associated with him in the Labour party. I remember that the late honorable gentleman, when speaking quite recently of the death of another comrade (Mr. James Page), remarked that the suddenness of these happenings should cause us to think more kindly of each other, and to be more generous one to another in the conduct of our parliamentary duties, for it might be truly said that in the midst of life we were in death. None of us who heard him give utterance to those words would have believed that in so short a time he, too, would be taken from us. Prior to the adjournment of Parliament he was in’ his place leading the Labour party: As honorable members know, he was then full of fight and vigor, but within a few days of the adjournment of the House we received news of his, death. To his widow and family we extend our deepest sympathy. Those who have the privilege of knowing Mrs. Ryan - and many of us have, because she was such a close associate of her husband, and was constantly at his side, assisting him to carry out his multitudinous duties as a parliamentarian - could not fail to observe how devoted they were to each other. The death of Mr. Ryan must have been a terrible blow to his wife and children. Our whole-hearted sympathy goes out to them, and I trust that the knowledge that the deceased gentleman was held in high esteem, and that he did so much to improve the lot of his fellowmen, will be some consolation to the bereaved relatives in their hour of trial.
.- I rise to support the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), not-only as a .tribute to the memory of our late colleague, the late Deputy Leader of the Labour party, the Hon. T. J. Ryan, but also as an expression of our sympathy with his widow and his bereaved relatives in their hour of affliction. The passing of Mr. Ryan from this House leaves a very definite blank in the Chamber. He differed fundamentally from many of us as from myself in his outlook upon many social questions, and in his political views generally, but his genial good nature, his generosity, especially to the younger members who had not been long in the House, and whom he was always so ready to assist,- and the absence of any personal bitterness from his speeches, endeared him to his fellow-members. No matter how heated may have been the arguments advanced in this chamber, the controversial atmosphere dropped from his shoulders immediately he went outside. It was, therefore, with keen personal regret all political parties heard of his death. His high culture, the eminence he had attained in his profession, his native ability, his agile mind, and his reputation as a political leader in State politics, had marked him out as one who would ultimately fill the highest position in the Commonwealth; and Australia mourns the fact that one who could have devoted such brilliant abilities to her service should be cut off in his prime. On behalf of my colleagues I extend to his widow and to his bereaved children our deepest sympathy; but, personally, I mourn the loss of a friend who within the last two years has shown me many kindnesses, and with whom I had been very closely associated.
.- I desire to have the sad honour of associating my name with the motion now before the House. Our words, said in sorrow, can add but little to the reputation of the man who has gone. If so, there is consolation in the thought that words spoken of him in anger and in the spirit of malevolence took little from his reputation, and less from his real worth while he still lived. Born of the soil of Australia, and fostered in her spirit, he chose deliberately the way in which he could best serve her, and having chosen clearly, he must have foreseen as clearly the guerdon of his labours. He came to this Parliament - it was natural ; it was in a certain sense inevitable that he should come here - from a position of leadership to a position of substantial leadership here. Yet he did not seek to lead men. Rather did men seek to follow him. He came not to serve ambition, for he had already won greater eminence. He came not to serve self-interest, for he had put behind him ease, honours, and Emoluments. He came down from the sunlit place which he had won on high Parnassus to give his hand to brothers still striving in the valley below. Great hearted son of the unconquerable race which bred him, he came through shot aud shell and fiery fusilade, and poisoned air, to serve in just measure all but himself. And now he is dead, and none may speak ill of him. Ho is’ gone, leaving those who were, and were worthy to be, within the inner circle of his high endeavour immeasurably poorer, and us the inheritors of his memory, and the sharers of his tradition, immeasurably rich. Perhaps, in the presence of the Great Unknown men make a wiser and juster estimate of their fellowmen. Perhaps, when fierce antagonisms have been resolved by death, and personal interests as fully served as may be, the living seek to come to terms with an accusing conscience which verily makes cowards of us all. The man is dead.
What profits it to cover further his name with obloquy ? Then let us all unite to praise him. Honesty is doubly the best policy when it costs nothing.
.- It is a sad occasion when one has to pay a last tribute to the memory of a comrade, but it is doubly sad to-day when that tribute -is paid to the memory of the Hon. T. .J. Ryan, a man who had not reached the zenith of his career, but had a long way to go in the public life of the country he loved so well, and yet was suddenly snatched from us by the Grim Reaper. His loyalty to’ Australia was so great that often he was misunderstood and misrepresented by political opponents, which, perhaps, was only natural in the hurly-burly of strenuous political campaigns. To his party and colleagues who were privileged to work with him hi’ loss will be a severe one. In a political campaign - in the midst of a fierce debate in this House, in the party room, or on the train - he was always the same courteous gentleman, loved by all. Our late comrade had a fine flow of language to give expression to a great mentality, and his absence from the debates of this Chamber will be keenly felt by all. Australia has lost a statesman, and the Australian Labour party one of . its greatest exponents. He was a devoted husband, an affectionate father, and a lovable comrade; and to his sorrowing wife and children our heartfelt sympathy goes out.
.- I must admit that I felt very little inclined to speak on the present occasion, but I’ could not let this motion pass without associating myself with it. It is not so much for the giant intellect - not so much for the great statesman - that 1 mourn as for the lovable personality of the man, Tom Ryan. To know him, if but for a short time, was to love him. Our party will miss his presence, his guiding hand and his help and assistance for many years to come; but it will bo a long time before the spirit of Tom Ryan will die out of the Federal Labour party. His loss, we all realize, is a great one. It is a pity, indeed, that he had to die, in view of the fact that there are so many to admit the loss his death means to Australia - to admit what a great Australian he was. I am convinced that in this generation, and perhaps for longer,
Australia has produced no greater man, no greater lover of his country, no man. -so ready and anxious to serve her as was our late departed member. To Mrs.Ryan and his children we all extend our deepest sympathy. Their loss is one we cannot realize, for he was a model husband and a model fa:her. There is consolation, however, in the hope that their loss will be made good in the .hereafter, when they are joined again in spirit. But in the final analysis the greatest loss of all is Australia’s. Democracy might well mourn when Tom Ryan died, for no better champion have Democracy and the people had in this part of the world. We of this young Commonwealth looked to him to guide its destinies for many, years to come, and by his early death the community has sustained a heavy blow. I associate myself whole-heartedly with the motion, and with every expression of sympathy that has gone forth from the representatives of Australia to those whom the late member has left behind. As a young Australian, I sympathize, perhaps, more deeply with Australia herself, because I believe, as I have said, that in the final analysis the greatest loss of all from his death is that of Australia.
.- I may be permitted to pay my tribute to the memory of the late Hon. T. J. Ryan, and express my deepest sympathy with the bereaved relatives. Words cannot adequately express my feelings when I rise to support the motion now before us.- The honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page) very correctly referred to the helpful assistance that our late comrade was always prepared to render to the younger members of this House. I myself have been the recipient of his kindly consideration in this regard; and even to others, who were, perhaps, equal with him in years of public life, he was ever ready to extend the helping hand. The latest effort I made prior to the recent short recess was one in which he kindly assisted me with valuable advice and counsel. His untimely death was to me a terrible shock. He was, when we last met, enjoying a measure of good health, the cold from, which for some time he had been suffering not giving rise to any anticipation of serious consequences. To know the late Mr. Ryan was to admire him, not only for his intellectual qualities, but for his per sonality and the strong love he had for his native country, Australia. I certainly admired the high qualities the honorable gentleman possessed, and I only hope I may in some measure be able to emulate the great example he set. He had all the merits of a statesman, and I repeat the hope that I may in some degree be able to follow his example on behalf of the country I so dearly love and the people I desire to serve.
.- I desire to pay a personal tribute of sorrow and regret in respect of the loss which Australia has sustained by the death of the Honorable Thomas Joseph Ryan. I was not as intimately acquainted with the late leader of Labour as were many other honorable members on this side of the House, but I had known of him long before his advent to the Federal sphere - as had every other working man and woman throughout the land. But, having met and intimately known the man himself - although for a comparatively short period - I can only say that to meet and to know him was to realize the extent to which human depravity could go with regard to the manner in which he was maligned and misrepresented in his public life. Apart from his intellectual attainments, and from his personal abilities, the late Mr. Ryan will live in the history of this country - at any rate, in the memories of the working men and women of Australia - as the man who stood out as a beacon light, as a tower of strength, through the greatest crisis with which this country has ever been faced. The manner of his leadership in those days will have done more to perpetuate his memory, more to cause his memory to live in the hearts as well as the minds of all those of the working class of this country, than can be expected of all the resolutions of regret and sympathy passed by such assemblages as this. My heartfelt sympathy goes to the sorrowing widow and others bereft. But, I repeat, the greatest memorial raised to the late Thomas Joseph Ryan will consist in the recollection of the stand which he took when he led Australia’s working class through the greatest crisis in the country’s history.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Motion (by Mr. Hughes) agreed to -
That Mr. Speaker be requested to transmit to Mrs. Ryan the foregoing resolution and a eopy of the speeches delivered thereon.
Orderof Business : Late Mr.c. Wallace: Congratulations to Mr. Speaker.
– I move- -
That, as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Honorable T. J.Ryan, this House do now adjourn.
Perhaps I may be permitted to embrace the opportunity to state that the order of business for to-morrow will be the delivery of the Budget statement by the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), and to announce that, on the following day, I shall make a statement in regard to the work done at the Imperial Conference.
– Will the right honorable gentleman have anything to say in reference to the Washington Congress?
– Did I not make myself clear?
– Then I shall do so later on.
– Proceedings in this chamber this afternoon,centring,as they have done, around the death of the late honorable member for West Sydney (the Honorable T. J. Ryan), have, I think, overshadowed the death of another who also, at one period, represented the constituency of West Sydney, and whose widow and children are suffering in the same manner as the bereaved relatives of the late Mr. Ryan. The customs of the House, I understand, do not permit official cognisance of the decease of one who was not, at the time of his death, a member of the Federal Legislature; but I desire briefly to express sentiments which will be common to all those honorable members who were privileged to meet and to know the late Mr. Wallace during the short period of his membership qf this House. Hia decease, which I, personally, deplore, has removed from the circle of the many who knew him a courteous and open-hearted gentleman.
.- I am pleased that the honorable member for Illawarra (Mr. Hector Lamond) has made use of this opportunity to refer to the death of another of our comrades. With the late Mr. “ Con.” Wallace I had the privilege of personal friendship. I was closely associated with him long before his entry into public life, and, of course, throughout the comparatively brief period of his representation of West Sydney in the House of Representatives. He was one who possessed every manly quality, including those of a good citizenj of a good husband, and of a good father. Having served his country in this place to the best of his ability, he also has been called away, to obtain the reward. - I trust - which awaits meritorious public service in this earthly sphere. But, while he has departed, a sorrowing widow and very young family remain ; and, unhappily, they are not in the best position,, financially. I deeply sympathize with the bereaved family, as I feel sure do all honorable members.
and of the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony). I regarded the late Mr. Wallace as one of my closest friends. I had the deepest admiration for the force and consistent earnestness with which he represented the cause of those for whom he spoke and worked. I was always struck with his unfailing courtesy, and with the generosity which he showed to all with whom he came into contact, no matter how widely they might have differed from him politically. . I cordially indorse the feeling utterances of other honorable members, and express to his sorrowing family my deepest regret and sympathy.
.- On behalf of honorable members on this side of the House I wish to take this, the first opportunity which has presented itself, to say how pleased are honorable members, of the Opposition to see you, Mr. Speaker, again in occupancy of your honoured position, and restored to health. We trust that you will continue to enjoy your present good health, and so be able to carry on your strenuous duties for very many days to come.
May I say, as a party colleague of the late Mr. “Con.” Wallace, that I deeply regret his death. Speaking for those honorable members whom I represent this afternoon, I extend the warmest sympathy to his widow and young children. I am especially sorry to learn from the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Mahony) that the bereaved have been left in very unfortunate circumstances.
– Before putting the motion, I desire to thank the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. Charlton) for his generous expressions concerning myself. I regret thatthe honorable member was not accorded an earlier opportunity of speaking.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.58 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1921/19210928_reps_8_97/>.