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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3792


Mr LYNCH (Flinders) - Emerson in the Sovereignty of Ethics' wrote in these terms:

Serve and thou shah be served. If you love and serve men you cannot by any hiding or stratagem escape the remuneration.

It is in the spirit" of these words and in the overriding concept of service that I want to pay a warm tribute on behalf of the Opposition to a great Australian, the late John Dedman. He was a man who gave unstintingly in distinguished service to the Australian nation both in peace and in war. As the Prime Minister has indicated, John Dedman will be remembered for his administration of a number of difficult portfolios during a period when this country was under very severe test - the war and early post-war years. Indeed, it may not be without significance that a Scottishborn Australian should have been chosen by two great Labor Prime Ministers, John Curtin and Ben Chifley, to administer the Departments of War Organisation of Industry and Post-war Reconstruction.

John Dedman was a man of considerable determination and singularity of purpose.

Although his University studies in .engineering at Edinburgh University were uncompleted because of enlistment for World War I he nevertheless completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Australian National University in 1965. It was a rare event, indeed, to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree one year before completing a bachelor degree. John Dedman's determination and his success were aptly described by his Prime Minister in these words:

John Dedman inherited a few files and no staff. He had to start from scratch. He entered upon his duties with the grim determination of a hundred generations of Scottish forebears.

Many Australians today will not remember the far-reaching reconstruction of Australian industry and the exigencies borne by the community in general during the war and post war periods. The fact that John Dedman was responsible for administering many of the policies which called for community sacrifices in no way diminished his popularity. This in itself was a tribute to his personality and character. His parliamentary career was marked by outstanding integrity. Moreover, he was a man of considerable compassion and concern for people. It was this concern for people that led him, at the end of his parliamentary career, to become a director of the Resettlement of Refugees Department of the World Council of Churches. He was a great churchman and an elder of the Presbyterian Church.

As the House will be very much aware John Dedman was a regular visitor to Parliament in recent years. Many honourable members knew John Dedman personally because of his continuing interest in Australian political life. I knew him from the time I entered this House in 1966. It was an association which I will continue to value. I take this opportunity to place on record my respect for a man wise in the affairs of men and genuine in his continuing and active concern for this country's welfare. Although we differed politically at all times he was keen to make suggestions in those areas in which he felt his advice could be most useful. I was grateful for his interest. His maiden speech, delivered in this House on 19 April 1940, indicated at that time John Dedman's future role. It was a speech which dealt in a purposeful and unembroidered manner with Commonwealth finance and the utilisation of Australia's manpower, capital and natural resources. In summing up he stated:

There are many other matters upon which I should like to touch, but I feel that were I to do so I should not have sufficient time to give a complete explanation of them, and when one enters upon a subject one likes to make a good job of it.

History recalls that John Dedman approached each one of his many public assignments in that spirit. Perhaps the greatest tribute can be ascribed to the fact, that as a man charged with implementing a series of austere and restrictive policies, he held during his life the highest degree of public admiration and respect. I support the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and on behalf of the Opposition I offer my profound and sincere sympathy to his widow and family.







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