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Monday, 2 December 2002
Page: 6846

Senator CONROY (3:43 PM) —On behalf of opposition senators, I wish to support the condolence motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The opposition expresses its deep regret at the death of Gordon Sinclair Davidson, CBE, a Liberal senator from South Australia who served parliament from 1961 until 1981. Originally a farmer and grazier, Gordon Davidson also spent his life in public service in one form or another. He was, by all accounts, a devout man, and was a senior member of the Presbyterian Church in South Australia for many years. For 61 years, he was a member of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, and he served in the late 1980s as a Deputy Grand Master. His political career, like those of so many here, began with local government. From 1942 until 1950 he was a councillor on the Strathalbyn district council and was an office holder of the then Liberal and Country League. In the 1960s, he was president of the South Australian Council for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and he was for 20 years a senator.

He was a busy committee man and he chaired the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution from 1968 to 1970. His first speech was mainly about water and population pressures along the Murray River system. It is an interesting snapshot of the dilemmas of the times, which continue to be pressing on governments of all persuasions today. In the 1970s he campaigned against changing the National Anthem and what he felt was the corrosive effect of television on children. He was made a CBE in the 1981 New Year's honours list. After leaving parliament he served on several distinguished committees, including the South Australian Libraries Board, the National Library of Australia, the Adelaide University Council and the national board of the Australian Inland Mission. Gordon Davidson gave service to his community all his life. South Australians in particular should remember his work. On behalf of the opposition in the Senate, we offer our most sincere condolences to his family.