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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 26


Senator CHIPP (Leader of the Australian Democrats) —On my own behalf and on behalf of my Party I join in supporting this motion of condolence for the late Sir Phillip Lynch. I agree with Senator Chaney, having also been honoured to attend Sir Phillip's funeral, not only that an incredible number of people from diverse walks of life were there but also that, being at that funeral service, one could actually feel the affection and sympathy that those people held for Sir Phillip Lynch.

One of the features of his life, of course, was his absolute loyalty to his party and to those around him. I do not know whether in my 24 years in this place I have seen anybody who had a higher capacity for work than Phil Lynch. He was tireless and indefatigable. There never seemed to be any ceiling to the amount that he could take on board and still be able and bright. In particular, I can remember the two years leading up to the 1975 election when Malcolm Fraser took over as Leader of the Liberal Party. He appointed, I think, six of us to form what was called a policy review committee, headed by the Deputy Leader of the Party, Sir Phillip Lynch. The purpose of that committee was to go through 28 areas of policy and 28 shadow Ministers and refine those policies in accordance with the newly defined concepts of the Liberal Party which had been established when Malcolm Fraser took control. We all worked hard, but Sir Phillip Lynch, being chairman, worked two or three times harder than any of us. At times late at night-1 o'clock in the morning or whatever-we would all be saying 'Let's go home to bed' but he, with a bright and inspiring form of leadership, would say ' No, let us go on for another half hour or so'. He was a remarkable person in terms of capacity for work.

The leaders under whom Sir Phillip served will never know the loyalty he showed them, not just on the floor of the House or publicly. One of the normal things about a political party, particularly when there are large majorities, is that from time to time back benchers become discontented. They feel as if they are not getting a fair go, as if they are being disregarded by the leadership or whatever. Many of us, if not all of us, have experienced that feeling from time to time. But Phil Lynch's door was always open to that discontented back bencher who had a gripe. I do not remember any back bencher or anybody else who came out of his office still having the discontent that he or she had when going into his office.

I was amused by Senator Chaney's saying that he had had discussions with Sir Phillip Lynch about how to maintain a family in this crazy life of politics and that Phil gave him advice about sailing with his sons. I remember him giving me identical advice. I was playing cricket with my sons at the time, who showed a singular lack of interest in that sport. I tried sailing out on them and they grasped the new sport with enthusiasm, so much so that my eldest son, who was then about 10 years of age, persuaded me, against my will, to go sailing in his Sabot one bitterly cold June morning at Black Rock in Melbourne. I was aboard about three minutes when I was able to capsize the craft. I spent the next two hours in the freezing water with my son-with appropriate language coming from him. I remember coming back and telling Phil the story. He was very amused, not the least part of his amusement being that I then happened to be the Minister for the Navy-a fact which he agreed should never reach the newspapers. That was another feature of Phil. He had a tremendous sense of humour, almost an impish, mischievous look in his eye. When things were tough, he would always have that sort of a word to say.

The most I can say about Phil Lynch relates to the last years when he knew he was a dying man and the amount of courage that he showed in facing that fate. Unless one knew that fact when talking with him one would never have known that anything was wrong, such was his courage in facing that kind of end. His belief in God and in the religion that sustained him, I think was an object lesson to anybody who feels that sometimes we need something stronger than material things .

I have a particular feeling for his beautiful wife and their three sons because there are very few families who have sacrificed more in terms of the time spent with their husband and father than those four people. The premature death is not only a sad blow to Australia but also must be quite devastating to them because of the sacrifices they made for him and for Australia. Therefore, it is with those feelings that I associate myself and my Party with this condolence motion and message of sympathy to his loved ones.