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Tuesday, 16 October 1956

Sir ERIC HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I thank the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt) for the nice things they have said about me. It is with rather mixed feelings that I say to them, on behalf of my wife and myself, " Thank you ", because, as I stand in this position for the last time and look at the hallowed spot behind your chair, Mr. Speaker, and see it occupied by some one else in consultation with my onetime opposite number, I feel that some of my greatest principles have been outraged.

The Leader of the Opposition has said that, in the new position that I shall be honoured to occupy, I should faithfully represent all sections ofthe people of Australia. I look upon that as being the primary purpose of my appointment in London. I think I can faithfully discharge that duty. As the House knows, I have already had a short period of experience, and I think that during that time I gave some indication that I knew what my responsibilities were and tried to discharge them to the best of my ability. I assure the House and the country that for the period for which I occupy that very high and important position I shall render to the country that I am called upon to represent the best service that it lies within my power to give.

I thank the House, including all my colleagues, for their tolerance of the many weaknesses that I have shown from time to time, particularly to the Opposition when I have had occasion to be a stern taskmaster as the Leader of the Opposition has suggested, and also to my colleagues on this side of the House. I hope that they will forgive me and accept what I have done as being an effort to make the business of the House run smoothly. Indeed, if it were not for the great co-operation that I have received from the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell), for whom, notwithstanding his politics, I have the highest personal regard, things would have been different.. The honorable member has often said, " If they would only let us alone, we would be able to get the business of the House through much more smoothly and easily than we do". I subscribe fully to that attitude. There have been times when he has said to me, " This is what I would like to have I, with my natural modesty, have replied, Surely, Arthur, that is quite right ", and I have let him have his way. Having found that weakness in my armour, he has approached me behind your chair and has sought to widen the gap, and oft-times has succeeded.

I am grateful to the House, particularly to my colleagues, for bearing with me over the long years. I hope to be able to represent them in the heart of the Empire. If it were possible by some magic means to exercise a remote control, I would be happier still. Mr. Speaker, I hand you my resignation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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