11 June 1928

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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The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands). - It is with very great regret that I have to announce to the Senate the death of Senator John Grant which occurred on the 19th May last. On behalf of the Senate I- conveyed an expression of sympathy to Mrs. Grant, pending a more formal resolution of this chamber. I have further to inform the Senate that in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution I notified the Governor of the State of New South Wales of the vacancy caused in the representation of that State in the Senate by the death of Senator Grant and I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a certificate of the choice of Albert Gardiner as a senator to fill such vacancy. The certificate will be laid on the table and read by the Clerk.

Certificate read by the Clerk.

Senator Gardiner made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

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– I have further to inform the Senate that I have received a letter from Mrs. Pratten expressing her deep appreciation of the resolution of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasion of the death of her husband, the late Hon. H. E. Pratten.

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Motion ov Sympathy.

Vice-President of the Executive Council · Western Australia · NAT

’ [3.5] - (By leave.) - I move -

That the Senate expresses its sincere regret at the death of Senator John Grant, places upon record its appreciation of hia meritorious public service, and extends its profound sympathy to his widow and son in their sad bereavement.

The late senator was well known personally tome and, I think, to most honorable senators, for many years, and we were at all times impressed by the conscientious manner in which he discharged his public duties. I am sure also that all honorable senators were struck with the wonderful courage which, he displayed during the last few months of his life, when, suffering much pain and inconvenience from the dreadful disease with which he was afflicted, he manifested remarkable fortitude in attending, with his customary thoroughness, to his work in this chamber as well as to his many public duties outside.

This was typical of the man himself. Senator Grant came to Australia over 40 years ago and, as a young man, played an important part in the founding of the labour movement in the days when association with it involved a great deal of sacrifice and rendered its leaders liable to a considerable amount of persecution. As one of its pioneers he took an important part in the work of placing it on an enduring foundation, and displayed those sterling qualities of courage and uprightness that were so characteristic a feature of his subsequent public life. His ability and high character were quickly recognized by those with whom he was associated. Early in the history of the movement he was placed in responsible positions,’ and eventually was returned to the Senate as a representative of the State of New South Wales.

We all can bear testimony to the able manner in which Senator Omul carried out his duties in this chamber. As a . member of several select committees and two royal commissions, he also showed the same assiduity and the same pertinacity of purpose in the public interest. He has left behind him a splendid record. We who knew him feel proud that it was our privilege to be associated with a man who took so deep an interest in the public affairs of this country. The Senate was undoubtedly the richer for his presence.

We extend to his widow and son our deep sympathy in their sorrow. I happen to know that he was a devoted husband and I am sure that to his widow his death is an irreparable loss. Our sympathies go out to her in her loneliness and sorrow, and I can only hope that the carrying of this motion by the Senate as a mark of its appreciation of the life and work of the late honorable senator will be some slight consolation to her.

Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia

– I second the motion so feelingly moved by the right honorable the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce), expressing our regret at the death of Senator Grant. On behalf of honorable senators on thin side of the chamber endorse the sentiments he has expressed with reference to our late colleague. My acquaintance with the late honorable gentleman commenced nearly a quarter of a century ago, and very rapidly ripened into a friendship that lasted until his death.

As has been truly said by the right honorable gentleman, Senator Grant was a pioneer of the great Australian Labour movement, and at all times, and under all conditions, was a fearless and sterling advocate of its principles. He was a man of strong convictions, and was dauntless in their expression, but he was at the same time always courteous. Those of us who knew him well could not but admire his zeal, his assiduity, the capacity with which he applied himself’ to every work he took in hand, and the constancy of his attendance to his duties in the Senate, as well as to his public duties beyond the parliamentary arena.

During the last year or. two we noticed with regret the honorable senator’s failing health. He was stricken by a dread disease, and the fortitude and Christian resignation with which he bore his suffering was an example to all of us. Notwithstanding the fact that he was at times suffering intense pain, his application to his public duties here and .elsewhere were not m the least abated.

Senator Grant died in harness, working to the last, according to his lights, in the interests of his adopted country which he had served for so many years. We on this side of the chamber join with the Leader of the Senate in expressing our sincere sympathy with his widow and son. That he was a devoted husband and loving father we all know. Great as is his loss to this Parliament, the loss to his loved ones is greater still, and time alone can heal the wound his death has caused them..

The Australian Labour party of which he was a prominent and active member has lost a sturdy advocate; Australia a sterling citizen. On behalf of my colleagues on this side of the chamber I join with the Leader of the Senate in expressing our profound sorrow at the death of Senator Grant.

New South Wales

– May I, speaking from a full heart, associate myself with all that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), and our Leader on this side has said with reference to the late Senator Grant?I was associated with the honorable gentleman in the political fights of New South Wales since 1891, and as one of those who was fortunate enough to be frequently in his company, had full opportunity to realize and appreciate his outstanding qualities. He was a man of keen perception, clear brain, and most excellent judgment, and instance after instance of his foresight and keenness might readily be cited were this a fitting occasion to doso.

Inspeaking to the motion I can only repeat what has already been said by the Minister and the Leader of the Opposition : that his death is aloss not only to his family, but also to the Senate and to the State which he represented. To that gentle lady, his widow, who took such an active interest in his public affairs, and assisted him so well, and also to his son, I extend the sympathy that I feel is in the heart of every honorable senator. Senator Grant had passed man’s allotted span, and if the title deed to eternal rest is a life well spent, then surely he earned it, and was called from his strenuous labours here with the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

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

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Vice-President of the Executive Council · Western Australia · NAT

[3.17]. - I move -

That the Senate at its rising adjourn till to-morrow at 11 a.m.

The state of public business is such that with some little sacrifice on the part of honorable senators, we should, I think, by meeting every morning, be able to conclude the present sittings of the Senate by the end of this week. That is the reason why I am asking honorable senators to agree to an adjournment until 11 a.m. to-morrow, when we hope that business will be forthcoming from another place with which we shall be able to proceed forthwith.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Vice-President of the Executive Council · West ern Australia · NAT

[3.18]. - As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Senator John Grant, I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.18 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 June 1928, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.