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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 751

Senator COLLARD (Leader of the National Party of Australia) —I would like also to join in the condolence motion on behalf of the members of the National Party of Australia in the Senate. It has been indicated that Hugh Roberton led a very full life and that most of that life was taken up in service to the community or to the nation in various ways. He was a Coolamon Shire councillor in 1930. He was a foundation member of the New South Wales Country Party, as Senator Gareth Evans has indicated, and a member of the Central Council. He was a member of the executive of the Farmers and Settlers Association of New South Wales and its General President from 1945 to 1949. He was President of the Australian Wheatgrowers Federation from 1946 and Chairman of the Wheat Industry Defence Council. He was a member of the Council of Primary Producers Association of Australia and, of course, as has been indicated, he also saw service in the Australian Imperial Force as a gunner in the anti-tank regiment. He was the member for Riverina from 1949 to 1965 and was also the Minister for Social Services in the Government from 1956 to 1965. He then capped that long and illustrious career of service to the community and the public by joining the diplomatic service and becoming our first ambassador to Ireland.

As Senator Chaney has indicated, in recent years he lived in Canberra and took the opportunities that were available to him to come back to this place, to maintain his interest in it and to renew old friendships. His failing eyesight meant that his wife Eileen had an increased burden in looking after him, but she inevitably came with him and was a wonderful companion to him in those difficult years. As I say, on behalf of my Party I support the motion of condolence and, indeed, send our sympathy to his wife, Eileen, and to his family.