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Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Page: 2045

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (11:59): It is a pleasure to follow the member for Barton on this condolence motion for Bill Morrison. William Lawrence Morrison AO was born 3 November 1928 and passed away, sadly, on 15 February aged 84 years.

It is interesting to hear the member for Barton talk about Bill Morrison as one of the true believers of Labor, as one of the old-style Labor, because that is exactly what the former member for Riverina John Sullivan said to me this morning when I spoke to him about Bill Morrison. I asked for his recollections because I think it is important. Sometimes the public see the argy-bargy of question time and politicians having public scraps all the time and they do not believe there are relationships formed between members of this side and members of the other side, and good relationships too. I know you and I, Mr Deputy Speaker Mitchell, have formed a good relationship in the short time that we have been in parliament together. But it is important that the public does know and are aware that there is mutual respect from members of both sides of the House. Indeed, the member for Barton spoke of Bill Morrison as always working for the national interest.

John Sullivan's recollections of Bill Morrison was that he was old-style Labor. He always tried to do the best for the constituents he served. Certainly, that is so. I must say, Mr Sullivan, at the same age, 84, is still serving on the Narrandera Shire Council as a councillor elected in the last local government elections. He is still serving his country and his constituents. He recalls asking quite a searching question of Mr Morrison when he was the defence minister in the chamber after which the two had somewhat of a frosty relationship. Nonetheless, there was quite a mutual respect there because both men realised that the other was always steadfastly representing their constituencies. Both men realised that they were representing their parties as best they could and both men realised that the other was always acting in the national interest. If nothing else, we should always strive to represent our constituencies.

The member for Barton spoke of Mr Morrison becoming a member of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise, which was certainly of relevance to his now defunct St George electorate, which was close to Sydney airport. There is a night curfew on jets landing now, as we all know there needs to be.

Bill Morrison gave his all not just for the Australian parliament and not just for his St George electorate but certainly for the Labor Party, and that is to be admired. He did the best that he could always. There was no self interest as both John Sullivan and the member for Barton have expressed this morning. I do pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Bill Morrison.