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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 883


Mr HOWARD (Leader of the Opposition) —I would like to join the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) in expressing condolences to the family of the later Hugh Roberton and to associate the Opposition and the Liberal Party of Australia with the words that the Prime Minister has used in praise of Hugh Roberton's contribution to public life in Australia. I had the opportunity of meeting him on a number of occasions during his visits to Parliament House, particularly in association with the retirement of a number of members of his own Party. He was a very lively personality. He had a very pleasant sense of humour and he had a remarkable store of political anecdotes. He had a very long career as a member of the former Country Party. He capped that career with ministerial and Cabinet office.

Hugh Roberton was, as the Prime Minister observed, the first Australian ambassador appointed to Ireland. Perhaps it was a mark not only of the importance attached to that relationship that that ambassadorship was created then but also of some sense of humour in which both the late Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, and the late Hugh Roberton rejoiced; that a person born in Glasgow, Scotland, should be appointed Australia's first Ambassador to Ireland. But he was a person who was very warmly, widely and well regarded on all sides of the House. He made a very distinctive contribution to primary industry organisations before he entered Parliament. His capacity as a writer subsequent to leaving Parliament and the contribution he made in that field was to be expected from a very gifted gentleman, a person well loved within his own Party and very widely respected on both sides of the House. On behalf of the Opposition and on behalf of the Liberal Party of Australia, I extend my very profound condolence and sympathy to his family.