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Friday, 9 August 1946

Mr MENZIES (Kooyong) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I concur in the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr. Chifley). I am sorry that it did not occur to me that the close of this Parliament meant the departure from the parliamentary scene of the right honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley). As one who has for years been opposed to him' politically, I can say that I regard him as a. parliamentarian of very remarkable ability. Nobody who has debated public questions against him in this Parliament could fail to appreciate the extraordinary skill of his mind, or .the zeal with which he upholds his views. Like the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Martens), he carries our good wishes with him into his retirement from Parliament.

It is unnecessary for me to say thai my personal association with the Primp Minister has been a source of great satisfaction to me. Whatever cut or thrusthere may be in the forthcoming political fight - and there will be cut and thrust aplenty during the next eight weeks - ii has been a great personal pleasure foi me to do business with the Prime Minister. He is a good man to be sitting across the table from - if I may use the wrong ending to a sentence. I have no doubt that in the next Parliament wc will be still sitting at opposite sides of the table.

In the past it has been the practice to pay a special tribute to the Hansard staff, but it has occurred to me, as I look into the dimly lighted recess at the end of the chamber, that in future we shall have to pay our tribute to those who put us on the air, as well as to those who put us in print. It is true that the work of Hansard exhibits an extraordinary genius for understanding, and a complete mastery of syntax. The broadcasting people cannot alter the composition of our speeches, but they do extraordinary things with them, nevertheless. If we are too feeble they build us up until our voices' resound magnificently; if we are too robust, they tone down our speech so that it goes cooingly over the air to the listeners. These are remarkable scientific achievements, and we must remember those responsible, if not in our prayers, at any rate in our thanks.

One of the great things about political warfare in Parliament- and I speak with a large experience - is that it can, and does, produce sincere and warm friendships, even amongst the most violent opponents, and this does rauch to soften the asperity of political life. We would do well to remember this in the immediate future. If we do, it will make for a better political campaign.

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