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Tuesday, 16 April 1985
Page: 1019

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition) —On behalf of the Opposition I would like to support the remarks made by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Button, in support of the motion of condolence which he has moved. Like Senator Button, my parliamentary time with Sir Kenneth Anderson was quite brief-just one term from 1974 through 1975. But I would agree wholeheartedly with the things which Senator Button had to say about Sir Kenneth. In particular I would agree that he was a great gentleman and was held in very high regard for that.

In making inquiries after his death I learned for the first time that he was born at sea, which is not a common thing these days. He was born at sea near Adelaide when his parents were returning to Australia after a visit to Europe. I think his parents would not have anticipated the sort of career which Sir Kenneth Anderson had. He started life perhaps in the way in which they may have expected-working in real estate, property valuation and engineering. However, subsequent to that, he served as a soldier; he had a period as a prisoner of war; he went into State politics, as has been said by Senator Button, and subsequently served for a very long time in this Senate. He, of course, served as a Minister in a number of capacities which have been detailed by Senator Button.

I suppose it says something about the experience, perhaps, or the mark of men that we sent away that at least two leaders of the Liberal Party in the Senate have been prisoners of war. Sir Kenneth Anderson, like Sir John Carrick, had years of imprisonment. I think it is a great tribute to Sir Kenneth Anderson and, indeed, to Sir John Carrick that they came back to Australia and served it so well and for so long.

Sir Kenneth Anderson was something of a political institution by the time I arrived here. He had recently ceased to be Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. He was at that stage very much the elder statesman. I suppose that was made clear for the new boys by the fact that somebody put a large printed label 'Sir Kenneth Anderson' on one of the chairs in the Opposition party room. It was clearly understood that whilst he was in the party room that chair was reserved for his use. I must say that I am sure he had no part in that. I always recall that when the sign was removed when he finally left the Senate in 1975 a long strip was left on the chair, which meant that we were constantly reminded of his departure.

Sir Kenneth Anderson's contributions to Australia, his State and the Liberal Party are well known and have been outlined by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. For all of us on the Opposition side-and I know that a number wish to make personal remarks in support of the motion of condolence-this is a very considerable loss of a man who contributed a great deal to our cause as well as to our country. We express our sympathy to his widow and daughter and to other members of his wider family for the loss of a very fine Australian.