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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1411


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition) —On behalf of the Opposition I support the motion of condolence which has been moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Button). He has sketched out the very distinguished career which Sir Percy Spender contributed to Australia and the world. He had a distinguished career as a lawyer, as a Minister of the Crown, as a diplomat and, finally, as a jurist. I do not wish to repeat the description of his career which has been given so adequately by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

As is so often the case, it is only when a man dies that one reads of some of the more interesting aspects of his career. I have certainly been fascinated to read of Sir Percy's role in the pre-War and War-time Cabinets. It is clear that he placed the highest possible priority on service to his country. It was not known to me that at one stage he had been expelled from the United Australia Party. I welcome the fact that subsequently he was welcomed to the Liberal Party of Australia when it was formed by Sir Robert Menzies. He went on to serve Australia and South East Asia very greatly as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

One of the features of Sir Percy Spender was that he inspired one of his two surviving sons to follow him into politics. That says something for the frequent complaints that those of us in politics make about the nature of the life. There are many examples in the short period since Australia's Federation of sons following their fathers into the national Parliament. In the previous Government Mr Anthony, Mr Street, Mr Adermann, I and perhaps some others, had fathers who had served in the national Parliament and, of course, Sir Percy Spender's son, John, is currently a member of the House of Representatives. That makes it particularly apt on this occasion that we should extend our sympathy to the surviving family of Sir Percy Spender. He did make a very great contribution to Australia and his family, no doubt, is very proud of that fact. The occasion of his death must be a time of great sorrow for them and we extend our sympathy at this time.