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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 53


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition) —Mr President, on behalf of the Opposition senators, I congratulate you on your election. I think that you are experienced enough politically to know where the votes came from in the ballot that was just announced, but we now look to you in your new capacity and congratulate you on your election. Your career, Mr President, like those of most people in this chamber, has been deeply involved in your own political party. Both prior to your entry into this place and since your election you have been deeply involved in the affairs of the Australian Labor Party both in New South Wales and nationally. With the election to the presidency, which is one of the highest positions in Australia, you now assume an institutional role which is beyond your political role. I noted with pleasure your reference in your brief opening remarks to the precedent of your predecessors.

In congratulating you today, I simply remember the obvious regard in which your immediate predecessor was held round this chamber-a regard which he earned by being able to convince us all that he was the President of the Senate. He acted in an institutional manner which won great support right round the chamber. The Opposition looks to you, Mr President, to follow that excellent precedent, as you have indicated you wish to do. In what will no doubt be a very willing election year you will be, to some extent, the arbiter of both taste and judgment in this place. We look to you for standards of fairness so that you are indeed the President of all the Senate.