9 December 1914

6th Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister of Defence) [3.1]. - I ask permission to move a motion without notice in connexion with the death of the Hon. J. A. Arthur.

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE. - I move -

(1) That this Senate places upon record its high appreciation of the great public services of the late Hon. John Andrew Arthur, Minister of State for External Affairs, and tenders its sincere sympathy to the bereaved widow and) family of an eminent citizen, whose untimely decease is a great loss to the Commonwealth.

(2) That the President be requested to convey the foregoing resolution to Mrs. Arthur.

I submit the motion with sincere regret. The deceased gentleman was quite ‘ a young man, having only reached the age of thirty-nine years. He had the promise of a brilliant career as a legislator, and had already attained a very high place in his profession. His life was a busy one. He filled it with energy and industry, and, in doing so, he made - a name for himself, not only in the legal profession, but in the public life of Australia. I am sure that the whole of the Senate will place on record this motion with all sincerity, because we realize that in the young citizen who has been taken away from us the Parliament has lost a very valuable member, and the Commonwealth a valuable citizen.

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) [3.4]. - I desire to associate myself- with the motion by formally seconding it.I had not the opportunity of more than a. formal acquaintance with the deceased! gentleman, but, in common with the’ other members of this Chamber, I had’. ample opportunity of judgingas to the* position which Mr. Arthur had acquired”’ in the ranks of parliamentarians, and of that brighter future which seemed indicated as belonging to him had he been spared. We, of course, lament the loss of a political comrade, but much more than that I venture to say that we must express our regret when at any time a man who has not yet reached the prime of life is suddenly called from a useful life of considerable industry - summoned away when he was barely on the threshold of what promised to be a career of both, usefulness to his country and honour to himself. In addition to expressing our regret at the untimely death of Mr. Arthur, this motion, I think, very properly tenders, on behalf of this branch of the Parliament, our sincere sympathy with the inmates of the home now clouded with grief. We can do but little to remove that sorrow, but it is possible, and I am sure it is the hope of honorable senators in assenting to the motion, that the expressions which we place on record may do something to turn away the sharp edge, of a loss which we recognise is irreparable.

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) [3.5]. - If I may be permitted, as one who made the acquaintance of the deceased some time ago, and also his people, I would like to add a few words to the expressions of regret which have been uttered. When death comes at any time, it gives a very stern reminder of the insecurity of life, but when it lays its hand upon one of such exceptional promise as the deceased gentleman, it appeals with tenfold force to our sense of sorrow. In the case of Mr. Arthur, the loss is no ordinary one for this Parliament and for the people of the Commonwealth, especially so when we recall his militant career. He started in a very humble way without any social distinction’, and certainly with no advantage of family fortune, and by sheer dint of the fine mental gifts he possessed, coupled with boundless energy and will, he reached the very pinnacle of success. It is doubly sad to think that at this particular time, when he was about to enjoy the highest gift that could be bestowed upon him by his fellow-citizens, his career should be cut short so arbitrarily. I can only express, with the speakers who preceded me, my deep sense of sorrow at the loss we have sustained, and in saying that I hope that Almighty God will be compassionate on the soul that has gone, and comfort his sorely afflicted wife and children, I be lieve that I am expressing the heart-felt hope of this branch of the ^Federal Parliament.

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

page 1458


Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I move -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 3 o’olock to-morrow, or till such later time as the President takes the chair.

The funeral of the late Mr. Arthur will move from the Federal Parliament House at 11 o’clock to-morrow morning for the Coburg cemetery, and the motion is so framed that if honorable senators are not able to be in their places at 3 o’clock, the President can take the chair at some later time.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.8 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 December 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.