26 October 1938

15th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. J. B. Hayes) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -

Appropriation (Works and Buildings’)

Bill 1938-39. Therapeutic Substances Bill 1938.

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Senator A. J. MCLACHLAN (South Australia - Postmaster-General. - by leave - To-day we meet under the shadow of a great sorrow. An air tragedy far transcending in severity any that has hitherto occurred in Australia has deprived this country of many valuable lives. To the relatives and friends of those fine men and women, who have been the victims of the tragedy, we extend our heartfelt sympathy. Amongst those who have lost their lives was a sitting member of the House of Representatives - I refer to the Honorable Charles Allan Seymour Hawker. By his ability, his probity and his broadmindedness, Mr. Hawker endeared himself to us all. He entered the Commonwealth Parliament in 1929, when he was elected for the division of Wakefield, in South Australia. He was returned at the successive elections of 1931, 1934 and 1937. From January to April, 1932, he was Minister for Markets and Minister for Repatriation. In April of that year, when the title of the former department was altered, he became the first Minister for Commerce, and held that portfolio until his retirement from the Ministry in September, 1932.

His courage on the battle-fields of France was just what one would expect of Charles Hawker. Enlisting in August, 1914, with the British Army, he saw service in France and Belgium from 1915 to 1917. Thrice wounded in battle, his gallant heart would, I feel sure, have urged him on to complete the task to which he had set himself when he enlisted, but his wounds were of a character which prevented further service. He was in- valided from the Army with the rank pf captain. Personally, I mourn his loss. I was privileged to be a personal friend and his colleague in the Cabinet of which he was a member. I know of his fine qualities of heart and mind. Deeply appreciative of the magnitude of the problems confronting this country, he threw himself with characteristic energy into the task. .of seeking a solution of them. A good friend has gone to his reward. . May he be long remembered. To his sorrowing mother, brothers and sisters, our hearts go out in their great bereavement, and, on behalf of honorable senators, I desire to extend to them our sincere sympathy. I move -

That this Senate places on record its great sorrow at the loss of bo many lives in the tragic disaster to the air-liner Kyeema, and extends to the relatives of those who perished its heartfelt sympathy.

That this Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honorable Charles Allan Seymour Hawker, member for Wakefield in the House of Representatives, and a former Commonwealth Minister, places on record its appreciation of his distinguished public service, and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to his mother, brothers and sisters in their sad bereavement.

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland).I second the motion; One had only to be present yesterday in the lobbies when the announcement that the airliner had met disaster was made, to realize how much all were shocked by that tragic happening. I and every member of the Opposition concurs in everything that has been said regarding Mr. Hawker and his work. I desire to add a personal tribute to his memory. Charles Hawker was a comparatively young man, being only 44 years of age. His passing leaves this Australia of ours the poorer. Ho was, in every sense, a good Australian, and, as I understand that title, I can render to his memory no finer tribute. He had served his country well, with every talent he had, as a citizen, soldier and statesman. He had great strength of character. It waB not necessary to agree with him to discover that no one* and no influence, could deflect him from that which he thought was right. Charles Hawker was always honest to himself. Physically he paid the price of his patriotism, but he never complained. Politically he paid the price of loyalty to his own conscience, and in that sphere also he never complained. He loved children and they loved him, an excellent test of a man’s innate gentility. He had an atmosphere of reserve which might easily have been mistaken for unfriendliness, especially by those who were, as I was, politically opposed to him. I had the pleasure of close association with him at the British Commonwealth Relations Conference, held at Lapstone during the first two weeks of last month. For that fortnight we sat together at the conference table. We frequently expressed opposing views, but always there was a friendly alliance between us for an Australian outlook upon Australian affairs. The tragedy of his death, following so closely upon that conference, has greatly impressed me. I concur most sincerely in all that has been said by the Leader of the Senate (Senator A J. McLachlan) this afternoon, and for myself and every member of the Opposition I tender to the deceased gentleman’s relatives our heartfelt sympathy.

Senator COOPER:

– I join with the Leader of the Senate (Senator A. J. McLachlan) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) in expressing deep regret at the aircraft accident of yesterday, and sympathy with the mother, brothers and sisters of the late Mr. Hawker, one of the victims of the accident. Mr. Hawker was a member of a pioneering family which was engaged in pastoral and grazing activities, mainly in South Australia, although its interests extended to the other States as well. I rise to voice the sorrow of the grazing and pastoral community of Queensland at the passing of one of their number.

Western Australia

– I, too, join in the widespread regret at the recent air accident, and also at the death of Mr. Charles Hawker. Although a representative of South Australia, Mr. Hawker had large pastoral interests in Western Australia, where he was a familiar and popular figure among his hosts of friends. He was a notable Australian, who was distinguished for both his military service and his achievements in the political sphere. Possessing a broad outlook on national affairs, he was at all times a valiant fighter onbehalf of those whom he represented, particularly the residents of country districts. His sincerity and honesty of purpose were recognized throughout the Commonwealth, and not least in Western Australia. In the death of Mr. Hawker, this National Parliament has lost an outstanding member, and the sympathy of all honorable senators goes out to his relatives in their irreparable loss.

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

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Motion (by Senator A. J. McLachlan) agreed to -

That the Senate at its rising adjourn till Wednesday next, at 3 p.m.

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Senator A. J. McLACHLAN (South

Australia - Postmaster-General) [3.13]. - As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Honorable C. A. S. Hawker, I move -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 3.13 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 October 1938, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.