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Tuesday, 18 June 1946

Mr MENZIES (Kooyong) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I associate the Opposition with the motion, and with the words that have fallen from the Hps of tj!1 the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). Senator Keane, when I first had the pleasure of knowing him, was, as we have been reminded, a prominent official of the Australian Railways Union. At that time, I saw a good deal of his work on behalf of his members in and about the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. In my experience of him, he was always a. shrewd and a wise man. He earned a very well deserved reputation as a champion of unremitting but constitutional action on behalf of all those who depended upon his services. When he entered Parliament he revealed uncommon parliamentary gifts. These, I believe, were particularly disclosed during the time of his ministerial office. He was an uncommonly good parliamentarian, not only because he knew the business of Parliament 'thoroughly, but also because, whilst being a constant fighter for what he believed in, he was always fair and, indeed, generous to his opponents. As a Minister, of course, he sustained what, perhaps, is not as yet very widely recognised - the extraordinary burden which office has imposed upon its holders during the last few years. I can speak of that with some little knowledge, gained from my own experience in the first two years of the war, as well as some knowledge of what my colleagues also sustained during that time. Within the la3t few years that burden has certainly not been lighter. A very great burden fell upon the late honorable gentleman, and I believe that the sustaining of it .undoubtedly shortened his life. Personally, as we are all prompt to recognize, he was a. most companionable man, who succeeded in maintaining great personal friendships while at 'the same time maintaining active political opposition. He was, indeed, the most admirable of opponents in the political field, and a good friend. We shall all miss him.

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