15th Parliament · 1st Session
The House of Representatives, on the 8th December, 1938, adjourned until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, and notified by him to each honorable member. The House met pursuant to such notification.
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. 6. J. Bell) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I. have to announce that I have received a return to the “writ which I issued on the 10th November, 1938, for the election of a member . to serve for the electoral division of “Wakefield, in the State of South Australia, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the Honorable C. A. S. Hawker, and that by the endorsement on the writ it is certified that Sydney McHugh has been elected in pursuance of the said writ.
Mr. McHugh made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
– It is with the most profound regret that I, as Prime Minister, make to honorable members the formal announcement of the lamented death of the late Prime Minister, the Right Honorable J. A. Lyons.
The Australian nation, shocked and grieved by the suddenness of its great leader’s passing, has laid at his feet a tribute such as few princes could claim. It remains for the Parliament, in the surroundings where he was held in particular affection and honour, and where his great services to his countrymen were best revealed, to record as a body the crushing sorrow which every member has felt as an individual.
Members of the Government are aware of the great responsibilities with which Mr. Lyons was burdened in recent months, but did not suspect for a moment that these cares were bringing him to his grave. If those who had spoken and worked with him daily learned with such deep shock of the course his illness had taken, what must be the feelings of honorable members generally, who last saw him as he stood in his place uttering his genial wishes to all of us for the year which was to find him gone from our midst before the dawn of Easter ?
It was after a momentous series of Cabinet meetings - he had also, in the previous week, presided over a meeting of Premiers at which the National Council was formed - that Mr. Lyons left Canberra on the evening of the 4th April. It was his intention to fulfil on the following day the traditional duty of a national leader of speaking at the official opening of the Royal Show in Sydney. Unfortunately, in the course of the journey he became ill, and was later admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital with what then appeared to be a severe chill, but which proved upon full examination to be a fatal condition of the heart. We were to learn on the 6th April, less than two days after many of us had sat with him dealing with questions of the utmost consequence to Australia, that he was sick beyond hope of recovery. I was one of those who remained at the hospital through the night, hourly expecting the end, doing what we could to sustain, though we could neither aid nor console, the valiant woman who supported her husband to the last. At 10.40 a.m. on the following morning, when worshippers were gathering to pay their homage on the Day of the Crucifixion, Joseph Aloysius Lyons completed the sacrifice he had made for his country. At 11 a.m., it was my solemn task to announce over the whole of the broadcasting network that he had passed away.
We all know that by his death Australia has lost a distinguished son and leader. Joseph Lyons had a firm belief that Australia was destined for national greatness, and he worked under the inspiration of that belief. He believed, too, that his fellow countrymen were capable of fulfilling the high destiny he had in mind for Australia. And the people of Australia responded to his leadership in a most compelling manner, for they had faith in him. He was the friend of the Australian people whom he so gallantly served. That fact may, perhaps, explain why Joseph Lyons has made such a distinguished mark upon our national history.
It is not for me, at this time, to assess his place among the statesmen who have played a conspicuous part in the development of the Commonwealth - that task must be left to the historian - but I am certain that whatever is written in the future about this man, none may deny that he gave of the fullness of his talents to the country that he loved.
Even the formal record of the public services of Mr. Lyons in the Parliament of Tasmania and in the Parliament of the Commonwealth conveys some indication of the contribution which he made to our national life.
Mr. Lyons entered public life when aged 29 years. He was elected to the House of Assembly, Tasmania, for the electorate of Wilmot, in April, 1909. His death occurred on the 7th April, 1939, at which time he was Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the representative in the Commonwealth Parliament of the electorate of Wilmot, Tasmania. It will thus be seen that he was engaged continuously in public life from April, 1909, to April, 1939- a period of 30 years.
This period of service in the two parliaments was divided as follows: Mr. Lyons was a member of the Tasmanian Parliament for more than twenty years - from April, 1909, to September, 1929, when he resigned. He then contested successfully the federal electorate of Wilmot, and he was re-elected at the general elections of 1931, 1934 and 1937. He was thus a member of the Commonwealth Parliament from the 12th October, 1929, until the 7th April, 1939 - a period of nine and a half years.
We should note, too, that Mr. Lyons was Prime Minister of the Commonwealth for a longer period than any of his predecessors, excepting the Eight Honorable William Morris Hughes. Mr. Lyons became Prime Minister on the 6th January, 1932, and he held that office at the time of his death on the 7th April, 1939. Had he lived until the 23rd April - next Sunday - he would have achieved the longest period of service in that high office of any of our Prime Ministers.
The services of Joseph Aloysius Lyons to Australia and to the British Commonwealth of Nations were accorded public recognition by His Majesty the King on the 10th June, 193:2, when he was made a Privy Councillor, and on the 23rd June, 1936, when he was made a Companion of Honour.
The portfolios held by Mr. Lyons in the Tasmanian Parliament were as follows : -
Treasurer, Minister for Education and Minister forRailways - April, 1914, to April, 1916.
Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Railways- October, 1923, to March, 1924
Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Mines - March, 1924, to August, 1927
Premier and Treasurer - August, 1927, to June, 1928
The portfolios and other offices of distinction held by Mr. Lyons in the Commonwealth Parliament were as follows : -
Postmaster-General and Minister for Works and Railways - 22nd October, 1929, to 4th February, 1931
Acting Treasurer - 25th August, 1930, to 10th January, 1931
Prime Minister - 6th January, 1932, to 7 th April, 1939.
Treasurer - 6th January, 1932, to 3rd October, 1935
Minister for Commerce - 3rd to 13th October, 1932
Minister for Health - 8th November, 1935, to 26th February, 1936
Minister for Repatriation - 8th November, 1935, to 6th February, 1936
Vice-President of the Executive Council 8th November, 1935, to 29th November, 1937.
Minister for Defence - 20th to 30th November, 1937
Mr. Lyons was Leader of the Opposition from the 7th May, 1931, to the expiration of the Twelfth Parliament.
At the invitation of the British Government, Mr. Lyons attended His Majesty’s Jubilee Celebrations in 1935, and in that year he was the leader of a ministerial trade delegation to England. In 1937, he was the leader of the ministerial delegation which went to London to represent the Commonwealth at the coronation of King George VI. and to attend the Imperial Conference. He was a member of the Empire Coronation Commission, 1936-37.
That is the formal outline of his unique service. We mourn to-day a great Empire patriot and a great Christian gentleman. To me, he was also a loyal friend and an able colleague.
The sympathy of the whole nation and, indeed, of the whole Empire, is with Dame Enid and her family. The extraordinary tributes of affection which have come from such a wide circle may be some solace to her in her grief for a wonderful husband, whose sacrifices she shared in the high interpretation of their common ideal of public service.
The parliamentary and political achievements of Joseph Aloysius Lyons will stand for all time as an historical record. But this generation will always remember as personalities the marvellous pair who spent themselves unsparingly during so many years, and especially during these last seven years, in serving their country. They made an appeal to the fundamentals of human society and contacts. They had the common touch, and understood the needs, wishes and aspirations of the poorest and simplest of their fellows. No matter in what exalted circles they were called upon to move, their affection and understanding of the ordinary man and woman remained lively and unchanged. They spoke to the hearts as much as to the heads of the people, and at a time when immense sacrifices and extraordinary individual effort were necessary on the part of the people of Australia to meet the crisis of the depression.
Their unfailing courage, their cheerfulness in all circumstances, their constant endeavour to ameliorate the conditions of the women and children of the sick and the poor, their aptness in expressing the mind of the common man, their loyalties to the ideals of service, assure for them a special place in the hearts and memories of the people. They could not have interpreted better than they have the Divine injunction : “ Let your light shine before men “. It is my hope and prayer that many of us will pattern thought and action upon their example.
We in this House have lost a colleague and a guide; this place will know Joseph Lyons no more. But we will not think of him as having gone from us; rather should we remember that he lived - that he was the man he was - and thank God for “ every remembrance “ of him.
As the poet Lowell said -
His magic was not far to seek,
He was so human! Whether strong or weak,
Far from his kind he neither sank nor soared,
But sate an equal guest at every board:
No beggar ever felt him condescend,
Mo prince presume; for still himself he bare
At manhood’s simple level, and where’er
He met a stranger, there he left a friend.
I” move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of the Right Honorable Joseph Aloysius Lyons, Companion of Honour, for more than seven years Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, places on record its appreciation of his distinguished public service, and tenders to his wife, Dame Enid Lyons, her family, and all relatives, its profound sympathy in their sad bereavement.
– I second the motion. It would be very difficult to add anything to the splendid tribute which the right honorable the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page) has paid to the memory of Mr. Lyons; but, as Leader of the Opposition, and as one who was opposed to the prime ministership of the late right honorable gentleman, and was not in agreement with his political activities during the last few years, I feel that I can quite appropriately say that on this side of the House there is the deepest grief at the death of the Right Honorable Joseph Aloysius Lyons. With his widow and fatherless children we have the very deepest sympathy, and we tender to them our condolences in the great bereavement which they have suffered. We can pay tribute, too, to the work and life of the late Prime Minister. All controversies are now not only hushed; they are ended. Political disagreements are things which are of no avail. This mau, we believe, served his country as he felt he should serve it. We are prepared to pay to him the homage due to a fearless and upright citizen; to one who endeavoured to do the right thing in all circumstances. Our differences in political policy and, indeed, in some other matters, do not blind us, and did not blind him to the knowledge that final truth may not reside in man at all. We feel that what we have to do is to carry out life’s duties, as he did, in the way in which they ought to be discharged.
Mr. Lyons was not only a man of great political aptitude and of much capacity, influenced by high considerations and well deserving the title of a great Australian and a distinguished Prime Minister ; but, as has been well said, he was also a true Australian. I think that he might be best described, as he would probably have described himself, as an average Australian. There is no section of this great community in which he did not display a very keen interest. All classes of our people were to him fellow citizens. It would be untrue to say he was no respecter of persons. The right description to apply to him would be to say that he was a respecter of all persons, and in that regard he exhibited humane and manly qualities which, in the fiercest of political struggles, secured for him the respect of those from whom he most differed. On this side of the House we felt always that we were dealing with a man, and it. is as a man that I think of him to-day. The tributes which have been paid by the entire community show a realization on the part of the great majority of Australians that the late Prime Minister was, indeed, a very remarkable man. He was remarkable, not because of his personal superiority, or his great political attainments, but because he remained always unaffected by the high offices which had. come to him. Throughout his years he remained a man in whom the simplicities of life were never in any way distorted.
It is true that he will be missed on both sides of this House, and I believe that the whole of the people of Australia will miss him ; but, more than the people, will his widow, Dame Enid, and- his children miss him. For them to-day, as, indeed, in the last fortnight, I feel very deeply, and in that I am sure I share the common sentiment of the people of the Commonwealth generally. I know that his memory will live, and that his influence will be for good. I conclude with the final reflection that this occasion is not entirely one of grief. We can be proud that this . country has produced such a man, that it recognizes his qualifications, that it gave to him great opportunities, and that he used those opportunities faithfully and well. We believe that the country that yielded such a man can continue to produce such men.
– I support the motion, and associate myself with the tributes of the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin). Parliament re-assembles today under the cloud of great sorrow. In tragic circumstances, Australia has lost, through the hand of death, its Prime
Minister, and its first citizen. The news struck at the hearts of the whole community. To us who were his colleagues and fellow members, the suddenness and unexpectedness of his death came as a stunning blow. But yesterday he moved amongst us, the embodiment of life; to-day he is gone, and we, his friends and colleagues, his followers, are overwhelmed with grief. Australia’s loss is great, but the loss to his sorrowing widow and family is irreparable. Mr. Lyons devoted his life to the service of the country. His public career was long and distinguished. He was an outstanding figure in the public life of the Commonwealth and of his State for more than 30 years. He held the highest offices in State and Commonwealth, and during his whole life, and particularly in those years of storm and stress, when he guided the destinies of this people through the darkness of the depression, and in these later days of crises in world affairs, in foul and fair weather, his one aim was to serve the nation over which he had been set. His term of office covered both the gravest economic depression in history and the greatest instability that we have known in world affairs since the Great “War. During the last four years conditions have gone from bad to worse. , For the last five months we, in common with all the world, have hovered perilously on the brink of the abyss of war. To all of us these have been trying times, but his responsibility was crushing. Only those who carry the burdens of State know what this responsibility involves, how heavily it presses on men’s spirits, what a toll it levies upon their vital resources. But though grievously tried, he never faltered. The people had reposed in him a great trust. To this he remained unswervingly faithful, and, like a brave soldier, died at the post of duty.
He was a true patriot. He never posed, nor boasted of his service. Not for him the tinsel and the glitter that serve the pinchbeck patriot and poseur. He served his country zealously but without ostentation.
A firm believer in the Empire, he was, first and foremost, an Australian, and retained throughout his public career an Australian outlook. He was a lover of peace and strove all his life by word and deed to bring about better relations among the countries of the world.
He was a democrat. Whatever his party associations, he was at heart and by temperament, a man of the people. He had been reared in their environment, he understood their problems and laboured with unflagging zeal to advance their interests. Raised by the votes of his fellow countrymen to the highest position at their disposal, walking with kings and princes, mixing with the great ones of the earth, he never lost the common touch. He remained to the end what he had always been - a frank, friendly and warm-hearted man.
He was a model citizen - an example to all of true citizenship. He was a loving husband and father, carrying into his official life the sympathy and kindliness of his own home. He had many critics, but few enemies. He fought hard, but he fought fairly. In the tumult and excitement of election campaigns, and in the heated debates in the legislature, he maintained that evenness of temper and freedom from personalities that gained for him the respect and affection of all who knew him. In debate he was ready and convincing. No man was quicker to note the weak points in his opponent’s arguments, nor to marshal disconcerting facts against them. He had courage and tact. No man could handle a difficult situation more skilfully; for he understood men, their weaknesses and their strength. To this understanding he brought great patience and great forbearance. Few leaders have had to face more delicate or more complex situations in Parliament or in the party room. Certainly none has ever handled them with greater success.
He was a man who spent himself in doing his utmost for Australia. Numerous and varied as were his public services to the community, his unrecorded private benefactions outshone them all, and won him a lasting place in the hearts of many hapless ones. And this is the man whom death has taken from us - a devoted member of his church, a wise counsellor, a true and loyal colleague, a model husband, father and citizen, a man who made the world richer for his living and poorer for his passing.
I deeply regret hig death and extend my heartfelt sympathy to his sorrowing widow and family.
– I desire to say a few words in memory of a very dear friend. My friendship with Mr. Lyons began when he was Premier of Tasmania. At that time he showed himself to be the only statesman under the British flag with courage and determination enough to try to lay the foundation of true democracy by requesting Parliament to give legislative effect to the principles of the referendum, initiative and recall. He met with success in the Lower House, but his proposals were defeated in the House of fossils, also known as the Legislative Council. I shall mention another episode that I shall never forget. It has relation to the screening of a picture in connexion with the appeal that I made to the people for the provision of milk for the poor little children of this country. The picture was shown on board a vessel on which Mr. Lyons and I were both passengers. On that occasion he paid me a compliment that I shall never forget. He and Dame Enid represented Australia at the Coronation of His Majesty King George VI., and I do not think that any husband and wife have ever done so much in Great Britain to commend Australia as they were able to do. On the same journey to the Coronation, one of my many birthdays was celebrated, and I shall never forget the kindness and courtesy of Mr. Lyons who, as the chairman on that occasion, uttered a eulogism of which I was not at all worthy. He did it, of course, out of his kindliness and friendship.
I regret his loss. I have suffered the bereavement of a very dear friend. He is one of the many who have gone who, I hope, when my turn comes to pas3 through the shadows, will join those who will give me a welcome.
– As the successor to the late Prime Minister in the leadership of his party and mine, I associate myself with the motion before the chair. I should also like to associate myself with the motion in the capacity of one who has for years worked with the late Prime Minister, not only as a colleague, but also as a friend. One cannot help feeling, on an occasion like this, that words are a poor medium for expressing what we all feel. One cannot help feeling that, in reality, they are unnecessary, because in this House to-day, every one knows that there is a real community of sorrow that needs no words to express it. For myself, I should like just very briefly to mention what I believe to have been the central feature in the character and the statesmanship of the late Prime Minister. As I understand it, it was this : The problems of government were to him problems of humanity, and not problems of blue-books, or even, primarily, problems of economics, or political science. Because he understood that so clearly and so instinctively, because that great truth was in him, he brought to all his public actions, a simplicity, a sympathy, and a loving kindness which marked him out in the political history of this country. His example remains with us, and I am sure that Ave shall all carry our memories of him until our own time has come.
May I just add this one word to his widow, that great partner of his, and to his family, because this is a time when they need all the consolation that we can give them : I know of no consolation more apt and more true at this time than that which can be given by reminding them of the words of the greatest of all Consolers -
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– As I look across the chamber, I am reminded sadly that there is a familiar personality missing to-day from the ranks of the Opposition. I refer to the late Mr. Frank Baker, member for Griffith, who died in Brisbane last month as the result of injuries sustained in a motor car accident. The news of his sad and untimely death was, I am sure, a severe shock to all the members of this Parliament.
He had been a member of the House of Representatives since the general elections of 1931, and had many close personal friends amongst its members. One of the youngest members of the Parliament, he possessed conspicuous ability, and was well equipped to discharge his public duties with a high degree of efficiency. He seemed destined to take a prominent part in the public affairs of this country for many years to come. Probably no member worked harder in this House in presenting the views of the party with which he was associated. Ministers recognized in him a very capable opponent - painstaking to a degree, with his facts for presentation in debate always well assembled. Death is always sad, but it is sadder when a young man in the prime of life - such as Mr. Baker - is taken.
To the Leader of the Opposition and the members of his party, I express the sympathy of the members of the Government parties in the loss of an accomplished colleague.
We all feel deeply for Mrs. Baker and her small daughters. It has been a very severe blow for them, but we trust that Mrs. Baker will derive some measure of consolation from the knowledge that her husband rendered very capable service while a member of the Commonwealth Parliament.
I move -
That this House records its deep regret at the death of Mr. Francis Matthew John Baker, member for Griffith, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to his widow and daughters in their bereavement.
– I second the motion. I am sure that the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page) has expressed the feeling of every honorable member when he said that there was the utmost regret at the passing of a man in the full promise of life, and of service to this Parliament. Mr. Baker had set himself for a public career. His studies had been directed to the end that he might be more efficiently equipped to be of service to his country generally, and particularly in this sphere of labour. We who were his colleagues knew that he was industrious, zealous, and most eager to “ make good “. We found him a very loyal and helpful colleague, and we believed that he was destined to take an important place in the Parliament of the Commonwealth. Well, tragedy has overtaken him ! Almost, as it were, at high noon, he has been cut off. We, in this Parliament, have lost his services, and his young widow and two young daughters a husband and a father. It is most pitiful. We feel for Mrs. Baker more than I can express in words. It is a matter of deep sorrow that so useful a life should have been terminated so early. I appreciate very much the sympathy which the Prime Minister has expressed with myself, and the members of my party, on the loss of our colleague and our friend, and the tributes he has paid to a valued member of the Labour party.
– May I, very briefly, associate myself with this melancholy motion ? Mr. Baker was a student of’ the law, and as such I had many discussions with him in this House, and out of this House, on matters of common interest. He was at all times a vigorous political opponent, and I have always honoured him for it. He brought to the House great activity of mind, a real keenness regarding the problems that he had to consider, and a real belief in the political philosophy that he practised. I am quite sure that Parliament is always the poorer for having lost men of that type. He was cut off, not so much in the prime of his life, as almost in the flower of his youth. I should like, as all honorable members would like, his widow and children to know, and to be able to remember in the future, that his services in this House did not go unremembered or unrewarded.
– As a personal friend of the late Mr. Frank Baker, I desire to supplement the speeches of the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin), and the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) in regard to our departed friend and colleague. It was my privilege to know the late Mr. Frank Baker and his parents from his boyhood days, and later to know his charming wife and two beautiful children. He was a good son of a devoted father and mother. He was a loving husband and a most affectionate father. His family life wa3 a very happy one. One of the most poignant griefs I had on visiting his home after his death was to see his sorrowing but brave young widow and his two beautiful infant children, as yet too young to realize the gravity of the irreparable loss they had suffered by the death of their father. Endowed by nature with a keen analytical mind, the late Mr. Baker was always a very keen student; he was always optimistic and confident; he had rare debating talents; and he possessed a bright and cheery outlook. He was graced with all those qualities which destined him one day to occupy an exalted position in the national parliament of Australia. His heart was big. Indeed, he was generous, giving of the best that was in him for those whom he so worthily represented in this Parliament. He was sympathetic, patient, kind and humble in his attitude towards his fellow men. Essentially a democrat and a son of the people, he felt just as much at ease in conferring with a humble labourer as with those holding higher positions in life. It is some gratification to his family to know that his funeral was one of the largest that has ever passed through the streets of Brisbane, some indication of the universal popularity which he enjoyed in the capital of the northern State of Queensland. The late Mr. Baker has gone, but I believe thai his memory will long endure. The tragic suddenness of his death came as a great shock to the community and in the Griffith electorate there are many saddened hearts grateful for his many act3 of kindness and consideration ; saddened also because of the passing of a bright young life which was cut off in the flower of his manhood. He was destined to adorn high positions in this country, but it was not to be. His sudden death at such a young age is an indication to all .of us that the strongest of us is here but for a brief span. The resonant voice and the cheery smile we shall not hear or see again in this Parliament. Those of us who knew Prank Baker best will remember him for his manly qualities. I sincerely hope that the universal respect in which he was held amongst his fellow members and in his electorate and the feelings of gratitude expressed by the people for his good work will act as some consolation to and will assuage the grief of his brave young widow who stood by him in his personal triumphs and, indeed, in any adversity he suffered, and who at the time of his death determined that she must live on to bring up to womanhood those young lives entrusted to her guardianship.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– It is with regret that I refer to the death of Mr. William Watson, a former member for Fremantle, which occurred on the 21st December last. Mr. Watson was first elected to this House at the general election in 1922 and was re-elected in 1925. He retired on the expiration of the Tenth Parliament in 1928. At the general elections of 1931. lie successfully contested Fremantle and held the seat during the ensuing Parliament. He did not re-contest the seat at the general elections in 1934. The late Mr. Watson was known personally to a majority of honorable members present, to-day. He was a kind man and ‘possessed a likeable personality. He carried out his public duties unobtrusively. Although reserved in manner, he possessed an individuality and strength of character which were reflected in his work in this Parliament. He had the faculty of giving expression to. his views in debate without introducing bitterness or causing the slightest offence to those politically opposed to him. We deeply regret his passing, and extend to his widow our sincere sympathy in her loss. I move -
That this House places on record its deep regret at the death of Mr. William Watson, a former member for Fremantle in this House, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service and tenders to his widow its deep sympathy in her bereavement.
– I second the motion. In this case we are referring to a man who lived a few years beyond the allotted span. He lived worthily and won the respect and indeed the affection of thousands of persons in his adopted
Stated-Western . Australia. I knew the late Mr.William Watson intimately. On two occasions he was successful in defeating me as a candidate for Fremantle. I knew not only that he was a doughty political opponent, but also that his strength politically was due almost entirely to the universal esteem in which he was. held, to the wide appreciation of his generosity of heart, to his character as a whole, to his business integrity and to the part he had played in building up industry and incidentally in doing good to thousands of people throughout his State. All of that made him a political opponent beyond my powers to overcome ; but throughout the two contests that we fought, 1 found him a generous and friendly opponent. He was the same man in politics as he was’ out of politics. He loved every one and endeavoured to do good wherever he could. I hardly’ feel capable of recalling any. other man whom I have met of whom it could be said that no one thought ill of him. Usually we find that in the case of a man who has not done anything worth while, but the late Mr. Watsondid a great deal of good not only publicly but also privately without the knowledge of very many. The amount of good he did in that way was, I understand, tremendous. He did . all that and at the same time never incurred even the enmity of his political opponents. He was very charitable and upright. He was a native of Victoria but did much good in Westorn Australia. Of the part he played in this Parliament, I am unable to speak because we could not both sit in this chamber at the same time.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– It is my sad dutyto announce the death of another former member of this House, Mr. William Wilson Killen. Mr. Killen was elected for the Division of Eiverina at the general elections of 1922, and was re-elected at the general elections of 1925, 1928 and 1929. He retired from Parliament in 1931.
Those of us who were associated with Mr. Killen, when he was a member of this. House, were able to appreciate fully his sincerity and hishigh personal worth.’ He rendered valuable public service while a’ member of the Commonwealth Parliament. As an authority on matters connected with the pastoralindustry, his contributions to debates on questions affecting rural industries were always welcomed by his parliamentary colleagues. The sympathy of this House is extended to his widow and to the members of his family in their bereavement. I move -
That this House places on record itsdeep regret at the death of Mr. William Wilson Killen, a former member for the Division of Eiverina in this House, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious service, and tenders to his widow and family its deep sympathy in their bereavement.
– I second the motion. I am quite sure that the right honorable the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page) has expressed the views of all of us, I knew the late Mr. Killen during . his membership of this Parliament, and when I had the honour to sit here during that period I never heard him. say an unkind or anunfair word . It was apparent that he was an upright man who could support his case without either prejudice or thedesire to’ provoke bitterness. I am quite sure that the members of the Country party feel that they have lost not only a valuable supporter, but also onein. whom they could have a very great deal of pride.
There is something for us to reflect upon iri the fact that to-day two members of the Parliament have gone from us whilst two former members are being referred to because their deaths have occurred during the recess. It appears to be a very sorrowful opening for a session, and it occurs, almost unfailingly, how . upon the occasions whenwe re-assemble.
Ireferred to this matter on a previous occasion, in connexion with, I think the passing of ex-Senator Glassey, who was a member of the: first Parliament. I refer to it again because I feel that something should be done in order that the part played in the Commonwealth Parliament by these figures who have . served the . people might in some way be dealt with iria form which would enable the community at large, and particularly the younger generation, to have some appreciation of the personalities who have graced this Parliament. The late Mr. Killen’s share in the work of the Parliament over 39 years may not have been so great as that of certain other members whom we mourn, but none the less in this Parliamenthe was a representative of the people. He showed, as the right honorable gentleman has said, a particular knowledge of a certain industry which is of inestimable value to the rest of us, and I feel that something might be done more intimately to relate the lives of the men who sit in this Parliament, and the women who may come tosit in this Parliament, with the outsidelife of the Commonwealth, in order that here in Australia it willbe possible to build up a tradition of public service. There is no governing class in this country; we have to produce for ourselves men and women who will qualify to serve the public in the art of government. The art of government is of tremendous importance to the people of Australia, and in order that there might be a right appreciation of its significance, I would ask that some attention be given by the competent authorities to this aspect of the matter. I deeply regret the passing of Mr. Killen, and share the sympathy expressed by the right honorable gentleman.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Motion (by Sir Earle Page) - by leave - agreed to -
That Mr. Speaker he requested to transmit to the relatives of the deceased the foregoing resolutions, together with copies of the speeches delivered thereon.
Motion (by Sir Earle Page) agreed to-
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 11a.m. to-morrow.
SirEARLEPAGE (Cowper - Prime
Minister) - As amark of respect to the memory of the deceased gentlemen, I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.56 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 April 1939, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1939/19390419_reps_15_159/>.