House of Representatives
26 March 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The House of Representatives on. iiic 24th August, 1923, adjourned until a dato and an hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, and notified by him to each honorable member.

The House met at 3 p.m., pursuant to such notification.

Mr. Speaker (lit. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair and read prayers.

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Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT

(By leave) - I announce to the House with deep regret the death on the 14th September last of Senator the Hon. E. D. Millen, and I move -

That this House records its sincere- regret at the death of Senator the Hon. Edward Davis Millen, who represented the State of Now South Wales in the Senate since the. inauguration of the Parliament and for many years held the position of a Minister of State for tho Commonwealth, .ami this House expresses its appreciation of the energy and ability with which he devoted himself to his public duties, and tenders its profound sympathy to his bereaved wife and family in their great sorrow.

The resolution which I have the honour to move affects’ us all profoundly. Shortly after the adjournment last year this Parliament suffered a very severe loss in the death of one. of its ablest members, who, after a serious illness lasting for several months, passed away on the 14th September.

The late senator was one of the most prominent public men in the Commonwealth, and a friend of every member of tho Parliament. Ho was one of the few legislators elected to the first Federal Parliament who had held their places continuously since its first sitting.

Senator E. D. Millen was still some years from completing the span of life allotted to man by the Psalmist. It is a sad but incontrovertible fact that death is very ready to claim those who give their whole time and energy to their oountry’s service. This has been especially noticeable in the last few years, and we are reminded to-day of too many similar mournful occasions when we have gathered to render a tribute to the memory of men, who for their devotion to duty have paid the penalty of a too early death.

Senator Millen entered the Parliament of New South Wales in 1894, and,except for a few months in 1898-99, was continuously in State or Federal politics for twenty-eight and a half years. He was elected to the Federal Senate at its inception in 1901, and sat in it without a break until the date of his death. During that period he held high office on many occasions, and was almost continuously either the Leader of the Semite or the Leader of the Opposition in that Chamber.

He was Minister for Defence in 1914, on the outbreak of the war, and in that position was largely responsible for the equipping of the first Australian Force for overseas. When the problem of the repatriation of our soldiers on their return to this country had to be faced, it was to him that the task was intrusted. In 1917 he became Minister for Repatriation, and to the duties of this office he gave the whole of his energy, experience, and ability. It is mainly as the result of his unremitting labours and untiring efforts in the interests of the soldiers who had fought for Australia, that we are to-day able to point proudly to the fact that we have solved the repatriation problem more successfully than has any other country, and that we have rendered to those who served us in our hour of need more just and equitable treatment.I had intended to quote the resolution which I understand has been passed by the executive of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, expressing their admiration of the qualities posssesed by the late Senator ; but as, unfortunately, I have not yet received it, I cannot include it in this address, though I. am sure that its inclusion would have been approved by the House,

During his long career Senator E. D. Millen also represented Australia overseas, and his work at the first meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva is remembered to-day.

His wide experience of men and judgment of p.affairs was of great benefit to this country during his life, and is a great loss to it now that he is dead. His grasp of legislative detail, his great ability, his wide experience, and his personal popularity, combined to make him a representative public man of a very high order.

We mourn him as a great Australian. We express our deepest sympathy with his bereaved relatives, and trust that their sorrow may be lessened by the knowledge that he gave his life to the service of his country, and that his memory will be revered by all who had the privilege of knowing him.


.- I desire to associate myself with the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister. The late Senator E. D. Millen represented the State of New South Wales in this Parliament from the inception of Federation. That fact bears eloquent testimony of the confidence the people reposed in him. He was able and conscientious, and was held in respect by all shades of political opinion throughout the Commonwealth. No doubt the heavy responsibilities of office, andhis untiring effort to faithfully discharge them, gradually undermined his health and brought about his untimely death, which is a great national loss. Our sympathy goes out to his sorrowing wife and’ family. May they derive some consolation from the knowledge that their beloved husband and father has left a record which will be ever remembered by the people of Australia.

Questionresolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

Motion (by Mr. Bruce) agreed to -

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

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Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT

– As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Senator E. D. Millen, I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 3.8 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 March 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.