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Monday, 16 June 2003
Page: 16389

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (2:27 PM) —Billy Wentworth, as he was known in the electorate, was a '49er. He was one of the '49ers who came in and swept to power with Menzies and he remained there for 28 years. He was recognised, finally, for his talents by Gorton and he served for four years, as we have heard. He had a brilliant and an active mind. We know him as coming from a historically important family; from a family that included an explorer and newspaper proprietors. And, of course, it included Bill himself.

His passion was economics and mathematics. He died in his 96th year but, in his 95th year, while he was 94, he would still ring and say, `Let's have lunch at the University and Schools Club.' I would say, `Can I pick you up, Bill?' `No,' he would say, `I'll catch the train to Wynyard and I'll walk up the hill.' We would meet up there and have a stimulating lunch. His well-known views on protectionism and mine—not being so well known—ensured we had always a vigorous conversation. But his love of mathematics went much further. He would engage in correspondence with all sorts of important dignitaries. On one occasion, he mentioned to me that he was engaged in correspondence with a particular professor concerning the method of calculating infinity. I said it was an active and inventive mind, and it was; it was a brilliant mind and a passionate mind.

As a commitment to the electorate, there was a proposal at one stage that Prince Alfred Parade and Hudson Avenue be joined together. Bill owned the estate in the middle, and he made damned sure that those two roads never joined up. Even when he sold the estate before they went to northern Queensland he ensured that embargoes and caveats remained on the land to prevent those roads ever being joined up in what he saw would be a speedway to Palm Beach.

His love for his beloved Barbara was legendary. In the electorate they were a couple. Everything they did was as a couple. He was a man who, when Bar had her stroke, wanted still to be together, and so he moved into the same aged care facility. He had a suite of rooms in the low-level part; she needed high-level care. But I well remember the last luncheon we had together. I went across to his rooms and Bar came up and we had drinks; we took sherry. We went down to luncheon, and again the conversation was stimulating, bright and characteristic of both of them. He was a man who stayed on the telephone and stayed in touch. His love of indulging in debate and making his point of view always heard was something that I will always remember about him. He is survived by Bar, which in itself is an irony, because they were an inseparable couple. He may have gone, but in her love he will still be with us. He was a remarkable man who led a remarkable life and he will be missed in my electorate.

Question agreed to, honourable members standing in their places.

The SPEAKER —I thank the House.