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Thursday, 9 May 1985
Page: 1686


Senator LEWIS(6.20) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This paper appoints three new members to the Parliament House Construction Authority. I congratulate those new appointees. That is all I want to say about them. What I do want to refer to is that the paper discloses the end of the tenure of Sir Bernard Callinan, Mr R. D. Ling and Sir John Overall on the Parliament House Construction Authority. The way in which these three gentlemen found out that their tenure had been terminated was by reading about in in the newspapers.


Senator Missen —Shameful.


Senator LEWIS —As Senator Missen says, it is shameful. This Government talks about consensus, about dealing with employees, about how employers need to get out and talk to their employees and discuss matters with them, about open government and all those sorts of things. The Government makes all of those claims and then, when it comes to taking action in regard to three gentlemen who have served this nation extremely well-in particular, Sir Bernard Callinan and Sir John Overall who have served the nation in many high offices-it allows their term of tenure to expire. About 10 days after their term of tenure has expired, it lets them read in the newspaper that they have not been reappointed. What sort of an excuse were we given in the Press release for the fact that these gentlemen had not been reappointed? I do not know very much about Mr Ling. He is from South Australia. All I can find out about him is that he seems to have been associated with Hills Industries Ltd. He seems to be a very fine gentleman.


Senator Hill —A highly regarded industrialist.


Senator LEWIS —As my colleague Senator Hill says, he is a highly regarded industrialist. I do not know how old he is. Perhaps Senator Hill knows his age. The statement about these two gentlemen is that apparently they are not of an age when they ought to be reappointed. This Authority will probably come to a conclusion in no more than four years. Sir Bernard Callinan was born, according to Who's Who, on 2 February 1913. Sir John Overall was born, according to Who's Who, on 15 July 1913. Let me mention that a fellow by the name of Mr Whitlam, who has been appointed by this Government as Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, was born in 1916; so he is three years younger than these people. A judge by the name of Else-Mitchell was born in 1914. Justice Roma Mitchell was born in October 1913. They have recently been appointed to government positions by this Government. Really, this is an absolute nonsense. This stupid Government, with its stupid Australian Labor Party policy, got rid of a senator by the name of McLaren who was one of the most active, interesting and enthusiastic senators the ALP ever had. It got rid of him at the age of 59 because if he had received another six-year term he would have been beyond the age of 65. So he was forced to retire at the age of 59. What an absolute nonsense.

This Government has disgracefully ended the tenure of these people in a manner about which it ought to be ashamed. It did not have the courtesy to call the gentlemen in and explain to them that, for some reason or other, it did not want to renew their appointments. The Government did not give them the opportunity to say that they would resign. The Government did not do any of those things. This marvellous building is being constructed. These gentlemen have served this country extremely well and what did the Government do? It sacked those gentlemen in a most disgraceful way. I think that the Government ought to be ashamed of itself.