17th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced’, was admitted, and delivered the message that the Deputies of the Governor-General for the Opening of the Parliament desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
The Deputy authorized by the GovernorGeneral to administer the oath entered the chamber.
The Clerk read the commission, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, authorizing the Honorable Edward Aloysius McTiernan, a Justice of the High Court of Australia, to administer the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance to the King required by the Constitution to be taken or made by members of the House of Representatives.
– I have to announce that I have received from the Military and Official Secretary to the GovernorGeneral returns to 74. writs, for the election of members of the House of Representatives held on the 21st August, 1943. I have also to announce that the return to the writ for the election of a member for the Northern Territory has not yet been received by me.
The following honorable members made and subscribed the oath or affirmation of allegiance: -
Abbott, Honorable Joseph. Palmer, M.C., New England,. New South Wales.
Adermanns, Charles Frederick, Maranoa, Queensland.
Anthony, Honorable Hubert Lawrence, Richmond, New South Wales.
Barnard,. Herbert Claude, Bass, Tasmania.
Beasley, Honorable John Albert,West Sydney, New South. Wales.
Bowden,. George James, M.C., Gippsland, Victoria.
Breen, John Patrick,Calare, New South Wales.
Bryson, William George, Bourke, Victoria.
Burke, Thomas Patrick, Perth, Western Australia.
Calwell, Honorable Arthur Augustus, Melbourne, Victoria.
Cameron, Honorable Archie Galbraith, Barker, South Australia.
Chambers, Cyril, Adelaide, South Australia.
Chifley, Honorable Joseph; Benedict, Macquarie, New South Wales.
Clark, Joseph James, Darling; New South Wales.
Coles, Arthur William, Henty, Victoria.
Conelan, William Patrick, Griffith, Queensland.
Corser, Bernard Henry, Wide Bay, Queensland.
Daly, Frederick Michael, Martin, New South Wales.
Dedman, Honorable John Johnstone, Corio, Victoria.
Drakeford, Honorable Arthur Samuel, Maribyrnong, Victoria.
Evatt, Right Honorable Herbert Vere, K.C., Barton, New South Wales.
Fadden, Right Honorable Arthur William, Darling Downs, Queensland.
Falstein, Sydney Max, Watson, New South Wales-
Forde, Honorable Francis Michael, Capricornia, Queensland.
Francis, Honorable Josiah, Moreton, Queensland.
Eraser, Allan Duncan, Eden-Monaro, New South Wales.
Frost, Honorable Charles William, Franklin, Tasmania.
Fuller, Arthur Neiberding, Hume, New South Wales.
Gaha, John Francis, Denison, Tasmania.
Guy, Honorable James Allan, Wilmot, Tasmania.
Hadley, James William, Lilley, Queensland.
Harrison, Honorable Eric John, Wentworth, New South Wales.
Haylen, Leslie Clement, Parkes, New South Wales.
Holloway, Honorable Edward James, Melbourne Ports, Victoria.
Holt, Honorable Harold Edward, Fawkner, Victoria.
Hughes, Right Honorable William Morris, C.H., KG., North Sydney, New South Wales.
Hutchinson, William Joseph, Deakin, Victoria.
James, Rowland, Hunter, New South Wales.
Johnson, Herbert Victor, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Langtry, Joseph Ignatius, Riverina, New South Wales.
Lawson, Honorable George, Brisbane, Queensland.
Lazzarini, Honorable Hubert Peter, Werriwa, New South Wales.
Lemmon, Nelson, Forrest, Western Australia.
Lyons, Dame Enid Muriel, G.B.E., Darwin, Tasmania.
Makin, Honorable Norman John Oswald, Hindmarsh, South Australia.
Martens, George William, Herbert, Queensland.
McDonald, Honorable Allan McKenzie, Corangamite, Victoria.
McEwen, Honorable John, Indi, Victoria.
McLeod, Donald, Wannon, Victoria. Menzies, Right Honorable Robert Gordon, E.G., Kooyong, Victoria.
Morgan, Charles Albert Aaron, Reid, New South Wales.
Mountjoy, Donald Alfred, Swan, Western Australia.
Mulcahy, Daniel, Lang, New South Wales .
Page, Right Honorable Sir Earle Christmas Grafton, G.C.M.G., C. H.,Cowper, New South Wales.
Pollard, Honorable Reginald Thomas, Ballaarat, Victoria.
Rankin, George James, D.S.O., V.D., Bendigo, Victoria.
Riordan, William James Frederick, Kennedy, Queensland.
Rosevear, Honorable John Solomon, Dalley, New South Wales.
Russell, Edgar Hughes Deg, Grey, South Australia.
Ryan, Rupert Sumner, C.M.G., D.S.O., Flinders, Victoria.
Scullin, Right Honorable James Henry, Yarra, Victoria.
Scully, Honorable William James, Gwydir, New South Wales.
Sheehan, Thomas, Cook, New South Wales.
Sheehy, Thomas Neil, Boothby, South Australia.
Smith, Albert Edward, Wakefield, South Australia.
Spender, Honorable Percy Claude, K.C., Warringah, New South Wales.
Ward, Honorable Edward John, East Sydney, New South Wales.
Watkins, David Oliver, Newcastle, New South Wales.
White, Honorable Thomas Walter, D. F.C., V.D., Balaclava, Victoria.
Williams, Thomas Francis, Robertson, New South Wales.
Wilson, Alexander, Wiramera, Victoria.
The Deputy retired.
Mr. SHEEHAN (Cook).I move-
That the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) do take the chair of this
House as Speaker.
– -Therebeing no further nomination, I declare Mr. Rosevear elected.
Members of the House then calling Mr. Rosevear to the Chair, he was taken out of his place by Mr. Sheehan and
Mr. SPEAKER, standing on the upper step, said - I thank honorable members for having elected me to the high and honorable position of Speaker of this House.
Mr. Speaker having seated himself in the chair.
– In the unfortunate absence of the Prime ‘Minister (Mr. Curtin) through illness, I, on behalf of the Government and, I am sure, of the House, offer to you, Mr. Speaker, hearty congratulations upon your election to the high office of Speaker. During your’ brief occupancy of the chair in the last Parliament you discharged your functions with impartiality and considerable ability. Honorable members may rest assured that you will continue to act up to the highest traditions of the office. You follow a long line of distinguished men, and I am confident that during your period of office you will distinguish yourself and give complete satisfaction to all honorable members.
-The Opposition desires to be associated with the congratulations that are offered to you, Mr. Speaker, upon your appointment. While in the Senate just now listening to the remarks that were addressed to us by the Senior Deputy of His Excellency the Governor-General, I was much struck by the phrase used by His Honour, that we should “ retire to the place where you are to sit and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker “. Oddly enough, even then I had the vague idea that, you, sir, would be that proper person. You occupied the chair for only a brief period in the last Parliament, but it was sufficiently long to imbue every honorable member with the confident belief that you would be a remarkably successful Speaker. If you will permit me to catalogue them, I may say that you possess all the qualities that are needed by the occupant of the chair, namely, marked ability, great good humour, a ready wit, and a sound knowledge of the procedure of this House. You also have exhibited the quality of impartiality. If I may say so, you will need to exercise that quality in this Parliament; because the Government is now “ compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” that you will find it necessary to keep your head permanently inclined to the left if you are not to do more than justice to the right. I am sure that you will do that. We all congratulate you.
– On behalf of the Country party I, too, extend congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that the Ministerial party, and the House as a whole, have made a. wise choice in having elected you to the high and honorable position of Speaker. You held that position with marked ability, conscientiousness, and impartiality for a period during which we who sit on this side of the House had the opportunity to gain evidence of your qualifications. A continuation of the qualities that you then displayed will prove eminently satisfactory to the party that I have the honour to lead.
– I thank the Deputy Leader of the Government (Mr. Forde), the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) and the right honorable member for Darling Downs (Mr.Fadden) for their very kindly expressions in regard to myself. As the Deputy Leader of the Government has said, I follow a long line of honorable gentlemen who have occupied this chair with great distinction. I shall endeavour to continue to give that satisfaction which the leaders of the parties have said that I gave during my previous occupancy of the chair.
– I have ascertained that it will be the pleasure of His Excellency the Governor-General to receive you, Mr. Speaker, in the Parliamentary Library at 2.42 p.m. to-day.
– I shall be pleased if Ministers and other honorable members who wish to do so will accompany me to the Parliamentary Library at the hour mentioned, and there be presented to His Excellency.
Sitting suspended from 11.15 a.m. to
The House proceeded to the Library, and, having re-assembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by honorable members, I proceeded to the Library of 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.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that His Excellency the Governor-General desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith.
Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,
– I formally announce that on the 21st September, 1943, a new Ministry was formed, constituted as follows: -
Minister for the Army - The Honorable F. M. Forde, who will also be Deputy Prime Minister.
Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction - The Honorable J. B. Chifley.
Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs - The Right Honorable H. V.. Evatt, LL.D., K.C.
Minister for the Navy and Minister for Munitions - The Honorable N. J.O. Makin.
Minister for Trade and Customs - Senator the Honorable R. V. Keane.
Postmaster-General and Vice-President of the Executive Council - Senator the Honorable W. P. Ashley.
Minister for War Organization of Industry and Minister in Charge of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - The Honorable J. J. Dedman.
Minister for the Interior - Senator the Honorable J. S. Collings.
Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services - Senator the Honorable J. M. Fraser.
Minister for. Repatriation and Minister in Charge of War Service Homes - The Honorable C. W. Frost.
Minister for Aircraft Production - Senator the Honorable D. Cameron.
Senate Ministers will be represented in the House of Representatives as follows : -
The Honorable J. A. Beasley will represent the Minister, for Trade and Customs.
The Honorable E. J. Holloway will represent the Minister for Health and the Minister for Social Services.
The Honorable A. S. Drakeford will represent the Minister for Aircraft Production.
The Honorable H. P. Lazzarini will represent the Minister for the Interior.
The Honorable A. A. Calwell will represent the Postmaster-General.
Ministers in the House of Representatives will be represented in the Senate as follows: -
Senator the Honorable R.V. Keane will represent the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and. the Treasurer and Minister for Post-war Reconstruction.
Senator the HonorableW. P. Ashley will represent the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for the Navy and Minister for Munitions, the Minister for Labour and
National Service, and the Minister for Information.
Senator the Honorable J. S. Collings will represent the Minister for Transport andthe Minister for External Territories, and the Minister for Home Security.
Senatorthe Honorable J. M. Fraser will represent the Minister for the Army, the Minister for Supply and Shipping, and the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture.
Senatorthe Honorable D.Cameron will represent the Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation, the Minister for War Organization of Industry and Minister in Charge ofthe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Minister for Repatriationand Minister in Charge of War Service Homes.
The members of the War Cabinet are - Mr. Curtin, Mr. Forde,Mr. Chifley, Dr. Evatt, Mr. Beasley, Mr. Makin, Mr. Drakeford and Mr. Dedman.
– I desire to inform you, Mr. Speaker, and the House, that I have been appointed Leader, and the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) Deputy Leader, of the Opposition.
– I desire to inform you, Mr. Speaker, and the House, that I have been appointed Leader and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. McEwen) Deputy Leader, of the Australian Country party.
Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to-
That leave be given to bring in a bill for an actto amendtheStatutory Declarations Act 1911-1922.
Bill presented, and read afirst time.
– I have toreport that the House this day attended His Excellency the GovernorGeneral in the Senate chamber, where His Excellency was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament, of which I have receiveda copy (vide page 8).
Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -
Thata committee consisting of Mr. Chambers, Mr. Williams and the mover, 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 thatthe committee do report at the next sitting.
Motion (by Mr. Forde) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 10.30 a.m.
Mr.FORDE (Capricornia - Deputy Prime Minister). - I regret to inform honorable members of the death on the 20th August last of the Honorable Sir William Hill Irvine, formerly LieutenantGovernor and Chief Justice of Victoria and earlier a member of the House of Representatives and Attorney-General of the Commonwealth.
The late Sir William Irvine had a very successful career embracing law and politics, the latter covering both State and Commonwealth spheres. He was elected in September, 1894, to the Legislative Assembly, Victoria, for Lowan, which seat he held till the 25th June, 1906, when he resigned. He held several ministerial offices. He was AttorneyGeneral from December, 1899 to November, 1900, and Premier from June, 1902, to February, 1904, holding with that office the portfolio of AttorneyGeneral till July, 1903, and afterwards that of Treasurer.
Turning his political activitiesto the federal sphere, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Flinders, Victoria, at the general elections in 1906. 1910, 1913, 1914 and 1917. He became Attorney-General in June, 1913, and held that office until September, 1914. He resigned his seat in this House in April, 1918, uponhis appointment as Chief Justice of the State of Victoria. He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of that State on the 8th October, 1918.
Possessing qualities of mind of a very high order, he devoted himself unsparingly to the service of his country. He assumed the task of guiding the people of Victoria during a period of very great difficulty in the history of that State. His entry later to federal politics gave further scope for the exercise of his great talents. His wide scholarship, devotion to duty and dignified courtesy earned the deep esteem of his fellow men. Not alone the State of Victoria, but the whole of Australia, I believe, derived material benefit from the eminent services which he rendered and we pay homage to the memory of a great Australian. I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of the Honorable Sir William Hill Irvine, n former member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Flinders, and a Minister of the Crown, also a former Lieutenant-Governor and Chief Justice of the State ot Victoria, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its deep sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition, I second the motion. It was my proud privilege to know Sir “William Irvine very well, both as a politician and as a lawyer, and I shall always look back to him as one of the very great Australians of my time. He had great scholarship; he had great character; he had great courage, and, perhaps above all. he had great honesty of mind. As an advocate, as a statesman and as a judge, he served this country as, I believe, few men have served it. In those circumstances, we do very well to remember his work and his character, because the history and the progress of any country depend upon the quality of the men and women who serve it. Australia, I believe, was very fortunate indeed to attract first the life and then the service of such a man as Sir William Irvine, and I shall remember him very distinctly as one who has very profoundly influenced my own life and occasionally, I hope, influenced my own conduct. The Opposition joins with the Government in its expression of regret and sympathy on this occasion.
– As the present member for Flinders, which was represented for so long by Sir William Irvine, I wish to pay tribute to hi3 memory. In the past, Flinders has been very fortunate in having as its representatives men of great distinction. Amongst previous representatives none served this country better in a wide sphere of offices than the late Sir William Irvine. He was, as the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out, for twelve years the member for Flinders and he rendered excellent service. There are few Australians, I think, in any sphere of life who have sh own more selfless devotion to duty over a wide range of positions, including the most eminent that could be bestowed, than Sir William Irvine. He was a man of the highest integrity and character, liberally endowed with great qualities, a man to be admired. His memory will remain as an inspiration to all those in public life to-day who are shouldering the burdens which he bore so long and so honorably.
– The Australian Country party associates itself with the sentiments which have been expressed by the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the passing of such a great Australian as was Sir William Irvine. His record is the best monument to his memory, and it will be an inspiring example to all Australians who desire to give this great country the service which is so requisite to the maintenance of our institutions and our democracy.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– It is with sincere regret that I refer to the death of Senator the Honorable James Cunningham, which took place at Albury on the 4th July last. The late James Cunningham had a leng and distinguished record of service as a representative of the people, having sat as a member of each House of the Western Australian Parliament, as well as in the capacity of a senator in the Commonwealth Parliament. . He was first elected to the Legislative Council of Western Australia for North East Province at the by-election on the 7th July, 1916. He was defeated at the election in 1.922 but was elected to the Legislative Assembly in January, 1923 at the byelection for Kalgoorlie, which seat he held until defeated at the general election in 1936. He served as an honorary Minister from the 16th April, 1924, to the 15th December, 1927, and as Minister for Goldfields and Agricultural Water Supplies from the 15th December, 1927, to the 23rd April, 1940. He was elected to the Senate for Western Australia at the general election on the 23rd October, 1937, taking his seat from that date. He was Temporary Chairman of Committees from December, 1937, to August, 1940. Fie was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from the 10th September, 1940, until the 1st July, 1941, when he was appointed President of the Senate. He held this high office at the time of his death. His personal qualities endeared him to all members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, regardless of party. The late senatoll was a stalwart of the Labour movement in Western Australia in which, first as a trade union organizer and later as a representative in parliament, he gave loyal and faithful service. He will be remembered for the very dee ] interest which he displayed in the welfare of the workers of that State, particularly the miners, and later the workers and miners throughout, Australia. His administration as a member of the Government of Western Australia was performed in the same capable and thorough manner as characterized all the work that he undertook in the course of his public duties. His occupancy of the presidential chair of the Senate was marked by courtesy and dignity, backed by a thorough knowledge of parliamentary procedure. The loss of the late James Cunningham will be felt by the whole nation, but particularly by the State of Western Australia and a wide circle of friends to whom he endeared himself by his sterling character and kindly disposition. We extend our sincere sympathy to his widow and family, to whom the loss is irreparable. We trust that they will be comforted in the knowledge that he served his country well and was well beloved by his fellow men. As a tribute to the service which he rendered to the Commonwealth and to the State of Western Australia, the late President of the Senate was accorded a State funeral. I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of the Honorable James Cunningham, a senator for the State of Western Australia, President of the Senate, and a former State Minister, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious .public service, mid tenders its heartfelt sympathy to the widow and members of his family in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition, I support the motion. Those of us who are not members of the party to which the late honorable senator belonged, knew him best in his life at Canberra, and every member of the Opposition in both chambers regarded him as a friend. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) said quite truly that his tenure of office as President of the Senate was marked by great courtesy and competence, and he added to those qualities a genial and unaffected friendliness and a wise experience which impressed all members of both Houses very much. His sudden death - bis most unexpected death - came as a great shock to members of this Parliament, and honorable members on this side of the chamber certainly desire to be associated most warmly in the message of condolence to the bereaved family.
– The Australian Country party desires to associate itself with the sympathetic sentiments that have been expressed regarding the late Senator the Honorable James Cunningham. I numbered him among my intimate friends. As the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) has rightly stated, the deceased gentleman had endeared himself to every honorable member of both chambers. We learnt of his death with feelings of great sorrow, and we sincerely join in the expressions of regret that will be conveyed to his bereaved ones.
– I was privileged to know the late James
Cunningham for the greater part of my life. Indeed, I was associated with him .in my youth, at a time when he was performing the pioneering duties associated with the establishment of the Labour movement in Western Australia. He rendered to the Labour movement loyal and honest service that inspired other people to work for the promotion of its ideals. He was a man of great ability. At first he served the Labour movement in .an honorary capacity ; later he was appointed secretary of a trade union. He entered the legislative halls of Western Australia, and subsequently was elected to the Parliament of the Commonwealth and was quickly elevated to the high and honorable office of President of the Senate. The late senator had friends throughout the Commonwealth. He was, in every sense of the word, a “big” Australian. He studied all questions from the national standpoint. I conclude with the words of Roderic Quinn that “ God summoned a man whom we ill could spare “ when Senator Cunningham died.
Question resolved in .the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
.. - I sincerely regret to inform honorable members of the death on the 21st July last of the Honorable David John O’Keefe, a former senator and member of the House of Representatives, and later Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. He and I were amongst the members who entered the Parliament following the election in 1922. I always regarded him as one of my dearest friends, and his passing will cause sorrow to all honorable members who were associated with him. He had a very long and varied parliamentary career. Prior to his death he was one of the small band of surviving mem’bers of the first Commonwealth Parliament. He was elected to the Senate for Tasmania at the general election in 1901. Defeated at the general election in 1906, he was again elected to the Senate at the general elections of 1910 and 1914. He was Chairman of Committees from 1910 to 1914 and ,was a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in 19.1 J-18. At the general election :of 19.19 he w.as again defeated, but was elected to the House of Representatives for -Denison, Tasmania, at the general election in 1922. He lost that seat in 19.25 and unsuccessfully contested the Senate elections in 1931. In 1934, he turned his attention to .State politics and gained election to the Tasmanian House of Assembly., -as the representative of the constituency of Wilmot. Subsequently, he became Speaker of that chamber and held that high office until 1941. In that year he was awarded the distinction of Companion of the Order of ‘S:t. Michael and St. George. The late David O’Keefe was one of the (pioneers of the Labour movement and for years was a member of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour party. He was held in high esteem, not on’ly by those whose views were similar to his own, but also by all his political opponents as a forthright man who had strong convictions but who was tolerant of the views of others. He shared in the foundation of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, and with several short breaks continued to be associated with the Parliament for 25 years. This .long period of national service, together with his subsequent career in the State legislature, testified to the confidence and high regard in which he was held by the people of Tasmania. In recognition of the service which he rendered to the Commonwealth and to Tasmania, the deceased gentleman was accorded a -State funeral. I hope that it will be some consolation to his sorrowing family to know that his passing is mourned not only in this Parliament but also by a large circle of friends throughout Australia. I move -
That this House records its sincere regret at the death of the Honorable David John O’Keefe, a former senator for the State of Tasmania and member of the House of Representatives ‘for the Division of Denison, and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Tasmania., places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to the widow and members of his family :rn their -bereavement.
Mr- HUGHES (North Sydney- Deputy Leader of the Opposition) . - I second the motion, and associate the members of the
United Australia party with the remarks of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde). I knew the late Honorable “ Dave “ O’Keefe very well. He and I were elected to the first Commonwealth Parliament, and we were closely associated, as fellow members of the Labour party, for many years. He was a man of fine qualities. He had a high concept of public service and was most diligent in the exercise of his public duties. He was a friendly soul, a lover of his fellow man in office, and accessible to all who sought bis advice. As- the Deputy Prime Minister has said, he earned the respect and regard of many besides those of his own political party. It was my happy portion to maintain unbroken friendly relations with Mr. O’Keefe, not. only during the period of his membership of this House and of the Senate, but also in his later years as Speaker of the House of Assembly of Tasmania. He was n man whom I was proud to call my friend. He served his country faithfully and well. I join most sincerely in expressing, on behalf of the United Australia party and for myself, our sincere sympathy with the members of his family in their bereavement.
– I associate the Australian Country party with the sentiments that have been expressed, and desire our sympathy to be conveyed to those who have been left to mourn the death of Mr. O’Keefe.
– I also desire to- associate myself with the sentiments tha-t have been expressed regarding’ the Tate “Dave” O’Keefe. It was not ray privilege to know him as a member of this Parliament, but I knew him when. I was quite a. young man in the Labour movement.. He was one of the stalwarts of the Labour party in Tasmania, and was known to me, by repute, for many years before- 1 knew him personally. I had the highest regard for him and I agree wholeheartedly with what the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Fordo)’ has said about his sincerity and honesty of purpose-. He was a man- of great courage who always expressed himself firmly concerning the great principles for the uplifting of. humanity for which he stood. During my early association with the Labour movement Mr. O’Keefe helped me greatly with friendly advice and in other ways. He possessed sterling qualities which enabled him to render great service to the Labour movement, not only in this Parliament but also throughout his adult life. He saw the Labour cause grow from very small beginnings to the great movement which it has now become. I join in the expressions of sympathy with his widow and family in their bereavement.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable- members standing in their places.
– The Grim Reaper has been busy since the Commonwealth Parliament last assembled. It is with deep regret that I refer to the passing of yet another former member of the Parliament, Mr. Edward Riley, who died at Sydney on the 21st July last. I have no doubt that he was known to many members of this Parliament as one who served his country with distinction for many years. He was popularly known to many of us as “ Old Ted Riley “ during the period when his son Edward Charles Riley was also a member of the House as Representative for the Division of Cook.
The late Mr. Edward Riley was elected to the House of Representatives for South Sydney at the general elections in 1910 and at each successive general election until 1931, when he was defeated. He was chairman of the .Standing Committee on Public Works from 1914 to 1917. lie was a member- of select committees- on the effect of the operation of the Navigation Act on Trade in 1923, and on Commonwealth Electoral Law and Procedure in 1926-27.
Edward Riley served Australia and the Labour movement with zeal and ability. He was a staunch advocate of better conditions, for Australian workers and his pioneer work in connexion with arbitration and. wage regulation will long be remembered by them. A man of purpose and yet a man of goodwill, he w.as- held in affection and high regard by the members of the- Parliaments in which he sewed. We extend our deep sympathy to the members of his family who mourn his loss. I move -
That this Bouse records its sincere regret at the death of Mr. Edward Riley, a former member of the House of Representatives for the Division of South Sydney, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to his relatives in their bereavement.
– I second the motion and associate the members of the tinted Australia party with it. I knew the late Mr, Riley very well. He was one of my oldest and best friends. As the Deputy Prime Minister has said, he was for 21 years a member of this Parliament, during which time as fellow members our relations were intimate and cordial. But I was closely associated with him long before the establishment of Federation. In the very early days of the Labour movement in New South Wales he was one of the most active and stalwart fighters in both the industrial and political wings of Labour. The value of his services was recognized by the industrial movement at whose instance he was appointed assessor in the first Arbitration Court of New South Wales and I had the honour of appearing before him in many cases. He made no enemies for he was what Dr. Johnson calls a “ clubbable man and men of all shades of political opinion were glad to call him their friend. But beneath his genial disposition he was a man who stood fast by great principles and spoke his mind boldly. His name will live, for he did yeoman work in the Labour movement when to be a Labour man was to be a pariah, an outcast. It was with very great regret that I heard of the death of “ Ted “ Riley which occurred quite suddenly, for I had arranged with his son-in-law to visit him. I held the late Mr. Riley in the highest esteem and conceived for bini great affection. Our friendly relations remained unaffected by differences of political opinion. He was a man of fine character who devoted himself to advancing the interests of his fellow men. I deeply mourn his loss, and join with the Deputy Prime Minister in expressing profound sympathy with his bereaved relatives.
– The Australian Country party desires to be associated with the sentiments that have been expressed.
– I, too, support the motion. I knew the late ex-honorable member for South Sydney for a long period. My family and his resided in the one district, and we were always great friends. He was the father of a magnificent family of Australian boys and girls. His son, Mr. E. C. Riley, entered this Parliament many years ago, with the result that the father became known as “ Old Ted although he was still quite a young mail. The older people in my electorate, which many years ago formed a part of the electorate of South Sydney, still speak with great respect of the magnificent work that was done for the district by “ Ted “ Riley, and of the competent and capable manner in which he discharged his duties in this Parliament. He laboured quietly, yet energetically and enthusiastically, on behalf of the people of the nation. I deeply regret the passing of this great Labour pioneer, and extend to his family the most profound sympathy.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– A further regrettable loss has been sustained among former members of this Parliament by the death of Mr. Joshua Thomas Hoskins Whitsitt, which occurred at Burnie, Tasmania, on the 14th September last.
The late Mr. Whitsitt was elected to the House of Assembly, Tasmania, for the constituency of Darwin, at the general elections held in 1909, and retained that seat until 1922, when he was defeated. Later in that year, at the federal general elections, he successfully contested the Darwin seat in the House of Representatives. He retired on the expiration of the Ninth Parliament in October, 1925. Those of us who were his contemporaries in the Commonwealth Parliament remember him as a forthright man of great individuality and independence, who did not hesitate to express, in the most eloquent terms, the very strong convictions that he held. Whilst most honorable members may not, perhaps, have personal knowledge of the deceased gentleman, it will, I am sure, be the wish of theHouse to record the respect that is due to a former member whose loss is mourned by those who were near and dear to him. I move -
That this House records its sincere regretat the death of Mr. Joshua Thomas Hoskins Whitsitt, a former member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Darwin and member of the House of Assembly, Tasmania, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to the widow and members of his family in their bereavement.
– I second the motion. It was not my pleasure to know the late honorable gentleman; but the particulars that have been given to the House by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) show that his career was typical of many useful careers in the public life of Australia. He served the one electorate in the State Parliament for no fewer than thirteen years, and then served the same district in the Commonwealth Parliament for another three years. That fact, in itself, speaks volumes for the respect in which he must have been held by his constituents. I am sure that what has been said by the Deputy Prime Minister accurately describes the character in which he impressed himself on this House. The Opposition associates itself with the motion, and with the sentiments in which it has been proposed.
– On behalf of the Australian Country party, and of his old colleagues, I pay tribute to the late Mr. Whitsitt, a former member for Darwin, who had a very lengthy association with the public life ofAustralia in both this Parliament and the Parliament of Tasmania. In his youth he had been a banker, and a very keen student of economics. He then became a farmer, and an even keener student’ of rural economics. His convictions in regard to the methods that should be adopted in the handling of both of those subjects were deeply held, and when he was stirred his eloquence, as the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Forde) has said, emerged - in a teeming flood. I recall that on one occasion he made in the space of nine minutes a speech which, when recorded in Hansard, consisted of 5,000 words; and my impression is that all his words were not recorded. He was easily the most eloquent and rapid speaker that this Parliament has known. He was a very warmhearted, as well as an impulsive, man, and a great friend of the people. His early years were passed in close association with medical men, from whom he acquired a great deal of knowledge. During the whole of his life he was a great friend of all his neighbours; in fact, Dame Enid Lyons has told me that he was known in Darwin as the good neighbour, of all the people there. We do well in associating ourselves with the motion proposed by the Deputy Prime Minister, expressing our recognition of the value of the work that he did in both his public and his private capacities.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Mr. FORDE (Capricornia- Deputy
Prime Minister) [4.12]. - As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, I move -
That the House do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.14 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 September 1943, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1943/19430923_reps_17_176/>.