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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 26

Senator ABETZ —I rise this afternoon very briefly to support the motion of condolence relating to the distinguished service of former Senator John Marriott. I do so as a senator but also in another role and that is as the immediate past President of the Liberal Party of Australia, Tasmanian division. In doing so, I want to support all the comments made by colleagues on all sides of this chamber in relation to his dedicated work for the people of Tasmania, and the parliament and its processes.

  His history has been spoken of by previous speakers and I do not intend to repeat that distinguished record. Today I received a letter of thanks from Myra Marriott, John's widow, for the condolence that I had privately expressed in written form, and today I take the opportunity to express that condolence in public.

  John Marriott was part of an era which included notables such as former Senator the Hon. Reg Wright. As the Liberal Party enters its 50th year, it must recognise that inevitably with the passage of time such important foundation members of the Liberal Party as Reg Wright and John Marriott have to pass on. It is the passing of an era in Tasmanian politics and in the history of the Liberal Party in Tasmania. Mention has already been made, but it is worth mentioning again, that John and his family made a contribution to parliamentary service in excess of half a century. Theirs was a family of service to the people of Tasmania.

  I recall, as a relatively youthful state president of the Liberal Party in my state, coming under some criticism for being part of an administrative committee which was allegedly setting a dangerous precedent. I, of course, was not aware of history within the Liberal Party. Former Senator John Marriott let me know that some of the people who were expressing that concern had set the precedent themselves some 20-odd years earlier, something of which I was not aware. John Marriott was concerned that honesty at all times be a vital element in politics. He was concerned to see that the record be set straight.

  From my personal point of view, I was greatly indebted to him for making available to me his wisdom, his knowledge and his wealth of experience that he so freely gave when called upon. Unfortunately, it appears that the Liberal Party did not call on John Marriott as often as it should have done. John Marriott retained his interest within the Liberal Party. He gave very freely of himself, his experience and his vast knowledge. I extend my personal sympathy, and also the sympathy of all Liberals in Tasmania, to Myra, his widow; to his daughter, Patricia, and her family; and to his brother, Fred.