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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 55

Senator VALLENTINE —Mr President, as one of the rapidly growing number of independents in this chamber-there are not quite enough yet for us to have someone in the Chair-I would like to congratulate you. I think Doug McClelland will be a very hard act to follow but I wish you well in your new and challenging role.

The PRESIDENT —I am grateful to those honourable senators who have spoken-the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Button; the Leader of the Opposition, Senator Chaney; the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Haines; the Leader of the National Party of Australia, Senator Collard; and Senators Jessop, Georges, Hamer, Harradine and Vallentine-and for the congratulatory remarks they made upon my election to this high office.

I want to take this opportunity to place on record my appreciation of the excellent work put into this office by my immediate predecessor, the Hon. Douglas McClelland. I am fortunate in that I come from the same State and therefore knew Doug McClelland from my first involvement in politics, the 1961 Federal election campaign-the campaign that resulted in Senator McClelland's election to the Senate. I am proud to say that I am one of Doug's mates. Doug McClelland served as a Minister of State, as Deputy President and Chairman of Committees and as President of the Senate. I admired his occupancy of the chair and the impartial way in which he carried out his duties.

On a personal level, I appreciated Doug McClelland's helpful advice as well as his warm personal friendship over many years. I am sure that Doug and Lorna McClelland's term as diplomatic representatives of the Australian Government in London will be marked by the same qualities that they have shown in public life in Australia; that is, outstanding service, commitment and success. Again I thank those who have spoken. I realise that my task will be a difficult one. However, I can assure honourable senators that I will tackle that task with enthusiasm and in a way in which I trust they will all approve.