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Monday, 25 August 1997
Page: 5559


Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate)(3.30 p.m.) —I rise to associate members of the National Party in the Senate with the condolence motion moved by the leader of the government, Senator Hill. We were all saddened to learn of Sir Garfield Barwick's passing at the age of 94 during the winter recess, on 13 July.

Sir Garfield Barwick was one of the most eminent political and judicial figures in Australia in the last half century. His contribution to Australian public life spanned many years and the list of his achievements is very long. Sir Garfield Barwick was born in 1903 to a middle class Methodist family. It was during these years that he learned the value of hard work and high standards. It is often quoted that his mother was his inspiration, urging him to make something of himself.

He won a scholarship to study arts and then law at the Sydney University where he won the 1926 university medal for law and the Dalley prize. Sir Garfield Barwick practised extensively in all jurisdictions: the state Supreme Court, the High Court and the Privy Council. During his time at the bar Sir Garfield was involved in prominent cases including a highly praised appearance before the Privy Council in the bank nationalisation case, and in litigation following the controversial awarding of the Archibald Prize to Sir William Dobell for his painting of Joshua Smith. In 1941 he was appointed a KC and from 1950 to 1952, and from 1955 to 1956, he served as President of the New South Wales Bar Association and was a member of the Law Council of Australia from 1952 to 1954.

In 1958, Sir Garfield Barwick stood for the New South Wales seat of Parramatta and was elected to the Menzies government. Sir Garfield became Attorney-General in 1959 and Minister for External Affairs in 1961, holding both portfolios until 1964. During his term he led delegations to the United Nations in 1960 and 1964 and retained his interest in international affairs when, in 1972, he became President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

In 1964 Sir Garfield returned to law, taking up the appointment of Chief Justice of the High Court and remaining there for a record period of some 17 years. In 1975, as Chief Justice, Sir Garfield was to become part of events surrounding the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Following advice given to the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, Sir Garfield Barwick etched a permanent place for himself in the history surrounding this event.

Sir Garfield Barwick was said to be a good companion with a dry sense of humour. In his spare time he enjoyed gardening, fishing and sailing. He sailed his sloop Anitra V in 12 Sydney to Hobart races, winning the race in 1957. In later years Sir Garfield Barwick became patron of the Australian National Council for the Blind. He was knighted in 1953, appointed a KCMG in 1965 and a Knight of the Order of Australia in 1981.

We all mourn the loss of such an outstanding Australian and on behalf of the National Party in the Senate I extend our deepest sympathy to Sir Garfield's widow and the Barwick family and friends.

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