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Thursday, 5 December 1974


Dr Forbes - I am entitled to ask.

Mr DALY - For the same reason as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) is not here- he is busy. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has delegated me to say a few words in what is the festive season, which seems to have started off in a totally different fashion. I point out to the honourable member for Barker so that it will penetrate that my counterpart on the other side will speak for the Leader of the Opposition who is not here for the same reason as the Prime Minister is not here- because no doubt they are busily engaged on official business. I hope that this has penetrated, that it brings the honourable member up to date and that it puts him in the proper mood to receive the words of wisdom that I am about to give to this Parliament. The problem with speaking on this particular adjournment is to know where to start. I was glancing through Hansard which, in spite of what the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) indicated earlier this week, I do frequently read. When I came across this debate for the last day of the sittings in 1973, 1 noted with interest that the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Lynch) indicated that in the year 1974 he was looking to me for a real sense of statesmanship. With all the honesty that I can muster, I hope I fulfilled his best ambitions.

But I must say to him and to his successor as leader of the House for the Opposition, the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair), that I appreciate his assistance and cooperation. They well know that the position of the Leader of the House, on either side, is an onerous one and that this Parliament can function effectively only if there is a measure of cooperation. Both the honourable member for Flinders and the honourable member for New England have been assisted in their duties by their private secretaries, Andrew Hay and Adrian Lynch, who take an active part in the negotiations on the programming of the House behind the scenes. I express my appreciation for their efforts. In this regard I desire to pay tribute also to the Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Mr Arthur Dyster, of the Prime Minister's Department for his efficient and courteous attention to the detail and work involved with those honourable gentlemen I mentioned a moment ago, in the responsible task of organising the Parliament's program. I am also not forgetful of the loyalty and work of my own personal staff in this regard.

The list of thank-yous from the Leader of the House is a very long one. I should not wish people to think that by selecting a few persons for mention that I do not appreciate the many courtesies that have been tendered to me during 1974. 1 should like to single out the Clerk of the House, Mr Norm Parkes, and his capable officers who ensure that while we get about the business of politics, the correct forms of the House are carried out. They do this with such a marked degree of impartiality that no one can call into question their dedication to this House. To these persons I extend, on behalf of all honourable members, our sincere thanks for their work in 1 974.

I also wish to place on record my appreciationand that of the Australian Governmentfor the work carried out by the First Parliamentary Counsel, Mr Charles Comans, and his dedicated draftsmen who perform their mammoth task with speed and diligence. The product of their work is seen every day in this House and the quality of the input is clearly demonstrated. I extend also my thanks and appreciation to the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and his staff; to the Parliamentary Librarian and the Library Staff for their assistance in researching many issues that are of interest to members; to the Government Printer and his staff; to the Manager of the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms and his capable staff; to the Transport Officer, Mr Gordon Pike; and also to the attendants and many people around Parliament House without whose efforts we would not be able to carry out our work. Many of these people and the work that they do is unknown to us. But if they were not present, the business of the Parliament would be clearly impeded. To you, Mr Speaker, and the Chairman of Committees, I express my appreciation for your tolerance and understanding in the difficult management of Parliament.

I would also, at this stage, like to read to members some interesting statistics on the work of the House in 1974. This year there have been 62 sitting days; we have sat for approcimately 680 hours; 224 Bills have been introduced; 213 Bills have been passed by this House; there have been 53 adjournment debates; there have been 5 general business days; there have been 5 grievance days; and there have been 5 sittings, I think, after 1 1 p.m.

I should like to extend to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) this message: May the sun once again shine in the Valley of Death; may the coals glow even brighter; may the weak be made strong; may the unbelievers be returned to the fold; and above all else may he enjoy his forthcoming visit to the United States. To the

Australian Country Party I express my best wishes for Christmas and hope that the New Year will realise their worst fears in regard to electoral redistribution. To the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony), who has been seeking a good marriage with the Liberals, I say: May all his hopes come true; may his political bride be liberal, radiant, affectionate, meek and true until knives do us part. I also say to the honourable member for Chisholm (Mr Staley): May he make certain next time that the gun is loaded. To the reluctant challenger from Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser), in the Chisholm compaign for emergence as leader, I say may his breeding and unerring aim take him to the top.

Finally, I wish to express to the Prime Minister of this country our appreciation for the inspiring leadership that he has given to the nation- not only to the Government departments but also to the Parliament. Physically and mentally he walks tall in this country. I extend to him the congratulations not only of Government supporters but also of the people throughout this nation. To him and his family I extend our best wishes for a continued term in the highest position in Australia. Finally, in a really goodwill message that comes to me, may I, even to members of the Country Party, to members of the Liberal Party and their families, to the staff and their families and to all concerned with the workings of this Parliament and democracy in Australia, express on behalf of the Government best wishes for the festive season.

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