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Tuesday, 12 April 1988
Page: 1417


Senator MICHAEL BAUME —I wish to associate myself with this motion of condolence and, in common with Senator Harradine, I would point out that my first association with Sir William McMahon occurred before I came to this Parliament, when I was a a journalist. Sir William was well known for admonishing journalists for not recognising the way and the truth. He was prepared to advise them on how to remedy those errors, and in encouraging them to do so he would on many occasions provide them with interesting information about his opponents. As Finance Editor of the Bulletin magazine, I found his assistance in some cases most useful, and on many occasions I was admonished.

It was after I came into the political arena that I saw the extent of the loyalty and support that Sir William provided and the way in which he could be so very effective. I stood for a seat that had been held in the past by Jeff Bate, with whom Sir William was particularly friendly. Sir William had determined that the seat of Macarthur should be won back from the Australian Labor Party and he did all he could to assist me in that endeavour. He and Lady McMahon made themselves available to assist me in my campaigns on the two occasions that I retained that seat as well as in the winning of it, and I was always grateful for that assistance. I was also grateful that he continued his habit of telephoning me, which he had developed when I was a journalist, and giving me political advice. Mr Jim Bradfield, who was the member for Barton, received perhaps even more advice than I, and were he still in Parliament I am certain that he would comment on that advice.

It is extraordinary, and perhaps says something about the enormous turnover in this place, that it is not so long ago that Sir William was Prime Minister but that only two senators in this chamber were here when he was in that office. I refer to Senators Durack and Gietzelt. Many of us think that we are here in perpetuity. Sir William certainly demonstrated that one could be here successfully for many years. The reality is that most of us have no prospect whatever of having the record of service or the achievements of Sir William McMahon in this Parliament. I join with my colleagues in expressing my condolences to Sonia and the three children.