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Thursday, 8 December 1938

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime Minister) .- I move-

That the House do now adjourn.

I take this opportunity to express on behalf of the Government, and members on this side of the House, all good wishes to honorable members personally during the approaching Christmas season, and in the year that is to follow. We have conic to the end of another parliamentary year, and I hope that whatever political differences there may have been between us, we shall part without personal differ- ences, and with good feelings, one for another. When we look back over the year - with its worries, fears, and, at times, its . alarms, not only in Australia, but in other parts of the world also, we cannot but hope that the year that is to come will be a better one, and that the clouds that have hung over the world will be dispersed. I hope that the weeks that will elapse between now and the next meeting of Parliament will bring better conditions and better international relationships, so that we may be justified in viewing the future with greater optimism.

While expressing good wishes to honorable members generally, I take this opportunity to thank, first of all, the members on this side of the House who have so loyally supported the Government during days that at times have been difficult. I also thank honorable members on the other side of the House, who, while fighting hard for their political convictions, have endeavoured to maintain the best traditions of the past.I express my gratitude to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) for the manner in which he has carried out his duties. I know that I shall not be misunderstood when I pay a very high compliment to my friend and political opponent, the Leader of the Opposition, for the high ability and splendid courtesy he has displayed in carrying out the duties of his office. I appreciate his attitude very much, as, I ,:m sure, do all honorable members on this side of the House. I associate with him in the expression of my appreciation his deputy, the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde), who, while his leader was absent in Western Australia, carried out his duties in a manner which, I believe, must have been gratifying to the leader. The attitude of both honorable gentlemen has helped to make less unpleasant the party political conflict that is associated with the conduct of affairs in this House.

I desire to express the gratitude and appreciation of honorable members . to yourself, Mr. Speaker, for the manner in which you have discharged your duties, for the dignity, ability and impartiality that you have always displayed. With you I associate the Chairman of Committees, and the Temporary Chairmen, who have acted from time to time.

I desire particularly to thank the Whips for the work they have done. They have never let. up on their job, and they have sometimes, perhaps, been practically responsible for saving the life of the Government.

Our th'anks are also due to the various officers of the House. The Clerk, who has recently been elevated to his present position, I desire to thank particularly. My memory goes back to the smallest Parliament in Australia, that of Tasmania, when, during the time that I was Premier, he served in the same capacity in the State Parliament as he now does in this national Parliament. To the Clerk Assistant, and to those associated with him, I offer the thanks of the House, and good wishes for the season.

To the Hansard staff we are always under a deep debt of gratitude. When those halting sentences of ours appear in the press, and more particularly in Hansard, they are always couched in splendid English, and we are very proud of the speeches we have delivered. Therefore, we say now at the end of the year, what we do not always admit at other times, that a very valuable contribution towards those speeches is made by the Hansard staff which records them.

Our thanks are also due to the staff of the Library, to the Parliamentary Draftsman, and to the departmental officers who attend on us, often throughout the' long hours of the night. I desire to thank also the attendants generally, and the staff of the refreshment room, with whom we are brought into close contact, and who earn out gratitude, particularly during protracted sittings.

I express th*e thanks of honorable members to members of the press gallery. Sometimes we may feel that they are hard on us, while at other times we know that they are helpful, but whether they are. critical or appreciative, at the end of the parliamentary session, as at the beginning, they are our personal 'friends. I meet them twice daily whether Parliament is sitting or not, and have to submit to cross examination by them. It is an extraordinary tribute to them that, at the end of the parliamentary year, I can express my appreciation of their services, and of the happy personal relations that exist between us. I trust that the Christ- mas season, and the year to follow, will bring happiness .to them and to those associated with them.

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