House of Representatives
12 August 1925

9th Parliament · 3rd Session

Mr. Speaker (Rt. Hon. W. A. Watt) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs · Flinders · NAT

– Again an occasion has arisen when the House must bow its head in sorrow for the death of a member of the Parliament. It is with the deepest regret that I announce that Senator Russell died on the 18th July. The honorable senator was known to most of us, and the services which he rendered to this country, particularly during the war, will not soon be forgotten. Such deaths have been far too frequent of recent years, and are evidence of the tremendous toll which public life levies upon those who devote themselves to it. Senator Russell had a long parliamentary career, and unquestionably his death was hastened by the services he rendered to the country, both as a private member and as a Minister of the Crown. He was first elected to the Senate in 1907, and held his position continuously until his death, a period of some nineteen years’, (hough during the latter days of his life the strain which he had endured made it impossible for him to take his place in that chamber. He was made an Assistant Minister in 1911, and was an Assistant Minister during the war, in 1918 becoming Vice-President of the Executive Council. All ofus who knew him especially those who were his colleagues during that time, recognize the great value of the service he rendered in very difficult and exceptional circumstances. He waspresident of the Wheat Board, a positionin which he had to face new and extremely difficult problems; but the manner in which he carried out its duties commanded universal respect and admiration. In private, Senator Russell endeared himself to all who knew him. We remember with regret his pleasing personality and his readiness to give assistance to those whom he could help. Personally, I was under a particular obligation to him, because as a Minister he gave me great assistance in my first political campaign. To-day we can only express cur deep sense of loss. But we desire to extend to his wife and the young children he has left behind our deep and sincere sympathy. We hope that their sorrow may be mitigated to some extent by the knowledge that he was held in the greatest respect by those associated with him, that he died unquestionably in the service of his country, and that his memory will long be held in honour by the Australian people. I move -

That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Senator Edward John Russell, places upon record its sincere appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and extends its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their sad bereavement.


.- I join with the right honorable the Prime Minister in expressing my sincere regret at the passing of Senator Russell. He was a member of the Senate for a very long term, and during it had many important duties’ to perform, which he carried out with ability, and such energy as, no doubt, contributed to his ill-health and untimely end. To the widow and family we, on this side of the chamber, extend our sincere sympathy in the great loss of a beloved husband and father.

North Sydney

– As an old colleague of Senator Russell, I should like to add to what the right honorable the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have said, my own tribute of respect. Senator Russell gave his life to the service of the people. He figured prominently as a champion of the people’s rights. He was a man who had no enemies. He contrived to pass through life with a smiling face for all men, yet he did his duty as he saw it faithfully and well. Some honorable members may not have agreed with every act of his political life, but there is no member of this House who did not sincerely esteem and respect him. He was a likeable man, and he was a man of capacity. Upon him, during the war, fell heavy and responsible duties. He was charged, amongst other things, with the management of the Wheat Pool ; upon his shoulders was the responsibility for the details of that vast and complex undertaking. Its success is his monument, It was my privilege to know him intimately - to be his colleague and his friend. I knew him as a fellow member of the Labour party and as a fellow Minister both in Labour and Nationalist administrations. Upon his support one could always count. He was not only a very loyal and faithful friend, but a man who took a broad and tolerant view of life. I do not think that during his career he said an unkind thing or any political opponent, and be had no personal enemies. He has gone. He was not in the manner of his death one of those happy ones, of whom there havo been several in this Parliament, who were stricken in the plenitude of their power - in the morning they were, and in the evening they were cut down ; his lamentable illness was longdrawnout. ‘ For long months he suffered grievously. But we remember him as he was at his best; this is the picture of him which we shall carry in our minds. To my fellow members I say that we could ill afford to lose such a man ; to my fellow citizens I say that Australia is the’ poorer for his death. He was a friend, faithful and true; an exemplary citizen. I have very much pleasure - if such a term can be used on such an occasion - in adding my testimony to the sorrow and regret that we all feel at his death.

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

Motion (by Mr. Bruce) agreed to -

ThatMr. Speaker be requested to transmit, to Mrs. Russell the foregoing resolution and a copy of the addresses delivered thereon.


– As a mark of respect to the memory of the late honorable gentleman, I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

House adjourned at 3.12 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 August 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.