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Wednesday, 19 April 1939

Mr FORDE (Capricornia) - As a personal friend of the late Mr. Frank Baker, I desire to supplement the speeches of the Prime Minister (Sir Earle Page), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin), and the right honorable member for Kooyong (Mr. Menzies) in regard to our departed friend and colleague. It was my privilege to know the late Mr. Frank Baker and his parents from his boyhood days, and later to know his charming wife and two beautiful children. He was a good son of a devoted father and mother. He was a loving husband and a most affectionate father. His family life wa3 a very happy one. One of the most poignant griefs I had on visiting his home after his death was to see his sorrowing but brave young widow and his two beautiful infant children, as yet too young to realize the gravity of the irreparable loss they had suffered by the death of their father. Endowed by nature with a keen analytical mind, the late Mr. Baker was always a very keen student; he was always optimistic and confident; he had rare debating talents; and he possessed a bright and cheery outlook. He was graced with all those qualities which destined him one day to occupy an exalted position in the national parliament of Australia. His heart was big. Indeed, he was generous, giving of the best that was in him for those whom he so worthily represented in this Parliament. He was sympathetic, patient, kind and humble in his attitude towards his fellow men. Essentially a democrat and a son of the people, he felt just as much at ease in conferring with a humble labourer as with those holding higher positions in life. It is some gratification to his family to know that his funeral was one of the largest that has ever passed through the streets of Brisbane, some indication of the universal popularity which he enjoyed in the capital of the northern State of Queensland. The late Mr. Baker has gone, but I believe thai his memory will long endure. The tragic suddenness of his death came as a great shock to the community and in the Griffith electorate there are many saddened hearts grateful for his many act3 of kindness and consideration ; saddened also because of the passing of a bright young life which was cut off in the flower of his manhood. He was destined to adorn high positions in this country, but it was not to be. His sudden death at such a young age is an indication to all .of us that the strongest of us is here but for a brief span. The resonant voice and the cheery smile we shall not hear or see again in this Parliament. Those of us who knew Prank Baker best will remember him for his manly qualities. I sincerely hope that the universal respect in which he was held amongst his fellow members and in his electorate and the feelings of gratitude expressed by the people for his good work will act as some consolation to and will assuage the grief of his brave young widow who stood by him in his personal triumphs and, indeed, in any adversity he suffered, and who at the time of his death determined that she must live on to bring up to womanhood those young lives entrusted to her guardianship.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

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