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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1723


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE —by leave-Mr President, I take this opportunity to express my good wishes to Senator Don Grimes in his future career. I do so as someone who had a close association with him during the five years when he was a most assiduous shadow Minister of me, as Minister for Social Security. During those years I admired enormously the work that he did as shadow Minister. I respected his ability and capacity, with very few staff resources, but notably with Netta Burns, to establish an alternative set of books as far as the Department of Social Security was concerned. His work during those years was most effective. During the whole of that time we shared many platforms, we were at conferences together and I was very well aware of the respect in which he was held in the welfare community, the migrant community, in all of those places where we had to undertake duties together. So during that time I developed enormous respect for his capacity, his sincerity and his ability to put a point of view that, at that time, was somewhat different from what may have been his total experience when he did become Minister for Social Security.

During the late 1970s and up to 1980, there was a thought in the Australian community that the giving of ever more money meant greater welfare and happiness generally; that more and more money and more and more programs were always the answer. I think that by the time Don did become the Minister for Social Security it was recognised, not only in his own Government but also in the wider community, that that may not always be possible. So I think that he had a duty as Minister, given the present economic circumstances, to show the community at large that alternatives had to be found to some of the programs, that restraints had to be exercised and, indeed, that some of the things that he had proselytised while shadow Minister were no longer possible of fulfilment. It was with interest that I watched his years as Minister. I admired the fact that he was able to get rid of half of the Department. I was never able to do that! In so doing he showed very good sense. Perhaps I could just say that, having been such an effective shadow Minister, perhaps it was rough justice that he did have to become the Minister for Social Security and take on that enormous Department and run it effectively. I join all of Don's colleagues in wishing both him and Helen every success and happiness in his new career. It is rare to have an opportunity to say things about another senator in an atmosphere such as this, when obviously one has left at a time of one's own choosing, with the good will and respect of all of one's colleagues.