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Wednesday, 8 March 1961


Mr CALWELL (Melbourne) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I support all that the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) has said about our colleague, the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Bowden). The honorable member is a member of the party to which the Acting Prime Minister belongs, and naturally the Acting Prime Minister would know the qualities of the honorable member for Gippsland better, perhaps, than other honorable members would. But we all know the very many good qualities of the honorable member for Gippsland. We have known him here now since he came in in 1943. He is a genial companion to travel with on the work of parliamentary committees. In the chamber he is always tolerant, as the Acting Prime Minister said, and, without nattering him at all, I think that from the Opposition point of view and, I hope, from the point of view of every honorable member, he is one of the best Chairmen of Committees that this chamber has known. He tried to govern with a light rein, if I may use a term that will appeal to the members of the Australian Country Party. He was not one who wished to use the whip. He always tried to understand the troubles in the minds of people who, at one time or another, may have been at variance with the Chair.

We are very sorry to see the honorable member for Gippsland compelled, under the circumstances, to tender his resignation to-day. We wish him a restoration of good health at a very early date. We know that he was very active in the councils of the Australian Country Party for many years before he came into this Parliament. Tt is only in recent years that he has been afflicted as he has been, but he tells us that his condition is not incurable and that he can be relieved of pain and to enjoy quite a good deal of health for a long time yet. He made the decision to retire from the Parliament some time ago. We wish him well in his retirement, but we will have an opportunity of saying that later.

When I heard, only this morning, from the Acting Prime Minister that the honorable member for Gippsland was about to retire from the office of Chairman of Com mittees my mind went back over the service given to this Parliament by those who, at one time or another, have represented Gippsland in this Parliament. I have not had time to consult any record, but, if my memory serves me rightly, the first three members for Gippsland all served as Ministers. The first was Mr. Allan McLean, who was, before federation, a Premier of Victoria. The next was Mr. George H. Wise, who was once PostmasterGeneral. The next was Mr. Thomas Paterson, who was also a Minister, and a number of us still here remember him well. Then he retired and was succeeded by the present honorable member for Gippsland, who, whilst he did not become a Minister, served with great ability as a Chairman of Committees. On behalf of every member of the Opposition, without exception - I emphasize those words - I wish the honorable member for Gippsland all good fortune in the remaining period of his service in this Parliament. Sir, with due respect to his successor and anybody else who may occupy the chair, we shall miss him greatly in more senses than one.







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