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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3582

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) -I would like to join in the comments which have been expressed by honourable members in relation to the service of Norm Parkes to the House over a very long time and in relation to his impending retirement. He has served this House and a succession of governments in this House with impartiality and diligence regardless of the complexion of the government. I might suggest that for too long there has been too much of one complexion of government in this House, but that has not been the fault of Norman Parkes. It has always appeared to me by his appearance and behaviour that Norman Parkes has sought to maintain the composure, dignity and proper conduct of this House even at times when it has fled this House in all other quarters. He has always been cheerful. I suggest that that is a not easy quality to maintain when one is compulsorily chained to the table of this House. Unlike members of the Parliament, the Clerks of the House cannot escape at particularly painful moments when an honourable member is making a speech. Of course, I exclude present company.

Norman has served in the House as a Clerk, wearing the formal appearance of Clerks of the House, of inscrutability, wisdom and- I stress this word gently- discretion. I detected fleetingly a cold tremor of fear rush through the House when reference was made to a typewriter being presented to him on his retirement. Perhaps he is going to write his memoirs and his recollections of the Parliament. If he confirms this, I expect that there will be regular pilgrimages of members of Parliament to his home. I have noted from time to time in the newspapers when it is reported that the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron)- perhaps I should not say this because he is not here; on reflection, I probably would not say it if he were here- is in the process of writing his memoirs there is a fresh outbreak of pilgrims visiting his office encouraging him to drink from the sweet cup of nostalgia and to forget about the bitter one. I wish Norm Parkes and his wife happiness and satisfaction in their retirement. He has been a keen and loyal officer serving this House and all parties in this House. On a personal level, I have appreciated his kindness, his thoughtfulness and his helpfulness whenever I have approached him. I repeat with a deep sense of sincerity that I hope that he enjoys a very well-deserved, satisfying retirement with his wife.

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