28th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 11 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputy of the GovernorGeneral for the Opening of the Parliament requested the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Honourable members attended accordingly, and having returned)
The Deputy authorised by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath or affirmation entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission authorising the Right Honourable Sir Garfield Edward John Barwick, G.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the Queen required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
The Clerk laid on the table returns to 125 writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives held on 2nd December 1972.
The Deputy of the Governor-General - When last I administered the oath and affirmation to honourable members the practice was followed in which members recited their names and the terms of the oath together, some 10 at a time. It seemed to me that that resulted in some discordant sounds which ill befitted the dignity of the occasion. I think it fit on this occasion to administer the oath and affirmation in different but yet proper and lawful manner. The Clerk will present the oath or affirmation, as the case may be, to the members who have been called to the table by name. The Clerk having presented the oath by reading its terms to the members, the members will simply say ‘I do’. In the case of those taking the oath they will repeat the words ‘So help me God’. In the case of those affirming, they will simply say ‘I do’. I think it might be agreed that this will better befit the dignity of the House.
The following honourable members made and subscribed the oath of allegiance:
Adermann, Albert Evan, Fisher, Queensland
Anthony, John Douglas, Richmond, New South Wales
Armitage, John Lindsay, Chifley, New South Wales
Ashley-Brown, Alfred, Mitchell, New South Wales
Barnard, Lance Herbert, Bass, Tasmania
Beazley, Kim Edward, Fremantle, Western Australia
Bennett, Adrian Frank, Swan, Western Australia
Berinson, Joseph Max, Perth, Western Australia
Birrell, Frederick Ronald, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Bonnett, Robert Noel, Herbert, Queensland
Bourchier, John William, Bendigo, Victoria
Bowen, Lionel Frost, Kingsford-Smith, New South Wales
Bowen, Nigel Hubert, Parramatta, New South Wales
Bryant, Gordon Munro, Wills, Victoria
Bury, Leslie Harry Ernest, Wentworth, New South Wales
Calder, Stephen Edward, Northern Territory
Cameron, Clyde Robert, Hindmarsh, South Australia
Cameron, Donald Milner, Griffith, Queensland
Chipp, Donald Leslie, Hotham, Victoria
Cohen, Barry, Robertson, New South Wales
Collard, Frederick Walter, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Connor, Reginald Francis Xavier, Cunningham, New South Wales
Cooke, Nelson Marshall, Petrie, Queensland
Cope, James Francis, Sydney, New South Wales
Corbett, James, Maranoa, Queensland
Cramer, Sir John Oscar, Bennelong, New South Wales
Crean, Frank, Melbourne Ports, Victoria
Daly, Frederick Michael, Grayndler, New South Wales
Davies, Ronald, Braddon, Tasmania
Doyle, Francis Edward, Lilley, Queensland
Drummond, Peter Hertford, Forrest, Western Australia
Drury, Edward Nigel, Ryan, Queensland
Duthie, Gilbert William Arthur, Wilmot, Tasmania
Edwards, Harold Raymond, Berowra, New South Wales
England, John Armstrong, Calare, New South Wales
Erwin, George Dudley, Ballaarat, Victoria
Fairbairn, David Eric, Farrer, New South Wales
Fisher, Peter Stanley, Mallee, Victoria
Fitzpatrick, John, Darling, New South Wales
Forbes, Alexander . ies, Barker, South Australia
Fox, Edmund Maxwell Cameron, Henty, Victoria
Fraser, John Malcolm, Wannon, Victoria
Fulton, William John, Leichhardt,
Garland, Ransley Victor, Curtin, Western Australia
Garrick, Horace James, Batman, Victoria
Giles, Geoffrey O’Halloran, Angas, South Australia
Gorton, John Grey, Higgins, Victoria
Graham, Bruce William, North Sydney, New South Wales
Grassby, Albert Jaime, Riverina, New South Wales
Hallett, John Mead, Canning, Western Australia
Hamer, David John, Isaacs, Victoria
Hansen, Brendan Percival, Wide Bay, Queensland
Hayden, William George, Oxley, Queensland
Hewson, Henry Arthur, McMillan, Victoria
Holten, Rendle McNeilage, Indi, Victoria
Hunt, Ralph James Dunnet, Gwydir, New South Wales
Hurford, Christopher John, Adelaide, South Australia
Innes, Urquhart Edward, Melbourne, Victoria
Jacobi, Ralph Hawker, South Australia
James, Albert William, Hunter, New South Wales
Jarman, Alan William, Deakin, Victoria
Jenkins, Henry Alfred, Scullin, Victoria
Johnson, Leonard Keith, Burke, Victoria
Johnson, Leslie Royston, Hughes, New South Wales
Jones, Charles Keith, Newcastle, New South Wales
Katter, Robert Cummin, Kennedy, Queensland
Keating, Paul John, Blaxland, New South Wales
Kelly, Charles Robert, Wakefield, South Australia
Keogh, Leonard Joseph, Bowman, Queensland
Kerin, John Charles, Macarthur, New South Wales
Killen, Denis James, Moreton, Queensland
King, Robert Shannon, Wimmera, Victoria
Lloyd, Bruce, Murray, Victoria
Luchetti, Anthony Sylvester, Macquarie, New South Wales
Lucock, Philip Ernest, Lyne, New South Wales
Lynch, Phillip Reginald, Flinders, Victoria
MacKellar, Michael John Randal, Warringah, New South Wales
Maisey, Donald William, Moore, Western Australia
Martin, Vincent Joseph, Banks, New South Wales
McKenzie, David Charles, Diamond Valley, Victoria
McLeay, John Elden, Boothby, South Australia
McMahon, William, Lowe, New South Wales
McVeigh, Daniel Thomas, Darling Downs, Queensland
Morris, Peter Frederick, Shortland, New South Wales
Morrison. William Lawrence, St George, New South Wales
Mulder, Allan William, Evans, New South Wales
Nicholls, Martin Henry, Bonython, South Australia
Nixon, Peter James, Gippsland, Victoria
O’Keefe, Frank Lionel, Paterson, New South Wales
Oldmeadow, Maxwell Wilkinson, Holt, Victoria
Olley, Frank, Hume, New South Wales
Patterson, Rex Alan, Dawson, Queensland
Peacock, Andrew Sharp, Kooyong, Victoria
Reynolds, Leonard James, Barton, New South Wales
Riordan, Joseph Martin, Phillip, New South Wales
Robinson, Eric Laidlaw, McPherson, Queensland
Robinson, Ian Louis, Cowper, New South Wales
Scholes, Gordon Glen Denton, Corio, Victoria
Sherry, Raymond Henry, Franklin, Tasmania
Sinclair, Ian McCahon, New England, New South Wales
Snedden, Billy Mackie, Bruce, Victoria
Staley, Anthony Allan, Chisholm, Victoria
Stewart, Francis Eugene, Lang, New South Wales
Street, Anthony Austin, Corangamite, Victoria
Thorburn, Ray William, Cook, New South Wales
Turner, Henry Basil, Bradfield, New South Wales
Viner, Robert Ian. Slirling, Western Australia
Wentworth, William Charles, Mackellar, New South Wales
Whan, Robert Bruce, Eden-Monaro, New South Wales
Whitlam, Edward Gough, Werriwa, New South Wales
Whittorn, Raymond Harold, Balaclava, Victoria
Wilson, Ian Bonython Cameron, Sturt, South Australia
The following honourable members made and subscribed an affirmation of allegiance:
Cairns, James Ford, Lalor, Victoria
Cass, Moses Henry, Maribyrnong, Victoria
Coates, John, Denison, Tasmania
Enderby, Keppel Earl, Australian Capital Territory
Everingham, Douglas Nixon, Capricornia, Queensland
Gun, Richard Townsend, Kingston, South Australia
Klugman, Richard Emanuel, Prospect, New South Wales
Lamb, Antony Hamilton, La Trobe, Victoria
Mathews, Charles Race Thorson, Casey, Victoria
Uren, Thomas, Reid, New South Wales
Wallis, Laurie George, Grey, South Australia
Willis, Ralph, Gellibrand, Victoria
– Honourable members, the next business of the House is the election of a member as Speaker.
– I propose to the House for its Speaker, Mr Cope, and move:
That the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope) do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.
– I am pleased to second the nomination.
– Does the honourable member for Sydney accept nomination?
– I do.
– Is there any further proposal? The time for proposals has expired. I declare that the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope) has been elected as Speaker.
– I wish to express my grateful thanks for my elevation to the Speakership of the House of Representatives. (Mr Speaker having seated himself in the Chair)
-I call the right honourable the Prime Minister or, rather, the honourable Prime Minister.
– Mr Speaker, it gives me the greatest pleasure that my first remarks in this House in my office are to congratulate you on your office. There can be few men who have served in this House who would be more entitled to hold the post to which we have elected you unanimously and who would be regarded more highly as a friend as well as a member. The only qualification I have in congratulating you is that we all have deprived ourselves of a sure source of delight and refreshment in our deliberations. For many years, Mr Speaker, you have been the most skilful, precise and pointed interjector in the House. You have been the great deflator. In no respect have you shown your impartiality more conspicuously than in casting your darts on both sides against those who needed to be deflated. By the rules of the House, which you must now apply, all interjections are out of order.
Your distinguished predecessors, during your period as a member, had the good sense to place the higher principle above the lesser; they realised that in maintaining true order the member who could reduce the temperature and restore our good temper was a valuable ally. You, Sir, as the honourable member for Sydney, were such an ally for Sir William Aston and Sir John McLeay. They recognised you as a true friend in their most serious moments in controlling the House. If we are fortunate to find a similar talent in the new House I have no doubt that he will show and you will tolerate the same flexibility. 1 suppose that we on this side of the House can still expect to have you attend our other deliberations. In the unlikely event that tempers ran high there you would still be able to use your immense talent for restoring harmony and al’ owing our deliberations to proceed. The deliberations of the House will unquestionably proceed with good spirit and good humour while you hold this high office to which we have unanimously elected you and upon which we all, I am certain, heartily congratulate you.
– The practice of this Parliament is to select the Speaker from the party which has the majority of members in the House. In recent years there has been a practice in which the nominee of the majority Party has been opposed from the other side of the House. We did not adopt that course on this occasion, as is apparent to everybody. You, Mr Speaker, have not exercised the office, we have no way in which we can judge your performance in office and we do not know how you will conduct it. We know that you have served long in this Parliament; we know that you know the volatility of this House; we know your own periodic bad temper; and we know your ever ready flow of wit. Indeed, I took your first utterance as wit when you found it necessary to tell the Parliament that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) was not right’. 1 hope that will be seen as a happy augury of impartiality. We on this side of the House will co-operate. We will not interject while you are speaking, provided that you do not speak for too long. We will be courteous at all times, provided that you do not provoke us. Further, we will be parliamentarians at all times, no matter what the circumstances. From you, Mr Speaker, we expect objectivity, fairness and a recognition of the centuries old convention which established the office of Speaker as one of impartiality, representing the whole of the Parliament - not any part of it, any section of it or any party within it.
Mr Speaker, you have been elected by all members of the House of Representatives. The decision today was unanimous. I hope that in your position you will retain the unanimous support of all members of the House of Representatives in the period that you occupy the office of Speaker - and I hope that that will not be very long. You have seen a great many occasions when interjections have occurred. You have participated a great deal in those interjections. As the Prime Minister has said, very often you have restored the temper of this House. I hope that you will be able to retain your sense of fun and make it consistent with your conduct of the House. We will do all that we can to assist you. We wish you well in the conduct of the Speakership which is a most high office.
– Mr Speaker, on behalf of the parliamentary members of the Australian Country Party, I congratulate you on your unanimous election to the position of the supreme office bearer of the House of Representatives. I wish you well. I hope that you can fulfil your role with great dignity and distinction, as that role has been carried out by your predecessors.
In the period in which you were a private member of the House of Representatives, members of the Country Party who were members of those earlier Parliaments knew you and liked you as a person. They believed that you were a man of honour. We believe that you can fulfil the role that has been cast upon you. You have displayed to this House at times a great sense of humour through your interjections. I hope that, when the atmosphere becomes tense and tempers are high, you will be able to draw on this wit to defuse that atmosphere and to maintain order.
On rare occasions you have demonstrated a degree of unruliness as a private member. I am glad that you have had those few lapses because you will have a degree of sympathy for members who may forget that the forms of this House must be maintained. As long as you dispense justice strictly, fairly and impartially, I can assure you that you will have the support of members of the Australian Country Party.
-I sincerely thank the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) and the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) for their kind words of congratulation and good wishes upon my elevation to the Speakership. I hope that other Ministers, other front bench members of the Opposition and other honourable members also will have such kind thoughts about me after question time each sitting day.
I realise that the occupant of the position of Speaker faces many responsibilities and obligations. With the assistance, co-operation and help of all honourable members, 1 hope to emulate the good work of my immediate predecessors, Sir John McLeay and Sir William Aston, in their conduct of the office. They served as Speaker of this House for 11 years and 6 years respectively. I believe that they carried out the duties of their office in a manner befitting their responsibilities to both sides of the House. They were completely unbiased - I am serious about this - and I hope in the future to be able to emulate their deeds.
It was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition that at times 1 had been unruly. That is true. As a matter of fact I state quite frankly that I have been suspended from this House on 2 occasions, once by Sir John McLeay and once by Sir William Aston. But I joined Sir Robert Menzies and Sir John McLeay who also were suspended from this House during their time here. So honourable members can see thai: I joined an heroic throng of people. I conclude by thanking the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) for nominating me.
Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa - Prime Minister) - Mr Speaker, I have ascertained that it will be His Excellency’s pleasure to receive you in the Library of the Parliament this day at 2.42 p.im.
– Prior to my presentation to His Excellency the Governor-General this afternoon, the bells will be rung for 3 minutes so that honourable members may attend in the Chamber and accompany the Speaker to the Library when they may, if they so wish, be introduced to His Excellency.
Sitting suspended from 12.7 to 2.41 p.m. (The House proceeded to the Library, and, being reassembled)
-I have to report that, accompanied by honourable members, I this day proceeded to the Library of the Parliament and presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General as the choice of the House, and that His Excellency was kind enough to congratulate me on my election as Speaker.
– His Excellency the GovernorGeneral has presented to me a commission authorising me to administer to members of the House the oath or affirmation of allegiance I now Jay the commission on the table.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered a message that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Mr Speaker and honourable members attended accordingly and, having returned)
– Mr Speaker, ] have the honour to inform the House that the Ministry, which was sworn by the Governor-General on 19th December, is as follows:
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Minister for the Navy, Minister for the Army, Minister for Air and Minister for Supply - The Honourable L. H. Barnard.
Attorney-General, Minister for Customs and Excise and Leader of the Government in the Senate - Senator the Honourable Lionel Murphy, Q.C.
Special Minister of State, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister assisting the Prime Minister and Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs - Senator the Honourable Don Willesee.
Minister for the Media - Senator the Honourable Douglas McClelland.
Minister for Repatriation and Minister assisting the Minister for Defence - Senator the Honourable R. Bishop.
Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House - The Honourable F. M. Daly.
Minister for Tourism and Recreation and Minister assisting the Treasurer - The honourable F. E. Stewart.
Minister for Works - Senator the Honourable J. L. Cavanagh.
Minister for Primary Industry - Senator the Honourable K. S. Wriedt.
Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory - The Honourable Kep Enderby.
Minister for the Environment and Conservation - The Honourable Moss Cass.
Senator Murphy, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, will represent me in the Senate except in those matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet which have been specifically delegated to Senator Willesee as Minister assisting the Prime Minister. Senator Willesee will also represent me as Foreign Minister. Other representation arrangements in the Senate are as follows: Senator Murphy will represent the Minister for Science; Senator Willesee will represent the Treasurer, the Minister for Services and Property, the Minister for the Capital Territory and the Minister for External Territories; Senator McClelland will represent the Minister for Social Security, the Minister for Education, the Minister for Tourism and Recreation, the Minister for Immigration, the Postmaster-General and the Minister for Health; Senator Bishop will represent the Minister for Defence, the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for the Army, the Minister for Air, the Minister for Supply and the Minister for Labour; Senator Cavanagh will represent the Minister for Urban and
Regional Development, the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister for Housing and the Minister for the Environment and Conservation; Senator Wriedt will represent the Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for Secondary Industry, the Minister for Northern Development, the Minister for Minerals and Energy and the Minister for the Northern Territory.
Senate Ministers will be represented in the House of Representatives as follows: Mr Barnard will represent the Minister for Repatriation; Dr Cairns will represent the Minister for Customs and Excise; Dr Patterson will represent the Minister for Primary Industry; Mr Daly will represent the Special Minister of State; Mr Johnson will represent the Minister for Works; Mr Enderby will represent the Attorney-General; and Mr Morrison will represent the Minister for the Media. The Government Whip is the honourable member for Wide Bay, Mr Hansen, and the Deputy Whip is the honourable member for Bonython, Mr Nicholls.
– I desire to inform the House that the Parliamentary Liberal Party has elected me as its Leader, the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Lynch) as Deputy Leader, the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) as Opposition Whip and the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) as Deputy Whip.
– I desire to inform the House that the Parliamentary Party of the Australian Country Party has elected me as its Leader, the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) as Deputy Leader and the honourable member for Calare (Mr England) as Whip.
Bill presented by Mr Whitlam, and read a first time.
-I have to report that the House this day attended His Excellency the Governor-General in the Senate chamber, when His Excellency was pleased to make, a speech to both Houses of the Parliament. The Speech will be included in Hansard for record purposes. (The Speech read as follows) -
Following the clear decision of the people of Australia at the elections for the House of Representatives on 2nd December 1972 and acting upon advice, I commissioned the Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party to form a new Government on 5th December 1972. My new advisers have proceeded with all possible speed to act upon the mandate for change which they are firmly convinced was bestowed upon them by the people of Australia in the House of Representatives elections. My advisers will now ask this Parliament - itself the fundamental means by which the will of the people can be expressed - to pass legislation embodying the central parts of the program which the people have instructed them to implement.
The program which my new Government proposes is designed to achieve basic changes in the administration and structure of Australian society in the lifetime of this Parliament. It is in essence a 3-year program. In the first sittings you will be asked to give priority to legislation affecting the immediate welfare of the people, and to matters in which my advisers believe delay would mean damage to the nation or unwarranted neglect of the people’s wishes and mandate.
My advisers believe that there are 4 principal grounds upon which they should base their program for change:
First, the manifest desire of large sections of the Australian- community, particularly the youthful majority, for a more tolerant, more open, more humane, more equal, yet more diverse society.
Second, the clear failure of existing social and economic structures to meet the needs of modern society, particularly in relation to education, social security, health, industrial relations and urban and regional development.
Third, the need for government, and principally the national Government, to have available machinery and advice to plan for the inevitable and accelerating change now occuring in all modern communities.
Fourth, recognition of new and momentous directions in the pattern of international relations, particularly in the region in which Australia’s future lies.
These are the 4 main grounds upon which my advisers have so far acted and propose to act in the future and in pursuit of which they will be seeking the concurrence and cooperation of this Parliament.
My advisers are determined that the new spirit and new opportunities which they perceive emerging for Australia at home and abroad in 1973 shall not be lost.
They believe that in no area is this more important or mure opportune than in the field of Australia’s future relations with her neighbours and with the wider region. My Government warmly welcomed President Nixon’s announcement of the cease-fire in Vietnam. It also welcomes the cease-fire in Laos. It is determined to do all in its power to ensure that the opportunity is not lost to bring about a lasting settlement in Indo-China as, it believes, it was needlessly and tragically lost in 1954. It welcomes and supports initiatives for an international endeavour in the economic and social rehabilitation of Indo-China. My Government supports the proposal by members of the Association of South East Asian Nations for a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality in South East Asia, and will encourage other nations involved in the region to support the concept. My Government will honour the terms of the Five Power Arrangements, but looks forward to the achievement of a neutral zone in South East Asia ultimately involving the phasing out of present military arrangements such as the Five Power Arrangements. My Government will continue to co-operate with all other parties in such arrangements to advance the concept known as the ‘Guam Doctrine’ designed by President Nixon to help all countries in our region to develop their own defence capabilities.
My Government has already begun exploratory discussions with Australia’s neighbours, friends and allies on ways of developing new arrangements for regional co-operation free of military or ideological overtones. My Government believes that our close relations with the United States, our growing partnership with Japan and the speedy and successful normalisation of relations with the People’s Republic of China provide a realistic and fruitful basis for such an Australian initiative.
The primary importance my advisers attach to Australia’s relations with Indonesia and the nations of the South Pacific has been symbol ised by the early visits the Prime Minister has already made to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
My Government will move with all due speed towards the creation of an independent, united Papua New Guinea. It proposes to achieve this in the closest consultation with the Government and House of Assembly of Papua New Guinea within the life of this Parliament. My Government is deeply committed, by the clearest pledges, to continue substantial economic aid to an independent Papua New Guinea. My Government has given the Papua New Guinea Government an assurance of continuing aid over the period of the 3-year Improvement Program beginning 1974-75.
Legislation will be introduced to provide for self-government on 1st December 1973, or as soon as practicable therafter In providing for the transfer of further powers and functions to the House of Assembly, including control of the Public Service of Papua New Guinea, my Government will legislate to protect employment security of overseas officers who were appointed by the Australian Government.
My Government attaches great importance to the Commonwealth of Nations as an active instrument for justice and peace and for political, social and economic advancement throughout our region and also in Africa and the Caribbean. The Prime Minister intends to attend the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government planned for August next.
Under my Government, Australia has now ratified the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Treaty prohibiting the placement of nuclear weapons on or under the seabed.
My advisers believe that the newly emerging situation in our region involves fundamental changes in the nature and purpose of Australia’s defence forces. For this reason, but also for social, moral and economic reasons at the heart of my advisers’ view of Australian society, they have already suspended the operation of the National Service Act, and, acting upon their advice, I have used my prerogative to release those persons imprisoned for breaches of the Act, while pending prosecutions under it have been withdrawn.
To ensure the successful restoration of strong, highly professional all-volunteer armed forces, .new standing machinery will be established to keep pay and conditions in step with civilian standards. Legislation will be introduced to implement the Report of the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee on retirement benefits; to provide improved re-settlement benefits; and to appoint an Ombudsman for the Defence Forces.
The Government has undertaken a reorganisation and modernisation of the administration of the Defence Group of Departments. A major review is under way on the future size and shape of the Australian Regular Army, and a committee will be appointed to review completely the role of the Citizen Military Forces and the service conditions of its members. In defence procurement, emphasis will be given to placing orders with Australian industries.
Determined as they are to maintain strong defence forces, my advisers are deeply aware that the basic strength and welfare of the nation depends on Australia’s ability to develop the skills and talents of her people.
My Government will accordingly give preeminent importance to the reform of Australian education and the care of Australian children. In this, my advisers will seek the closest co-operation with the State Governments and authorities representing the nongovernment schools. An interim committee has already been appointed to inquire into and report upon the urgent needs of all schools and to recommend appropriate means of providing for those needs. Legislation will be introduced to establish a Schools Commission and a Pre-School Commission. Discussions will be held with the States to enable the Australian Government to assume responsibility for fully financing tertiary education, including post-graduate study and research. Fees at tertiary institutions will be abolished from the beginning of 1974. The great objective which my Government has set for itself is to ensure genuine equality of opportunity for all children now embarking upon their education.
My advisers attach great importance to education measures as part of their endeavour to reduce further and future growth of inequality in the Australian community. They are deeply disturbed, however, by the presence of great inequalities and injustices, by the existence of real poverty in the midst of plenty, and by the inadequacies of existing machinery to prevent injustices and to promote equality.
My Government has already announced, in accordance with its election program, a wide- ranging series of measures to improve Australia’s social security system. It will propose a number of measures by which: the means test will be ended during the current Parliament; all Australians entitled to social security payments may receive them wherever they choose to live without the need for reciprocal agreements with other countries; and by which there will be twice-yearly increases of $1.50 each in the basic rate of pensions until they reach 25 per cent of average weekly earnings.
A committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate and recommend a scheme for national superannuation.
A committee of inquiry has been set up under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Woodhouse of the New Zealand Supreme Court to recommend a national scheme for compensation and rehabilitation for personal injury.
Meanwhile the Government will legislate to amend the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act to provide payment of full wages during incapacity, lump sum compensation and lifetime compensation for widows.
An Australian Assistance Plan will be set up to develop and co-ordinate welfare services provided by government and private agencies.
A National Commission on Social Welfare will be set up to advise the Government on all aspects of social welfare, integrate national programs and to evaluate the success of programs.
Wide-ranging improvement and significant reforms in social service and repatriation benefits have already been announced by my advisers.
Universal health insurance will be introduced and a planning committee will now work on the details for its introduction. My Ministers are anxious to co-operate fully with the medical profession in implementing the clear instruction of the Australian people. They will insist, however, that the over-riding consideration must be the welfare of the patient and are determined that the mandate given to them will be carried out.
A National Hospitals and Health Services Commission will be established to survey and develop regional co-ordination of health care delivery.
The Government proposes to legislate to permit the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to engage in production of non-biological pharmaceutical products. The Government may acquire for the Commonwealth a private pharmaceutical manufacturing firm which will work with the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to provide new technical, management and marketing skills and methods.
My Government acknowledges the generosity of the New Zealand Government in helping the first steps towards establishing a School Dental Service by providing places for the training of dental therapists in New Zealand.
My Government recognises that the worst social inequalities, the worst poverty and the worst health problems bear upon the Australian Aboriginal people. In attempting to remove this national shame, my advisers seek the co-operation of the State Governments. They will not, however, permit any State Government or State agency to frustrate the clear will of the Australian people recorded so overwhelmingly in the 1967 Referendum that the national Government should assume constitutional responsibility for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. My advisers will not hesitate to use these full constitutional powers granted by the Australian people in asserting and establishing the national will on this matter.
Among many measures already announced, my Government will give priority to establishing Aboriginal land rights and to ensuring that Aborigines are truly equal before the law.
The welfare of migrants to Australia will receive the closest attention. The emphasis of my Government’s immigration policy will be on the reunion of families and the welfare of migrants already in Australia. A higher priority will be given to retaining migrants than to recruiting them.
My Government believes that measures to improve the welfare of deprived sections of the Australian community, or to promote equality within the whole community, however far-reaching and valuable in themselves, will ultimately fail unless basic and urgent attention is directed to the places where the people live and must live. My advisers are convinced that in this, one of the world’s most urbanised nations, the national Government must now accept a great and growing share of responsibility for the nation’s cities - those that are, and those that are to be.
To signify that their determination is conceived in a spirit of true and co-operative federalism, and is not limited to Australia’s great capitals, the Prime Minister and the Minister for the newly-created Department of Urban and Regional Development met the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria at Albury and Wodonga on 25th January to set the framework for accelerated development of a major city in the Albury-Wodonga area. Reciprocal legislation with New South Wales and Victoria will be introduced in the 3 Parliaments to establish a Development Corporation for this new concept in regional development.
It is proposed that a statutory corporation - the Cities Commission - will be established to replace the existing National Urban and Regional Development Authority.
My Government aims to make local government a genuine partner in the Federal system. To promote financial equality between regions the Commonwealth Grants Commission Act will be amended to authorise the Commission to inquire into and report upon applications made for grants for local government purposes. Discussions will be held with the States aimed at providing local government in each State with a voice and vote in the deliberations of the Loan Council.
The national Government acknowledges its special and inescapable responsibility for the national capital. It intends nonetheless to examine urgently various proposals to provide for self-government in the Australian Capital Territory. The Minister for the Capital Territory will also give high priority to a review of the land tenure system, housing policies, consumer protection and community facilities and the public transport system in the national capital.
It is the intention of my Government to introduce legislation establishing CommonwealthState Land Commissions to acquire and develop residential land. These Commissions will co-operate with State and local government authorities in achieving a more rational and economic form of urban development and will help combat rising land prices.
My Government has offered immediate financial assistance to the States to increase the number of dwellings under construction for letting to needy families. Legislation will be introduced to provide the States with repayable advances up to some S6m at a concessional rate of interest for expenditure bv
State Housing Authorities in this financial year on dwellings that would not otherwise have been commenced before 30th June next.
My Government is negotiating with the States a new Housing Agreement to operate for 5 years from 15 July 1973. Its aim will be to increase the stock of dwellings available for letting to needy families at rents they can afford to pay, and so to reduce the time an applicant must wait before a government dwellling may be provided. It will seek an Agreement which will also provide for high standards of amenities and an improvement in the environmental character of housing estates.
Legislation will be introduced to confirm the new Agreement.
Legislation will also be introduced to reform the system of War Service Homes, which will be known henceforth as Defence Service Homes.
Legislation will be introduced to remove limits on Commonwealth Savings Bank credit foncier housing loans.
The Government intends to provide valuable assistance to home-owners by reducing interest payment burdens.
A modern and efficient national transport system is basic to the economic and social wellbeing of Australia. The Government will be taking action to implement in co-operation with the States a major program to improve public transport systems on the basis of socially and economically desirable projects.
My advisers will discuss with the States the terms on which their railway systems can be acquired by the Australian Government.
The Government proposes to restore the Inter-State Commission to plan and provide modern means of communications between the States.
The extensive program of educational, welfare and urban and public transport reform and renewal planned by my Government can only be achieved on the basis of sound economic growth. My Government will promote such growth by wide-ranging and flexible policies based on co-operative forward planning, full employment, containment of price inflation and industrial co-operation.
As part of a continuing and comprehensive fight against inflation, the Government will establish prices justification machinery, involve the national Government in the field of consumer protection, establish a Parlia mentary Standing Committee to review prices in key sectors, and strengthen the laws against restrictive trade practices.
In the view of the Government urgent action was needed to achieve an early alleviation of unemployment. The Government has agreed to make available to the States additional financial assistance totalling almost $50m for expenditure in the period to 30th June 1973 for employment-creating activities in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas which could be quickly and usefully undertaken. Of this assistance SI 8m will be provided under existing legislation. Legislative authority for the remainder will be sought during the present Parliamentary sittings.
The Government will be seeking legislative authority for the payment of a special loan of SI 5m to New South Wales for budgetary assistance in accordance with an undertaking given to the State by the late Government and announced in the previous Parliament.
The Government will bring in early legislation to curb tax avoidance. The Government’s intentions have already been announced with respect to misuse of life insurance premiums and superannuation contributions, the purchase of company shells, capital subscribed to mining companies and the status of Norfolk Island.
The Government intends to develop a positive program of policy measures to promote more vigorous growth of efficient, competitive Australian manufacturing industry. A basic objective will be to reduce uncertainty and to create a sense of national purpose within which investment and in turn employment decisions in industry can be made confidently.
My Government believes that industrial confidence requires industrial co-operation. It will take steps to promote co-operation and reduce confrontation in industry. My Government is determined that the men and women of the Australian workforce will share fairly and fully in the nation’s prosperity and productivity.
Legislation will be introduced to repeal needlessly provocative penal sanctions in the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. Amalgamation of trade unions will be facilitated. A committee of inquiry will undertake a thorough investigation of all aspects of industrial relations.
The Government is conscious of its primary responsibility to its public servants and legislation will be introduced for wide-ranging reforms in their employment conditions. The Government will appoint a Royal Commission under Sir James Vernon to inquire into and report upon the operations and structure of the Post Office, Australia’s largest single employer.
In developing the Australian economy my advisers will be seeking close participation by all sections of the community. Opportunities will be provided for co-operation and consultation between government and industry, trade unions, and other groups in the development and implementation of forward plans for industrial development.
The Government proposes to establish a Protection Commission to advise on assistance for both primary and secondary industries.
Legislation will be introduced to expand the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation to equip it for the task of assisting the Government in its objective of achieving sound industrial and resource development with maximum Australian ownership and control.
In pursuit of its policy for maximising Australian ownership, control, use and development of Australian resources, my Government will introduce legislation to establish a National Pipeline Authority. The Authority will construct and maintain a natural gas pipeline system throughout Australia to ensure continuity of supplies and uniformity of price.
My Government has decided that all minerals will be subject to export control. The Government’s objectives are to ensure that Australia’s export prices should be at a reasonable level in relation to export prices from other countries and also that a balanced development of Australian mineral resources be pursued so that production for exports should serve the best interests of Australia.
You will be asked to assert and establish the sovereign rights of the national Parliament to pass laws on the resources of the Australian seabed from the low-water mark to the outer limits of the Continental Shelf. This will be done by legislation combining broadly the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill introduced in 1970 with a Minerals (Submerged Lands) Bill setting out a mining code covering minerals other than petroleum in offshore areas.
A Department of Northern Development with particular responsibility for the use and development of resources north of the 26th Parallel has been created. This Department will work in close co-operation with the Governments of Queensland and Western Australia and the Department of the Northern Territory, with particular emphasis on the use and development of Australian land and resources by Australians for the benefit of all Australians.
The increasing importance to Australia’s growth of new mineral development, particularly in the north and west, does not blind my advisers to the continuing importance of Australia’s traditional primary industries.
The Australian Wool Corporation, which became operational on 1st January this year, is presently investigating wool marketing including the proposal for acquisition of the clip. The report will receive the prompt attention of the Government.
The Australian Wool Industry Conference has endorsed proposals for financing research and promotion programs in the industry for the next triennium commencing in July. This matter is under consideration by the Government.
My Government will initiate fishery resources surveys and exploratory fishing operations and assist in the provision of equipment and facilities required to develop fisheries based on these resources.
As announced, adjustment assistance will be given to those rural industries which were already facing difficulties and problems of adjustment to changed circumstances and would find it particularly difficult to bear the consequences of the exchange rate appreciation of last December or the subsequent devaluation of the United States dollar.
Australia intends to take an energetic part in the forthcoming major round of international trade negotiations due to open later this year under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In these negotiations particular emphasis is to be placed on meeting the trading problems of the developing countries. My Government regards these negotiations as providing important opportunities for an expansion and liberalisation of world trade. My advisers will place particular emphasis on trying to improve conditions of international trade in primary commodities. International commodity agreements are an important means of achieving this end and my Government will be actively seeking renewal, on satisfactory terms, of the International Sugar Agreement which expires at the end of this year and the International Wheat Agreement which expires in 1974.
My Government believes that its economic, trade, development and industrial policies provide a basis for strong and continuing growth of Australian prosperity. It is, however, deeply conscious that economic growth and material well-being no longer reflect the whole aspirations and expectations of the Australian community, and that prosperity alone is no longer exactly equated with true progress.
The Department of the Environment and Conservation proposes to develop a ‘human progress’ index to reflect the new and emerging human and social values in a modern society.
In planning for this generation, my Government intends to protect the rights and national inheritance of future generations of Australians. The Government will institute a program requiring environment impact statements for all major projects involving national funds and national constitutional powers. From 1st January 1974. public hearings will be held before the writing of an environment impact statement.
The Government recognises that the use of leisure in a modern society presents problems and opportunities involving profound questions of the relations between man and his community and man and his environment. The new Departments of Urban and Regional Development, Environment and Conservation, Tourism and Recreation, the Media and of Science, together with the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Special Minister of Stale. Health and of Education will be working in close and continuing co-operation to develop national programs to preserve and promote Australian recreation resources, Australians’ access to them, and Australians’ ability to use and enjoy them. These include plans for community centres based upon the schools, and youth leadership courses.
In addition to these programs, legislation will be introduced for an Australian Council of the Arts, the Australian National Gallery, the Australian Film and Television School and a Science Council. Legislation is being prepared to implement my Government’s declared policy to encourage and increase the creative participation by Australians in the production of films and television programs shown in Australia and overseas.
My Government recognises the enduring relation between the quality of life and equality before the law. My advisers are preparing major reforms to remove injustices, to reduce costs and to ensure equal rights under the law for all Australians. Legislation will be introduced to give citizens access to an Ombudsman under Australian law and in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
My Government intends to ratify the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination and other international agreements dealing with human rights. These include the ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948; the ILO Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949; the ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951; the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958; the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). Where necessary, the concurrence of the States will be sought prior to ratification.
A Superior Court will be established. Capital punishment under Australian law and in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will be abolished. Amendments to the Matrimonial Causes Act will be sought following a review of the Act.
In pursuit of its determination to make government in Australia more open and less secret, and to involve the people in the decision-making processes, a Freedom of Information Bill will be introduced.
This Parliament is the true foundation of the Australian law and the Australian democracy. My Government intends to place that democracy on a wider, fairer and firmer basis by granting the vote to men and women at 18 and by removing malapportionment of the electorates for the House of Representatives.
My Government presents for your approval the most comprehensive program of legislation in the history of the Australian Parliament. The circumstances which led to the forming of the new Government, the nature of recent events in our region, the opportunities and responsibilities of the national Government in these times of great change all combine to make the Twenty-eighth Parliament one of the most momentous in Australian history. With confidence that you will fulfil to the utmost of your abilities the deep responsibility the Australian people have placed upon you, I leave you to carry out your high and important duties.
(Motion (by Mr Whitlam) agreed to:
That a Committee consisting of Mr Mathews, Mr
Whan and myself be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by His Excellency the Governor-General to both Houses of the Parliament and that the Committee do report at the next sitting.
– I desire to inform the House of the following changes of officers in attendance in the chamber: Mr I. C. Cochran, formerly Serjeant-at-Arms has been transferred as Senior Parliamentary Officer in the Bills and Papers Office and will now from time to time perform table duties; Mr D. M. Piper has been promoted and will occupy the office of Serjeant-at-Arms; Mr G. J. Horsfield will perform the duties of Deputy SerjeantatArms.
– I understand that it is the desire of the House to have the sitting suspended until 5 p.m. I will resume the Chair at that time.
Sitting suspended from 4.4 to 5 p.m.
– Mr Speaker, I have the sad duty to inform the House that since the dissolution of the last Parliament the death has occurred of 4 previous members of the House: Mr Tom Burke, Mr Jack Mortimer, the Hon. W. J. F. Riordan and the Hon. H. V. C. Thorby. Mr Bill Riordan was the member who had served longest and was one of the 2 who had served most recently. He came from an exceptionally distinguished Queensland Labor family. His father, W. J. Riordan, was President of the Australian Workers Union in Queensland from 1916 to 1925. He became a member of the Industrial Arbitration Court of Queensland in 1933 and retired from the Court in 1952. One of Mr Bill Riordan’s uncles, David ‘Darby’ Riordan, represented the same division of Kennedy from October 1929 until his death in October 1936. Mr Bill Riordan’s other uncle, E. J. Riordan, was a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly from 1936 to 1944. Shortly thereafter he became Bill Riordan’s secretary. In 1950, immediately after losing that position, he was again elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly and became Secretary for Mines and Irrigation in 1952. He held that portfolio until his death in December 1954.
I believe that Mr Bill Riordan was the last male in the family. He was elected at the byelection caused by his uncle’s death. For 37 years Kennedy was Riordan territory more., one has to concede, than it was Labor territory. For 15 elections the Riordans - uncle and nephew - were endorsed by the electors of that vast territory. I have noted an account of Bill Riordan’s by-election campaign in the Queensland ‘Worker’ in November 1936 in these terms:
Frank Forde, Deputy Leader of the Federal Labor Party, will arrive from Canberra on Monday to campaign for Bill Riordan in Kennedy.
May I say that Mr Forde is in the gallery today. At the time of his election Bill Riordan, at 28 years of age, was the youngest member of the House. In his maiden speech he spoke of the need for stronger naval and air defences. As Minister for the Navy from 1946 to 1949 he established the Fleet Air Arm. In his last speech in this Parliament, 30 years after his maiden speech, he stressed the need for strengthening the Fleet Air Arm. In the year he entered this Parliament our Party had just started on the road back from the disaster of the early 1930s. He saw the Australian Labor Party come to power under John Curtin, served as a Minister under Chifley, and shared the bitterness of defeat and the long years in the wilderness. He lived long enough to see Labor’s return to power. The other of the 2 deceased members who served most recently was Mr Jack Mortimer. He was elected at a by-election in June 1963. It was generally thought that the completion of the trans-continental railway of standard gauge, particularly the link from Port Pirie to Broken Hill, was due to Mr Mortimer’s advent to the Parliament. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1963. He was defeated in the elections of 1966. He served 4 years in the Australian Imperial Force. He had been a farmer in South Australia. He had become an official of the Waterside Workers Federation. He was therefore, well-equipped to represent the variety of interests in his farflung electorate. He died on 8th February at Port Hedland by drowning.
The third of the deceased members, in order of most recent service, was Mr Tom Burke. He participated in the great years under Curtin and Chifley. He shared in the years of defeat and division, and was one of the casualties. He served as member for Perth from 1943 until his defeat in 1955. He died on 17th January. He took great pride in the fact that one of his 3 sons is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia.
The remaining member, the one who left the service of this House longest ago, was the Honourable Harold Victor Campbell Thorby. He died on New Years Day. He was 85 years of age. He had served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1922 to 1930, the last 3 years as Minister for Agriculture. He was elected to the Division of Calare in this chamber in 1931. He was defeated in 1940. He was Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Country Party from 1937 to 1940. He served as Minister in charge of war service homes from 1934 to 1936, as Minister for Defence from 1937 to 1938, as Minister for Civil Aviation from 1938 to 1939 and as Postmaster-General and Minister for Health from March 1940 to October 1940. I can remember him campaigning very assiduously and effectively for his Party only 10 years ago, at a very advanced age, in the electorates of Calare and Lawson.
All 4 members had an active, distinguished political life and preparation for political life in the House and an opportunity to serve scores of thousands of people as members of the House. Honourable members knew of them; a few knew all of them. It is a sad duty to commence the Parliament by recording their passing.
– On behalf of the Australian Liberal Party, the Opposition, I endorse the remarks made by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) about the former members of this Parliament whom we are remembering today. One of them, Mr Thomas Patrick Burke, was a member of the Australian Labor Party, as the Prime Minister has said. He was identified by the late Mr Chifley as a man with a contribution to make and was encouraged by Mr Chifley to play an increasing role in the Australian Labor Party at the time. He achieved a position of influence in the Party sufficient to gain him quite significant support as a candidate in the leadership contest against the late Dr Evatt in 1954. He always rigidly adhered to his high principles and political philosophy in spite of the stormy conflicts into which this adherence frequently led him. He made an active and full contribution to the Parliament in the 12 years he was a member and was also active in outside community activities.
I have a particular interest in speaking of Tom Burke. I first knew him in 1943 when he was first elected to this House; I campaigned against him unsuccessfully in that year. I knew him in the interim period, but I next had a close association with him in 1951 when I stood as the candidate for the Liberal Party against Tom Burke in the electorate of Perth. On that occasion it was a double dissolution election. There were some closely contested electorates and the electorate of Perth was one in which the voting was extremely close. It so happened that I led on first preferences but was defeated on the distribution of preferences, if my memory serves me correctly, by 114 votes. I extend our sympathy to his wife and to his sons and daughters and I wish well his son who is now serving as a member of the Legislative Assembly in Western Australia, as was mentioned by the Prime Minister.
Mr Jack Mortimer became the member for Grey at a by-election in 1963. He won again in 1963 and was defeated in 1966. I remember him very well. I think it is fair to say that he endeared himself to members of both sides of the House, including those who campaigned against him in the by-election in the iron triangle of South Australia, as a gentle large man. I have no personal knowledge of this, but I am informed by honourable members on my side who knew him well that he had a reputation as a gun shearer. Certainly, he retained that tanned, lean look of the outback character and the fact that he met his death in the northwest of Western Australia did not come as a surprise to those of us who knew him. His determination in making speeches and - I am sure honourable members will remember this - the slow grin he used to silence interjectors will be remembered by his friends in this House.
The Honourable William James Frederick Riordan was a different man. He served in this Parliament for 30 years. He was a very big man, as I recall him. I served in this Parliament with him. He was a member of the last Labor Administration. His uncle had held the seat of Kennedy before him and had been influential in the coming to leadership of Mr Curtin in 1935. Members of his family were connected with politics and, as the Prime Minister said, served the public. He was a committed parliamentarian. He became Chairman of Committees and was actively and constructively involved in inter-parliamentary affairs, on which he represented Australia overseas. He was an earnest man. He made a solid contribution to the public life of this country as a Minister and as a member of this Parliament. Many members in this chamber will remember him, as 1 said, us u big man physically and as a sincere man with a friend y smile for all who walked through the corridors of Parliament House, regardless of their political party. We pay our respects to his memory and extend our sympathy to his sisters.
The Honourable Harold Victor Campbell Thorby represented the Australian Country Party. I did not know him, but he played an active part in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for 8 years during the 1920s, the latter part of which was a difficult time, and as a Minister in the State House. In this Parliament, he represented an electorate for 9 years in the 1930s - again, a difficult decade - and he remained here until he was defeated in 1940. He was State Minister for Agriculture before entering Federal Parliament and held a number of portfolios in the Federal Government. I am informed that he was Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Country Party for 3 years. Outside the Parliament, as a farmer and grazier he entered into and made a valuable contribution to primary industry affairs, particularly through the Farmers and Settlers Association and the Graziers Association. He was a man of strong views, which he would state forcefully and with confidence, and his devoted work in the interests of the citizens of Australia entitles him to be remembered with respect.
– I join with the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) in supporting the remarks of condolence for former parliamentary colleagues, they being Mr T. P. Burke, Mr J. Mortimer, the Honourable W. J. F. Riordan and the Honourable H. V. C. Thorby. I agree with the Prime Minister that it is very sad indeed that we commence a
Parliament having to recall memories of former colleagues but I think that it is most fitting that the activities of these men are recorded and that their contribution to the country, to the Parliament and to their political parties is remembered.
I knew only 2 of these men - Mr Bill Riordan and Mr Jack Mortimer. Both were members of the Parliament during my time here and both made notable contributions to the Parliament and left this place with affectionate memories. The Hon. Vic Thorby, a former member for Calare, was a distinguished member of the Australian Country Party. He gave long service to both the Federal Parliament and the State Parliament of New South Wales. He was the Deputy Leader of the Federal Country Party for 3 years and he held a number of portfolios, as was mentioned by the Prime Minister. He was one of those rare people who held portfolios in both the Federal and State Parliaments. He took a leading part in the formation of agricultural policy in this country not only as a parliamentarian but also as a distinguished member of some of the principal farming organisations of New South Wales. We in the Country Party look upon him as being one of the pioneer members of the Party and his name will long be held in great esteem. To the relatives of these 4 gentlemen I express on behalf of the Country Party our sympathy at their loss.
– I should like to add a brief tribute to those already paid to the late Mr T. P. Burke. Tom Burke held the seat of Perth for the Australian Labor Parry from 1943 to 1955 and when he lost that seat it took the Labor Party 14 years and a major redistribution of boundaries to regain it. He must have served his constituents very well because even after all this time I find that I am never introduced as the member for Perth to a group of people within the inner city area without someone making the comment: Yes, that was Tom Burke’s seat, was it not? and just as inevitably comes the further comment: ‘He was a good man’.
I did not know Tom Burke when he was a member of this Parliament but men who did tell me that his view was respected in the Parliament and within the Parliamentary Labor Party. It has been said also that had the Labor Government been returned in 1949 Mr Chifley would have wanted him in that Labor Cabinet. But that was not to be. The
Labor Party lost government in 1949. Tom Burke lost his own seat in 1955 and then followed a rather peculiar period in which he found himself outside the Labor Party councils altogether. Looking back, that situation occurred through a strange and perhaps unique set of circumstances. On one hand Tom Burke always insisted that he had never resigned from the Labor Party and on the other hand the Labor Party maintained, just as insistently, that he had not been expelled. Nonetheless he was outside the Labor Party and he remained so for some years. I look back with some sense of personal satisfaction to the fact that 1 was able to play some small role in events both at State conference and the State Executive of the Labor Party in Western Australia which enabled him eventually to rejoin us.
By coincidence some years later Tom Burke and 1 were opposed to each other in the pre-selection ballot for the seat of Perth for the 1969 elections. I won the pre-selection and he lost, and he was very keenly disappointed by that loss. At the same time, in the best traditions of the Labor movement, as well as in keeping with his own personal standards of conduct, he never permitted that disappointment to interfere with the assistance which he gave to me in an unstinted and unreserved way towards my own election in 1969. A couple of months ago I had association with him again when I wrote to him to express my thanks for his work in organising a polling booth and for his assistance in many other ways in the election of last December.
Tom Burke had the satisfaction of seeing his own record of public service carried on by his son, Mr Terry Burke, M.L.A., who is one of the youngest members to be elected to the Western Australian State Parliament. Apart from Tom Burke’s political work he was active in many fields of community welfare and, in particular, played a major part in, and for many years was the guiding light of the slow learning children’s group of Western Australia. He will be sadly missed there as well as in many other areas. As always the main loss from his death falls upon his widow and his family. I am sure that I speak for many residents of Perth when I express my own respects and sympathy to his family.
– I join with previous speakers in their remarks of condolence and address my remarks mainly to a previous member for Calare, the Hon. H. V. C.
Thorby, who died early in January at the grand old age of 85. Vic Thorby started life as a small farmer. He later developed experience in the building trade and also gained experience and knowledge in architecture. His outstanding ability soon drew him into his industry organisation and he became State President of the Farmers and Settlers Association in 1926-27. He was on the State Council of the New South Wales Graziers Association for 3 years from 1952 to 1955. As honourable members have heard, his concern in general for the problems of the rural community resulted in his election to the State Parliament as the member for Wammerawa in 1922 and later as the member for Castlereagh. It has been stated already that he was the State Minister for Agriculture.
I think full credit must go to him as a Minister for consolidating the various branches of the New South Wales Department of Agriculture by having constructed the persent building which stands in Farrer Place, Sydney, and which gave the Department of Agriculture, which was just a group of separate entities, its own permanent home as a single entity. He was the State Chairman of the New South Wales Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission for 3 years. He was later elected to the division of Calare and served as the member for Calare from December 1931 until his defeat in September 1940. His ministerial portfolios have already been enumerated. Although 1940 was a long time ago, many people among the older generation in the division of Calare will remember Vic Thorby and his work. They remember him as a man of very high principles which he employed in all his dealings. He was a man of a very high standard of honesty and straightforward approach. He did so much of his work in the great depression when he fought a tremendous fight. He is recognised for this particularly among primary producers in the rural community. The fruit growers of Orange in particular will know of the concentration of effort he made on their behalf. So we see the passing of a splendid Australian who lived a long life of service to his fellow men. I join with the many people who are extending sympathy to the ones that he left behind and also extend appreciation for the life work of Victor Thorby.
– I also wish to associate myself with the remarks that have been made in this chamber in relation to the death of former members of the House and, in particular, to associate myself with the remarks that have been made in regard to the passing of the late member for the Queensland electorate of Kennedy, the Honourable W. J. F. Riordan. I knew Bill Riordan only in the last few years of his life, having had the honour to represent him in this Parliament from 1969. He lived in the town of Cleveland in my electorate of Bowman. As I knew him only in those latter years of his life, I cannot speak with any personal knowledge of his parliamentary career, save to say that I know from the remarks that have often been passed about Bill Riordan and from the questions that I have often been asked by members of this House who served with him that he was held in the highest regard by political friend and foe alike.
In the later years of his life, Bill Riordan was very active in many community organisations in Cleveland. He was associated with the Redlands Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Society and served on its council. He was an active member of the Cleveland Bowls Club. He was patron and a foundation member of the organising body of a well known aged persons’ home in the area, namely the Lake Allawah Home for the Aged. I am sure that members of this Parliament, particularly on this side of the House, who knew Bill during his political career, will be pleased to know that he retained an active association with the Australian Labor Party in the area in which he lived, almost up to the time of his death. I saw him some 6 weeks before his death. At that stage he was struggling to overcome the effects of a stroke which he had suffered earlier in the year. It was somewhat pitiful to endeavour to speak to a man about matters that he was interested in - subjects in the political arena - knowing that, while he understood what was being said to him, the heavy toll that that stroke had taken of his health meant that he was barely able to answer.
Bill Riordan’s early retirement from this Parliament was contributed to, I am sure, by the heavy toll that the 30 years of representation of the vast electorate of Kennedy took on his life. The heavy toll on his capacity to continue any longer was such that on medical advice he retired at a very early age. His death followed some 6 years later. He retired when 58 years of age. This is an age at which members of this House very seldom would look to retirement. I am sure that any member of this Parliament who is married will be willing to admit to the important role that his wife plays in the success of his political career. I am sure that those honourable members who knew Bill Riordan will readily understand my linking his wife Kath with the success of his political career.
My first knowledge of Kath Riordan came soon after I was endorsed as the Labor candidate for the electorate of Bowman. I met her at the Cleveland Showground when a large gathering was there. She was wearing her usual large hat, and she swept me off and introduced me to everybody within 5 to 10 minutes of my arrival there. But the very close role that Kath played in Bill’s life contributed again to some extent to the shortness of his life. She was tragically taken from him some 2 years before his death and, although many predicted that Bill would not last long after this, he had the capacity to draw himself up and regain his interest in life to a much greater extent than his friends ever felt that he would be able to do. But the rigours of the 30 years of effective and efficient representation that I believed he gave the electorate of Kennedy at last took its toll on his health and on 15th January he succumbed to a second stroke and peacefully passed away from this life in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, South Brisbane. In my final remarks I remind honourable members, as Bill often proudly told me, that he met his wife when he was introduced to her by the man who represented Melbourne until the last election, the right honourable Arthur Calwell. I understand that Arthur Calwell was a close, lifelong friend of Bill’s and was best man at his wedding. I support the remarks that have been made and extend my particular condolence to Bill’s sisters, the 2 remaining members of his family, especially to Nancy Riordan who I understand now will be living in Junee with her sister. Nancy, of course, was also very closely linked with Bill’s political career, being his secretary for a large part of that time.
– I also would like to make a small contribution to the remarks that have been passed about Bill Riordan. He was a lifelong friend of my family and I just cannot remember when I did not know him. He certainly gave years of splendid service to the electorate of Kennedy; in fact the Riordan family became a tradition which commanded a great deal of honour and respect in Queensland. Bill never got things the easy way. He became a barrister because he was determined to be one. He came up the hard way. He then had 30 years as the representative of the electorate of Kennedy and did his duty in such a way that I am yet to hear any member of any party question his dedication and sincerity. When Bill died and word got around the back country there was a great wave of sympathy in Queensland. His remaining relatives are his 2 sisters. J think Nancy is best known to us and I agree with the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) that Kath also was a splendid person.
Bill Riordan distinguished himself in many ways. He was Chairman of Committees in this Parliament for some years. He was admitted to the Bar by the Barristers’ Board, having got there the hard way. He eventually became Minister for the Navy. At that time we shared the great pride that his family took in him and 1 endorse all that has been said about him. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) said, he was a big man, and he was. He was big “m every possible way. When a case was handed to Bill Riordan, and I put some before him, he just did not deal with it formally and send a reply in the ordinary way. He saw it through. He had a sincerity and dedication towards the people and causes in the area that made him a part of our history and a very proud part of it too. I am indeed honoured to follow in his footsteps.
– 1 would like to pay a tribute to Mr Tom Burke and Mr Bill Riordan. I first got to know Tom Burke when I was elected to this Parliament and he sat next to me on the plane that came from Perth to Canberra. That may sound a very prosaic thing today but in those days one left Perth at 7 o’clock in the morning on a DC3 aircraft and got to Melbourne at 10 o’clock at night, flew to Canberra the next day and said how much faster it was than the train. In that period of time, of course, I sat next to htm on many DC3 flights to and from Western Australia - in those days only Western Australian members had air travel rights - and I got to know him extremely well. He not only was my supporter on the nervous occasion of my first flight but he was also best man at my wedding, which was another nervous occasion. So there was between us a very great bond of affection over the 12 years in which he was in the Federal Parliament.
When I was first elected to this Parliament Tom Burke was a very valuable adviser to me. Outside of the Parliament he was closely associated with the work of the slow learning children’s movement and he did very great and very compassionate work in that connection. He really thought that a form of education should be given to these children which would make them effective citizens. As a result of the work of Tom Burke and his associates many of them did become so, and that was a valuable community service indeed. In the days of the Chifley Government he was at one stage appointed to assist the late Arthur Drakeford when Arthur Drakeford was Minister for Air, and it was felt that Tom Burke was likely to enter the Labor Cabinet. But the defeat of the Labor Government in 1949 made that impossible. I would like to extend to his wife Madeleine Burke and the family my own deep sympathy. There was a very great tribute paid to him on the occasion of his funeral earlier this year which testified to the position he had in the electorate of Perth which was always a knife-edge electorate in those days. He won it originally in 1943 by a very small majority and held it mostly by very small majorities. He probably held it because of the very great deal of service he gave to foreign communities - the Greek and Italian communities in Perth in particular - who held him in very high respect. I remember Tom Burke really as a personal friend, and it is in that connection that 1 would like to pay a tribute to him.
Mr Bill Riordan was Chairman of Committees when I was first elected and after the retirement of one distinguished member of the Parliament he became Minister for the Navy. He was Minister for the Navy in succession to the honourable Norman Makin, who is here this afternoon and whose work in connection with this Parliament dates back to 1919. It is easy to overlook the very great significance of the work of Bill Riordan as Minister for the Navy. He brought to fruition some of the ideas that had been formulated during the period of Norman Makin as Minister. He brought into the Australian Navy, in 1948 and after, the 2 aircraft carriers that it still has - the ‘Sydney’ and the Melbourne’ - and the Daring class destroyers. These vessels were very great advances relative to the power of the Australian Navy beforehand Bill Riordan had a very great logic about this, a belief that an air arm was vital in the great expanses of the Pacific which, of course, was one of the lessons of the Second World War.
He a so had a very great deal of irritation wilh naval conservatism. 1 remember his anger when he saw the payment of £32,000 to a particular naval rating who had invented the very fine torpedo which had not been used by the Australian Navy but had been so d to an overseas power. The conservatism of not using discoveries that were in our own field was a very great irritation to him because I believe that he thought not in conservative terms but in logical terms to try to create a naval force. He was a man who had a tremendous fund of anecdotes. I never saw him campaigning in the electorate of Kennedy, but i believe that the anecdote rather than the political meeting was a major weapon in his political campaigns. Bill Riordan conversed with large numbers of people. He sometimes expounded to me the philosophy that these sort of personal contacts were the best way of winning and holding seats, and he certainly demonstrated that in the tenure that he had of the seat of Kennedy. He and his wife, who are now both gone, were a gay couple at parliamentary social occasions outside of the actual meetings of Parliament. I think he was a very convinced parliamentarian and straight shooter in the Parliament. I never heard him use terms of personal abuse about anybody. In that respect he was a model member. I would like to express sympathy to his surviving sisters.
- Mr Speaker, I join in the condolences offered by the 4 previous speakers. 1 would like in particular to join in the condolences offered by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and other honourable members concerning the late Mr Jack Mortimer who he’d t’ie seat of Grey for a period covering 2 parliaments. During the period that he held the seat of Grey he was untiring in his efforts to cover that vast electorate. Although it is still a large electorate, in those days it was even larger by perhaps 30,000 or 40,000 square miles. In the work that he did in covering that large electorate he gained many friends and I think was respected by all. In regard to my own personal association with Jack Mortimer as a trade union official and as an official of a sub-branch of the Australian Labor Party, during the period that he was the member for Grey on a number of occasions I raised matters with him and I must say that he treated me with the greatest courtesy. He did his utmost to see that the matters we raised were finalised to eur satisfaction. In conclusion I woud like to express on behalf of the people of Grey condolences to Mrs Jack Mortimer and her family for the loss of her husband and their father.
– I wish to associate myself with the remarks made by the previous speakers and to offer my brief but sincere tribute to the late Jack Mortimer who to me had all the qualities of a real man. His approach to life was based on honesty and tolerance and he was highly respected by all who knew him. In normal circumstances Jack Mortimer would still have been a member of this Parliament. He lost his seat in the big swing against his Party in 1966 although the swing against him personally represented the smallest percentage of swing of all South Australian Labor held seats. This clearly vindicates the oft repeated statement that in his day Jack Mortimer was the best Labor stalwart in the country districts of South Australia. I extend my deepest sympathy to Mrs Mortimer and her family.
– As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased former members of the House, I invite honourable members to rise in their places. (Honourable members having stood in their places)
– Thank you.
– I am sure that honourable members would wish to pay a similar tribute to the memory of 3 great North Americans who have served the men and women of the world in our generation - President Harry S. Truman who died on 26th December 1972; Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson who died on 27th December 1972 and President Lyndon Baines Johnson who died on 22nd January 1973.
Both President Truman and President Johnson came to office in shattering circumstances succeeding Presidents who had already made a formidable impact on contemporary history and on the imagination of the American people. Yet each achieved stature and distinction in his own right. Each went on to win decisive popular mandates in subsequent elections. Each took momentous decisions for peace and war. Each exerted a unique and abiding influence on modern history and stamped his presidency with a dynamic style of .government, a robust personal charm and a shrewd understanding of the needs and instincts of his countrymen.
It is inevitable that the head of the world’s most powerful nation should have unparalleled opportunities to exert his personality and to leave his mark on history. But President Truman and President Johnson accepted in full measure the challenge that their office afforded them. In what they revealed of their country’s generosity and idealism, in the reforms they achieved both at home and abroad, in the burdens and responsibilities they assumed, and above all, perhaps, in the courage of their decisions they stood in the first rank of modern Presidents. They had a clear and unfaltering conception of America’s role in the world. They understood better than most the responsibilities of modern governments and what they can achieve as the embodiment and protector of the people’s will.
The scale of President Truman’s achievements was matched only by the momentous nature of the problems he met and the political hazards he faced in surmounting them. It was his decision, and his alone, to drop the atomic bomb on Japan - the only time atomic weapons have been used in war. The wisdom of that decision will forever be disputed, but there is no reason whatever to doubt that he saw the use of the bomb as a means to speed the end of the war and to save the lives of Allied servicemen. With the war over, his authority and statesmanship were seen in full measure. In 1947 he proclaimed the Truman Doctrine, by which the United States committed herself, in his words, ‘to support the cause of freedom wherever it was threatened’. From this sprang the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in 1949. In the same year he announced his Four Point Programme to make the benefits of scientific and technological progress available to developing nations. But the most enduring monument to his memory is the Marshall Plan of 1948. It is a monument also to the generosity of the nation he led. By means of this plan $12.5 billion was given to nations devastated by war. The economic disintegration of Western Europe was reversed. Winston Churchill was to say of him at a later time:
You, more than any other man, have saved western civilisation.
President Johnson’s achievements in domestic legislation were as spectacular as President Truman’s in foreign affairs. In the first terrible days and weeks in the aftermath of the assassination at Dallas he held his nation firmly on a progressive and stable course, at a time when millions, of people around the world feared for the future of American democracy. He was the most experienced, the most skilful and the most successful legislator among American presidents. He was one of the great reforming presidents in the history of the republic. Many of his achievements in foreign policy were significant. He worked for detente with the Soviet Union, for an agreement on the reduction of fissionable materials, on reciprocal civil air flights, on cooperation in space research and on a nonproliferation treaty. But it is at home that his record guarantees him a measure of greatness. The Great Society’ was more than a slogan or a dream. Throughout the 3 Congresses during which he served as President - the 88th, the 89th and the 90th - he was responsible for a succession of social and domestic reforms unparalleled in our generation. Among them were the anti-poverty programme, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Medicare scheme, the attack on slum housing and on urban decay. He gave a new impetus to conservation and environmental preservation. He launched the most extensive anti-crime Bill in American history. He popularised the current concern with consumer legislation. In 1964 he secured the largest majority of any President in his nation’s history.
He had a profound love of his own countrymen and a unique comprehension of their instincts and aspirations. He understood the common man in a manner rare among world leaders. His roots were in his native Texas, among the ranchers and farmers with whom he grew up, to whom he returned in the aftermath of the heart attacks that struck him in later life and among whom he now rests. He had a genuine affection for Australia and the Australian people. He came here 3 times - once in the months immediately after the outbreak of war with Japan and twice as President. I remember him for his personal kindness and courtesy to me in Canberra and in Washington, on one occasion in Washington to my wife and daughter, who were with me, and on another occasion in Washington to my eldest son, whom he asked to call on him. The great tragedy of President Johnson’s career was the Vietnam war. It was a war he neither began nor ended. No-one would have welcomed more warmly than he the cease-fire announced by his successor the day after his death. It was due largely to his persistence and the bombing halt he ordered in 1968 that the Paris negotiations were undertaken.
Lester Pearson was the most distinguished international statesman in a nation herself distinguished for forthright and progressive policies in world affairs. He was one of several enlightened Canadians who have worked to transform their country’s reputation from that of an imperial dominion subject to British colonial tutelage and American economic power into an independent and distinctive force in the community of nations. Canada’s resemblance to Australia is marked in many ways. We both have modest populations and vast areas, much of them arid and unsettled. We are both medium powers in a world increasingly given to great power rivalries. We are both seeking accommodation and new understandings with powerful neighbours. We both, I believe, have unique opportunities to play a useful and constructive role in international affairs. In this respect Canada can be. as she has often been in the past, pur best example in Australia.
Among Canadians Lester Pearson was both an example and an inspiration. He was the foremost internationalist of his country in this century. His achievements were mainly in diplomacy and foreign affairs. He was one of the founders of the United Nations, working tirelessly for its formation. He believed firmly in its progress and adhered passionately to its principles and ideals. He paid tribute in his published works to one of my distinguished predecessors, Dr Evatt, whose qualities of drive, determination and energy and whose role as a diligent champion of the small countries he acknowledged in those books. Like Dr Evatt, he was elected President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. He was the only Canadian ever to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. The citation described him as a man with a strong faith in the final victory of the good forces of life. There can be no more fitting tribute to him now. He visited Australia in April 1969 during his world-wide researches for a report on aid and development commissioned by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Pearson Report was widely regarded as a milestone in the study of aid, for which it set progressive new guidelines. Those guidelines have still to be fully applied. Everybody with the responsibility of implementing them will remember this great Canadian, this great internationalist.
– I support the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister and wish to associate the Opposition with them. It is a most rare occurrence that this House on the one day notes the death of 2 former Presidents of our great ally, the United States of America. It would be the wish of all my Party that the closeness of our alliance be maintained and sustained. Harry Truman, 33rd President, was best known for his contribution to international affairs during his presidential service from April 1945 to January 1953. Many may have agreed with him, described as he was as ‘the little man from Missouri’, when he said of himself: There must be a million men better qualified than I’ as he acceded to the Presidency of the United States. It portrayed his modesty, and those who agreed had failed to see the quality he possessed and later showed the world. He undoubtedly grew with his job and made a very great contribution to the world as we know it today.
A common man to the end, with no sense of personal grandeur, he nevertheless exhibited a great strength in decision taking and firm leadership when he believed he was right. His order led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. History will always argue about his decision, but there can be no doubt that he made it believing it to be right. Its ramifications could not have been fully apparent to him then, or to the rest of the world then, and it remains to us the manifestation of the ferocity of science and its sheer power. We earnestly pray that no human being will ever again face such a decision. Yet, in contrast, his strength and foresight led him to commit his country to the policies of the Truman Doctrine and to the Marshall Plan - the massive economic reconstruction of Europe - costing the United States up to $12,000m from 1948 to 1951 alone, at a time when Europe was literally at its knees. This Marshall Plan was aptly described as ‘the most unsordid of unsordid acts in American history*. It saved Europe and it made Europe, and it created in Europe a force for world advance which we know today.
The historian Arnold Toynbee wrote that these mammoth projects of economic assistance, without any precedent in history, would be remembered as the signal achievement of the age. That was the opinion of Toynbee. Truman’s domestic achievements have not been so well remembered. His Fair Deal was bold, liberal and far sighted, but much of it was frustrated by Congress. Harry Truman combined wisdom and strength with integrity and humanity. He suffered at times great personal vilification, but his achievements will live in history. He said at the end: ‘I tried to give it everything’.
Many of us in this chamber have met Lyndon Baines Johnson. No President of the United States has been closer to Australia and Australians than was Lyndon Johnson. We accepted his hand of friendship which as a big man he offered. We accepted his belief in Australia when he said in Melbourne:
Your insight into Asia, your geographic position, and the integrity of your people have brought you to the edge of an era - the Pacific era - of infinite possibilities. Those of us in America who look west - and those in Asia who look east - will find a crossroad in Australia.
He was a liberal and reforming President who attempted to create a Great Society. He had very significant domestic achievements. He launched a war on poverty and unemployment. He relentlessly pursued civil rights reforms, including the Voting Rights Act of 196S, and he launched a massive programme of aid to schools and universities.
However, the bitter controversy over the Vietnam war that raged around that President submerged in our memories some of those achievements. He led a great nation in one of its most difficult periods. At the time of his death I said that his personal agonising over that war reflected his deep humanity and that humanity was a testimony to his greatness and no doubt was a major contributor to his early death. No man has borne greater personal burdens for the sake of his country. This country should remember him and will remember him as a great world leader. He came here twice as President, as the Prime Minister has said, and by those actions he set the seal on his friendship for Australia and his determination to maintain the closeness of our alliance.
Mr Pearson, by his stature and efforts, gave his country Canada a new and significant role in international relations. Domestically, he achieved a significant programme of reforms, particularly in the fields of social services and legal rights. This was in spite of a precarious majority in his Parliament. Indeed, at one stage I think it was a minority government. He had the courage to take and carry through unpopular decisions when he thought they were right and in the national interest. He grappled with the problem of the French separatists and the culture clash that was polarising his country. His achievements in the move towards bi-culturalism alone were enough to make him an important leader in the history of his country but it is as an international diplomat and statesman that he is better known. He was the key adviser in the San Francisco Conference in 1945. His contribution to the development of the United Nations Charter was comparable to the. significant contribution of our own Australian, Dr Evatt. He played an important role in the partition of Palestine in 1947. He was a chief negotiator of the Korean truce and in 1956 his hand guided the super powers towards the peace that followed the Suez crisis. His efforts were recognised by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. He was commissioned by the World Bank to do a study of underdeveloped countries. His report: ‘Partners in Development’ was a major contribution to thinking in this field and continues so to be. Lester Pearson became an outstanding Canadian and international statesman yet he retained a great sense of humour and a real humanity.
Each of the men we remember were best known tor the roles they played in international affairs. Each had a great liberal domestic aspiration never fully realised. Each was able to take strong unpopular decisions in spite of current pressures because they believed they were right. We stand respectful in the memory of these great men.
– Mr Speaker, I join with the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) in the splendid remarks they have made about these 3 North American statesmen - Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Right Honourable Lester Bowles Pearson and Harry S. Truman. It is a pity in a way that it is necessary to bulk these 3 distinguished people together. I think each one of them is deserving of a special occasion. They were men of outstanding characteristics. They were outstanding world figures and all 3 have made notable contributions not only to their inn people but also to mankind generally. Their achievements will be immortalised and will remain, I believe, as an inspiration to other public figures who will follow them. They have had to shoulder enormous and onerous responsibilities and it is therefore fitting that a few moments in this House be taken in paying tribute to them and expressing sympathy to the peoples of Canada and the United States of America.
The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have very competently mentioned some of the achievements of these men but I think the job of making a complete summary must be left to the historians. Of the 3, only Lyndon Baines Johnson was known to me personally as he was known to many other members of this House. He was extremely well known to most Australians. He will be remembered as the only President of the United States of America to visit Australia while in office. In fact, he visited Australia twice. His friendship to and his affection for this country were obvious. I believe that when the late Harold Holt made the comment ‘AH the way with LBJ’ he was expressing the affection and opinion of a great majority of the Australian people, not only in respect of the President’s actions but also in admiration of the responsibilities that this man was carrying. This affection was put into evidence when he visited Australia on his first triumphant tour, a tour which could be matched in numbers and spontaneity only by the tours of Her Majesty the Queen.
The second visit of the President was when he attended the memorial service on the sad occasion of the disappearance of Harold Holt. It was a most generous gesture by one of the busiest men in the world when he came to Australia to give a clear indication of his affection for our former Prime Minister and for our country. When I sat behind the late President during the memorial service I could not help feeling what a powerful but lonely role this man played in carrying the great responsibilities of the Western World and yet how fragile and temporary that power was in the light of death. I am sure that Harold Holt’s disappearance made an enormous impact on the President, as it did on many Australians at the time. Many will remember Ladybird Johnson when she accompanied the President to Australia. On that occasion as Minister for the Interior I had the pleasure of looking after her one morning. I should like to have my sympathy extended to her and her family in their sad loss.
– As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased I invite honourable members to rise in their places. (Honourable members having stood in their places)
– Thank you.
House adjourned at 6.7 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 February 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1973/19730227_reps_28_hor82/>.