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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 59

Senator MICHAEL BAUME —by leave-There is a certain irony about the death of Stan Keon at a time when control of the media is once again a matter of public moment. As I recall it, the first occasion on which Mr Keon failed to respond to the Labor Whip was when Mr W. C. Wentworth moved a private member's Bill aimed at blocking the takeover of radio station 2GB by the Bartholomew London Daily Mirror interests in the early 1950s. On that occasion, both he and Mr Mullins absented themselves from the chamber rather than vote to support that takeover by someone whom he described at the time as `a millionaire British socialist'. Inevitably that situation led to the split of which Senator Harradine has spoken today. At the time there was comment about this. I recall one piece of doggerel which detailed Mr Wentworth's activities by saying:

The shades of night were falling fast

As urgent to the table passed

A member who with fervour hissed

I'll stop that damn capitalist

Bartholomew, Bartholomew.

It went on:

The vote was taken; where were the hands

Of Yarras and of Gellibrands

Oh what the nature of the mission

That dragged them out of that division

On Bartholomew, Bartholomew.

I happened to be the scribbler who did that at the time. The thought that strikes me is that there is a strange coincidence in that Mr Keon, who contributed so enormously to the political history of Australia-which is seen from different perspectives, depending on where one stands in politics-and whose contribution was very significant even though his spell in the Parliament was relatively short, should depart this life at a time when that matter of media control, which exercised his mind so strongly, has once again been raised in Australia.