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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 27

Senator MISSEN —I join with other senators in the tribute being paid today to Sir Phillip Lynch and the members of his family. I say in regard to the political matters referred to by Senator Chaney, Senator Chipp and others that one could only agree most wholeheartedly with their expressions. I want more particularly to speak in a personal sense of Phillip Lynch whom I had the honour to have as a friend for something like 30 years. The Lynches lived at one end of the street and the Missens lived at the other end of the street. I knew him as a young man. I suppose I may be blamed for having induced him to come into politics. I think I may have joined him up with the Liberal Party of Australia and persuaded him to take over the presidency of the Kooyong Liberal Club from me-a position from which of course he went on to greater and better things. I think this country has much to be thankful for in the fact that Phillip Lynch did do that and that he gave those years of great value to his country in his service in politics.

There are a couple of other factors in his life to which I want to refer. There are many facets of Phillip Lynch's life that I think call for commendation and recognition at this time. One is that in the area of debating he was of course an excellent speaker. He was early a debater of national standard both in the Jaycees and the national championships. I had the honour of leading a team in which he was the star performer when the Australian championships were won by the Victorian team in 1959. Phillip went on to lead the Victorian team for a number of years and to do so with great distinction.

Of course, he was also very active in the Jaycee organisation and in due course became its national president. The Jaycees was a cause to which he devoted tremendous attention and a lot of hard work. It was the sort of work which he also did at a later stage in politics. His work helped to build the Jaycees organisation into a greater and more effective one. I know that he is held by Jaycees not only throughout Australia but also internationally as one of the most effective and worthy of their leaders in recent times.

From that, of course, he entered politics. He joined the Liberal Party around 30 years ago. As I said, I have an understanding that I might have caused him to do that. Throughout his quick career-he was very quickly into parliament-not only was he actively working in the Parliament here but also he was a great communicator and a great worker in the party organisation. I think many of the things he did would be unknown publicly. For example, the extent to which he was a very careful communicator between the parliamentary party and the organisation is appreciated by thousands of Liberals in Victoria who recognise that he never grew beyond the organisation which put him into parliament. He always remained most attentive to its needs.

I remember the time while he was in parliament, and the work he did as chairman of the National Platform Committee. Senator Sir John Carrick will of course remember this very well. Phillip Lynch's work on that was constant. He did a marvellous job in producing the platforms of 1973-74 and the policies that flowed from that and in bringing together all those disparate views and sections which we had, to produce a document which I think is one of the great things that he achieved. We heard later on how he did this in other political areas. Of course, he did this as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

It is very often the unseen things that are not appreciated and are not known. I instance the important part which he played in the course of Liberal-National Party government in keeping in communication with the back bench members by always having plenty of time to talk to someone, to find out what his worries were and to make suggestions. He carried out his job as ministerial head of many departments very well. At the same time he found time to be a very effective go- between for this Parliament and the organisations of the Liberal Party.

I believe that one is tested when troubles occur. Senator Chaney has referred to the difficulties in 1977 and thereafter when Phillip suffered very severe bad health and was under attack. Like Senator Chaney I knew the facts of that time and I was very satisfied that Phillip's integrity was assured and that the attacks were unjustified. We were delighted that he emerged from that crisis with his integrity recognised by, I think, most of the community. But it was a period of difficulty. His later life was a matter of difficulty. The courage he showed in facing up to those later difficulties and deteriorating health, I think, speaks highly of his character. He was a man of very strong religious conviction. He practised his religion and the precepts of his church in his family life, his business life and his political life.

It is a matter of some sadness, particularly to people such as my wife and I who were very close friends of the Lynches for many years, not to have been at the funeral and not to have seen the demonstration of the affection held throughout Australia for Sir Phillip. It is a sad thing for Leah and for his boys that, at a time when they might have expected him to be free to be with them and to have enjoyed many years with them, he was snatched away in this way. It reminds one of the late Ivor Greenwood who, after serving here, was snatched away in a similar way and did not get to enjoy the benefits of a later and more leisurely life.

Phillip Lynch leaves behind him not only a fine and very courageous family but also I think, in the eyes of those who knew him, a belief that there is no one who is quite like Phillip Lynch-nobody of his cheerfulness, his disposition, or, as I say, his ability to effectively communicate ideas to his fellow man. I trust that the things which are said today and the feelings which we all have will be a comfort to his family and to his many friends. I hope that we will long remember the fine work that Phillip Lynch did for this country.