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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 22


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK —I join my Senate colleagues in conveying our deep sympathy at the passing of Sir Alister McMullin to his widow, Lady McMullin, and to his daughter, Katherine. It was my privilege to know Sir Alister McMullin over some 36 years and to share a warm friendship with him. Indeed, if I may think of the journey, I well recall, I think in 1948, going to his farming property just outside Scone, enjoying the warmth of his hospitality and his fireplace and a good, cold beer and inviting him to form a branch of the Liberal Party in Scone. That was the start of the journey which took him through that branch to the presidency of the Paterson branch of the Party, to the Senate , to the presidency of the Senate and to great distinction. I may also add that it was my privilege to take the vacancy in the Senate created by his retirement in 1971.

In Alister McMullin one found the kinds of qualities that one would look for in a fine and distinguished Australian. He was a man of generous spirit. He was a man who had a great love of his country, particularly of rural Australia. As has been said, he was interested in many things, including horse racing and the whole of agriculture. His figure, which was a well defined figure, as has been noted, was very familiar not only at horse races but also at the Royal Agricultural Society and elsewhere. It is no mean thing for a man to be a member of the Senate for some 20 years and for 17 or more of those years to be its President. In that time he was respected by all sides. He was an eminently fair man. It is true, as was said in the valedictory speeches upon his retirement, that he did not always look to the Standing Orders, but somehow or other he managed, as everybody's uncle, to keep the peace; and people walked with him because they respected him.

He walked with great dignity and great value to Australia through many countries of the world. In 17 years he was able to journey, representing Australia, to many parts of the world, and many people have told me how well he represented Australia. As has been said, he was Chancellor of the University of Newcastle for a lengthy period and was well respected there. He had been associated with his local hospital board and with local government. It was a personal tragedy for his family that in recent years he was incapacitated, because, in thinking of Alister McMullin, I know no man more restless in wanting to be on the move and to get things done. It is one of those tragedies that for many recent years that was not possible. But he bore that with dignity and his family was a great support to him.

Let me simply say that I was privileged to share the friendship of his family. I pay tribute to his widow, Lady McMullin, herself a woman of great distinction and great support to him, and to his daughter, Katherine. Therefore, I join the Senate in expressing our deep sympathy at his passing and our thanks for his long and valuable life to Australia.