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Tuesday, 21 August 1984
Page: 29

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death on 11 July 1984 of Anthony Sylvester Luchetti, a former member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Macquarie, New South Wales, from 1951 to 1975, and places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.

The late Anthony Luchetti, or Tony Luchetti as he was known to us all, was born on 27 May 1904 in Lowther, New South Wales, and served this country, his local community and the Australian Labor Party long and well. Before his election to the House of Representatives as the member for Macquarie in 1951, at which time he succeeded the late Ben Chifley, former Prime Minister, a fact of which he was very proud, he had done various work in the community. He had been a brickmaker, a miner, an iron worker and a journalist. He was an alderman for the city of Lithgow from 1941 to 1952. He was twice Mayor and twice Deputy Mayor of Lithgow.

As I have said, he was first elected to the Parliament in 1951 and he retained his seat, the seat of Macquarie, at each election until his retirement in 1975. During his 24 years as a member of this Parliament he served on various parliamentary committees including the House of Representatives Library Committee, the Select Committee to inquire into and report upon the Hansard of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on the Voting Rights of Aborigines. He served on the Joint Committee of Public Accounts for some two years. He was on the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. He was Temporary Chairman of Committees from 10 August 1954 to 4 November 1955 and from 18 February 1959 to 2 November 1961 and Deputy Chairman of Committees from 4 March 1970. He represented the Parliament and the Government on various delegations overseas.

I was not a member of this Parliament with Tony Luchetti for very long but it was clear in the short time that I was that he was a friend of most people-of all people, I suspect-on both sides of this Parliament. I could not have met, I believe, a more cheerful, more friendly and happier man in the time that I have been a senator. Yet at the same time the strength and courage of his convictions were such that his impassioned entries into debate in the Caucus and the Parliament could not but impress a new member, a new senator as I was.

To visit his electorate, both when and after he was the member for Macquarie, provided a demonstration of the extraordinary respect in which he was held and the extraordinary kindness which he was shown by all members of the electorate, particularly the citizens of Lithgow. I suppose that is reflected in the fact that he was so consistently re-elected to this place for 24 years.

His contribution to the Parliament was, I believe, much appreciated by colleagues on both sides. His advice and friendliness to new members and new senators of the Parliament were greatly appreciated, I am sure, for the whole of those 24 years. It is interesting to note that he was on the New South Wales Executive of the Australian Labor Party in 1929. He was a delegate to the Federal Conference of the Labor Party in 1930. So over that long expanse of nearly 50 years he represented the Labor Party and in doing so, as I said when I started my remarks, he represented the country and his local community very well indeed. I was very pleased and honoured to know him if only for a short time in Parliament although I saw him many times after he left the Parliament. I know that the whole of the Senate will join with me in conveying to his widow and his family our sincere sympathy and condolences.