28 September 1927

10th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Death of Senator McHugh - New Senator.


– I have to announce, with very great regret, the death of Senator Charles Stephen McHugh, which occurred on the 34th July, 1927. On behalf of the Senate I conveyed an expression of sympathy to Mrs. McHugh, pending the more formal resolution of the Senate, and I have received from Mrs. McHugh a letter of thanks.

I have to inform the Senate that, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, I notified the Governor of the State of South Australia of the vacancy caused in the representation of that State in the Senate by the death of Senator C. S. McHugh, and that I have received a communication from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral enclosing a certificate of the choice of the Hon. JohnVerran as a senator to fill such vacancy.

Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.

Senator Vkkran made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

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– I desire to acquaint the Senate that, on the evening of 9th May lost I waited upon His Royal Higness the Duke of York, and presented to him the Address that had been agreed to by the Senate on that day. His Royal Highness was pleased to make the following reply : -

The President of the Senate and Senators of the Parliament of the Commonwealth - I thank you most sincerely for the Address which you have just presented to me on behalf of the Senate of the Parliament of the Commonwealth. The Duchess and I are deeply grateful for your generous words, and I will not fail to convey to the King, my father, the expressions of duty and loyalty to the Crown and Person of the Sovereign which it contains. The King and Queen retain the most vivid recollections of their visit to Australia, when, as your Address recalls, he opened the tint Federal Parliament 20 years ago.

It ‘is a source of the greatest pride to me that I should have been commissioned by the King to open the first meeting of the Commonwealth Parliament at Canberra, and thereby to inaugurate the new Capital City. The Duchess and I rejoice to have been associated with the people of the Commonwealth on this great and historic occasion. We shall always remember our visit to Australia, and to-day’s culminating event as one of the proudest and happiest memories of our lives.

Wo pray that our present tour, and especially the ceremony of to-day performed, as ithas been, in the presence of representatives of various parts of the Empire, may bethe melius of drawing still closer the ties of loyalty, kinship, andaffection which bind together all members of the British Commonwealth.

Albert. 9th May, 1927.

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Commonwealth Government Shipping Activities

Senator KINGSMILL presented the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on the Commonwealth Government shipping activities including Cockatoo Island Dockyard.


Minister for Defence · Queensland · NAT

[8.11]. - (By leave)- I move-

That the Senate expresses its sincere regret at the death of Senator Charles Stephen McHugh, and places on record its appreciation of his public service and extends its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their sad bereavement.

We take this the first opportunity to record our sorrow at the loss of a colleague and express our sympathy with his widow and son.

As honorable senators are aware, Senator McHugh’s death occurred on the 24th July last, shortly after his arrival in Tasmania, where he had gone in the discharge of his duties as a member of the Public Accounts Committee. The deceased gentleman first became a member of the Senate in 1922. For five years he served his country as a member of this chamber, and had also rendered valuable public service outside during his association with municipal affairs in his own State, as well as in connexion with the great industrial organization in which he took a very active part.

We, who came into contact with him in the Senate, knew him as a man of brilliant intellect, as a keen debater, and as one who while fighting hard for the principles of the party which he represented, never cherished any ill-feeling towards those who held opposing views. It is indeed sad that Senator McHugh should have died while yet a comparatively young man with a promising career before him. I am sure that honorable senators will join with me in expressing our sense of the loss which the Senate and the country have sustained through his death, and in tendering our’ deepest sympathy to those who are left behind.

Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia

– I second the motion so feelingly moved by the Acting Leader of the Senate, and on behalf of honorable senators on this side of the chamber endorse the sentiments expressed by him. It is truly sad that on this, the first day of our meeting in the new Parliament House for the despatch of public business, we should have occasion to “place on record the loss of an esteemed colleague. The late Senator McHugh was an ardent worker, and his death is a loss to Australia, and particularly to the party of which he was a very active member. At the age of 89 years - in the prime of life - after very few years workin this Parliament, he has been called away. I venture to say that had he been spared he would have given a good account of himself in the public life of Australia. Our sympathies, as the Acting Leader of the Senate has said, go out to his widow and son, and our hope is that He who is the Arbiter of all our destinies will sustain them and give them strength to bear their trials. The late senator practically died in Harness ; when death came he was doing the nation’s work as a member of an important committee of this Parliament I endorse the sentiment expressed by the Minister, and sincerely regret the decease of an able colleague.

Western Australia

– As Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, of which the late lamented senator was a member, and in whose service he met his death, I endorse the expressions of sympathy voiced by the Acting Lender of tha Senate (Senator Glasgow), and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham). There is one aspect of the late senator’s death which I think appealed to me as boing more painful than any other. The approach of death at any time must be a terrifying and awesome thing alike to him about to take the long journey and to those to be left behind to mourn; but how much more so must it bo when relatives are debarred from soothing the last moments of the one about to depart hence? The late honorable senator died in circumstances which deprived him of that- assistance and sympathy which hia dear ones alone could give. Death came to him while he was away from his own home. He was not, however, in a strange land - he Wm still in a part of that Australia which he in common with most Australians, thank God, loved so heartily; but that aspect of his departure from among us impressed me very greatly at the time. I join with those who have so eloquently preceded me and add my tribute of praise and meed of recognition of his services.

Senator HOARE:
South Australia

– I wish to express my sympathy with the relatives of my late colleague who for some years took a very prominent port in public affairs, not only in this House, in which he was a representative of South Australia, but also in other spheres. The late senator, who always evinced a keen interest in the welfare of his State, was once an alderman in the Thebarton Council South Australia, and was also the first Labour Prime Minister iu a Model Parliament in that State. As the Acting Leader of the Senate (Senator Glasgow) said, he was an able debater, and displayed great interest In all business that caine before this chamber. He showed his capacity in many ways and the Parliament and the people of Australia will be the poorer by the loss of a man of such outstanding ability. Among his many sterling qualities was his unfailing good feeling towards all with whom he came in contact. He was particularly the friend of those who might bo termed the “ down and outs,” and his hand was always in his pocket for the purpose of extending help to them. His death came as a profound shock to his many friends, since he was in the prime of life and apparently had before him many years of useful public service. His sudden passing away emphasises once again the truth of the words that “in the midst of life we are in death.” As Senator Kingsmill has observed, our late brother senator had none of those near and dear to him at hand when he set out on the long journey from which no traveller returns. To his widow and son we extend dux heartfelt sympathy in their sore bereavement. We deplore the death of such a young and able man ; but we may take some com ort from the knowledge that his widow is not in need. Her parents are in comfortable circumstances, but that, of course, will not make up for the loss of a kind husband and indulgent father. I join with other honorable senators in-expressing my sincere regret at the death of a colleague, and in extending my sympathy to his widow and son.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands). - As a colleague of the deceased senator, I may, perhaps, be pardoned for adding a few words to what has been said concerning him. I join with those who have already spoken in voicing the deep regret we feel at the passing of so young a man; and I agree also, with what has been said as to Senator McHugh’s ability and promise as a legislator. It is particularly regrettable that death should have come to our colleague when he was far removed from those who were near and dear to him. That fact, I know, iB felt most keenly by his family, with the members of whom I am intimately acquainted. Wo all join in expressing our sympathy with the widow and aged father and mother, ob well. as with the other relatives who have been thus bereaved. Senator Sir Henry Barwell and I rendered the last service that can be extended to a follow-being by attending the funeral of the deceased gentle- man, Senator Barwell acting as the representative of the Government, and I as the representative of the Parliament of Australia. We deplore his death and deeply sympathise with his bereaved widow and son.

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

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Defence).As a mark of respect to the late honorable senator, I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.25 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 September 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.