11 October 1911

4th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

page 1237



Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Defence · Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP

– It is with considerable sorrow that I rise to move -

  1. That this Senate places upon record its high appreciation of the great public services of the late Hon. Egerton Lee Batchelor, Minister of State for External Affairs, and tenders its sincere sympathy to the bereaved wife and family of an eminent citizen whose untimely decease is. a great loss to the Commonwealth.
  2. That theP resident be requested to convey the foregoing resolution to Mrs. Batchelor.

I have never had occasion before, in the Senate, to submit a motion which has been the cause of such deep regret to me as is the present one. To all of us Mr. Batchelor was a friend, to me he was a very intimate and sincere friend. I had the pleasure and the privilege of being associated with him, not only in my own party and in the Government, but also at the recent Imperial Conference. We journeyed back from the Conference together, andthe close association we then enjoyed developed a friendship which was firm and lasting. I grew to appreciate my late colleague’s many noble and manly qualities. As a public man he was respected by all parties, and he had friends on both sides of the House of which he was so distinguished a member. In his personal relations he was, indeed, a model to all public men. He held his political opinions strongly, but they did not affect his friendship for men who differed entirely from him in politics. I venture to say that he won the respect of all, although he could give expression to his opinions in forcible language, and did not hesitate to do so when he felt that he should. He was a careful and zealous administrator, and it will, I think, be admitted that he has left in the Department over which he presided a record of which we arE all proud. We know that, as a citizen, as a parent, and as a husband, he was all that a man could or should be. It is a loss, not only to this Parliament, but also to Australia, when one so young, and with a career of such bright promise, is suddenly cut off. We, who were his colleagues in the Government, feel his loss keenly, and I am sure thatit is also felt keenly by all who were associated with him in his political life. His death, in the sad circumstances surrounding it, undoubtedly calls attention to the severe strain which public life in Australia entails upon those who are called’ upon to take a leading part in it. He was, apparently, in the prime of life, and his untimely end indicates that his strength had been sapped in an insidious way, probably unknown even to himself.. I am sure, sir, that I submit this motion with the entire concurrence of the Senate, and that it is no mere lip service which we tender,’ but the heartfelt expression of every member of the Senate. We do sincerely condole with the widow and the family of Mr. Batchelor. We trust that, in Divine Providence, the blow which falls so hardly upon them may be tempered by the kindly thought of those who will endeavour to assuage the grief of the loved ones who are left.

Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales

– I desire to second the motion so ably proposed by the Minister of Defence. We in this House were not brought so closely into touch with the late Mr. Batchelor as were the members of the House of Representatives. But we nevertheless had ample opportunities of judging of both his worth as a politician and his qualities as a man, and we are in a position to say that, judged by his words and his acts - those acts which speak more loudly than words - Mr. Batchelor moved according to the high standard of conduct which he himself had set up. Moderate in his judgments, sincere of purpose,teousteous - indeed, gentle - in manner, he had won a place in the esteem of his fellow members of which, possibly, he was never conscious, and of which, I venture to say, we ourselves were not fully conscious until now, when death has removed him from us. Sincere and conscious of his own sincerity, he was able to believe in the sincerity of those who differed from him, and by reason of that to establish a deep and abiding claim upon the friendship of his political opponents. As a public man Mr. Batchelor accepted his public duties in no mere perfunctory spirit, and as an evidence of that might I remind honorable senators of the efforts which he made in administering certain branches of hisDepartment to make himself thoroughly acquainted with’ the heavy work thrust upon him. It will be in the recollection of honorable senators; 1.238 Personal [REPRESENTATIVES.] Explanation. that quite recently he visited Papua and the Northern Territory, solely, I have reason to know, with the view that he might better understand the problems which called for his efforts as the Minister charged with the administration of those (Provinces. Sir, it is because of these facts, knowing how Mr. Batchelor bore himself end his demeanour to us as members of this Parliament, that we feel we are marking our sense of the loss of, not merely a public man, but also a personal friend. This motion quite rightly makes mention of those whom Mr. Batchelor has left behind. We can hardly hope to do much to assuage their grief, but it may be some little consolation to them in their hour of trial to know of the high esteem in which he stood, and it may also be to them, as to us, a slight consolation to reflect that -

There is no Death ! What seem so is transition ;

This life of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life elysian, Whose portal we call Death.

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

Senate adjourned at 3.9 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 October 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.