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Thursday, 9 December 1976
Page: 3656


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman will resume his seat.


Mr Uren - Mr Speaker-


Mr SPEAKER - Please resume you seat. I do not know who made that comment. If I knew I would call for it to be withdrawn. It was unparliamentary and totally unnecessary. I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Uren - The last thing I would want to do in this Parliament is to refuse leave to the Prime Minister of the nation to make a statement to this House, but there was an undertaking, and you are aware of it, Mr Speaker, that an adjournment debate would be allowed.


Mr Sinclair - I rise to order, Mr Speaker. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is, I gather, seeking to raise a matter before the House. I have no idea on what basis he raises it. I have intimated to the House, with your indulgence, that provided the House adjourns before 11 o 'clock there will be an adjournment debate.


Mr Uren - I have been informed by a Clerk of the House that the 1 1 o 'clock rule does not apply. Therefore it appears that the Leader of the House is binding this House to the 11 o'clock rule, I make it clear that I do not want to refuse leave to the Prime Minister to make a statement. At the same time I think, as a matter of courtesy, the Leader of the House should give an undertaking that we on this side will be able to raise matters on the adjournment. That is what I am seeking.


Mr SPEAKER -The orders of the House provide for the putting of the adjournment motion at 10.30 p.m. The question was put. It was negatived. Now it will require for the House to adjourn that the motion be put: That the House do now adjourn. When that motion is put it is subject to debate. Of course, the debate can be closed by a motion. The Prime Minister has asked leave to make a statement. That request for leave can only be answered 'Aye' or 'No'. The right honourable gentleman has asked leave to make a statement Is leave granted?


Mr Uren - With your guidance, Mr Speaker, I will give that leave, because the Leader of the House was incorrect in saying that the House would adjourn at 1 1 o'clock.


Mr MALCOLM FRASER -At this time of the year I think it is appropriate for honourable members to turn their minds away for a few moments from their own narrow affairs to those people in and about this building who make the operation of this institution of Parliament possiblethose who can make the Parliament work. This morning a number of us had something to say about a Clerk of the House who has given long and distinguished service to this Parliament He and his father have done so since Federation. I believe that the Clerk and his family typify the service of people in and about this Parliament. It is not just a question of people who work in this chamber. There are many people who are essential to the comfort and wellbeing of members of Parliament. At least at this time of the year, with more charity in our minds and hearts than politicians often have, I believe that we ought to remember them. I refer to the attendants, the drivers, the people who make the communications work, the voices on the switchboard that belong to people whom honourable members probably never see but who with great efficiency seem to be able to connect members of Parliament to people at other ends of telephones in remote parts of Australia

I think it is appropriate for members of the House of Representatives to pay particular tribute to Gordon Pike, who for as long as I can remember has given notable service to all members of Parliament always making sure that they get to their avowed destination, sometimes when they probably do not deserve to do so. He has carried out his part of the bargain on each and every occasion. He has made sure that people get to this chamber in the morning, that they get home at night and that they get home on the weekends. He is the sort of person whom members of this Parliament I believe, ought to cherish very greatly indeed. He is also a cricketer of no mean note. I have never had the good fortune to see Tony Street bowl him out on one of those significant occasions when the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations takes part in his old sports and habits, but I think that also is one of the activities that ought to be cherished by members of this House.

There are the cooks who feed the members of Parliament and the waitresses who see that we get served and fed in the dining room. There are cleaners who make the place habitable after members of Parliament have left it at night. There are carpenters and the mechanical staff who change rooms and make them more appropriate to Ministers' needs and to the needs of Leaders of the Opposition so that they and their staffs can be better housed, in better comfort, and therefore can better carry out their particular duties. Earlier today we paid a tribute to Norman Parkes and I remind the House of that. Earlier this year we paid tribute to the Chief Hansard Reporter, Bill Bridgman, for long and significant service to this Parliament and again, through the Parliament, to Australia. Paddy

Ward, an attendant on the House of Representatives side who retired in May will be remembered by many people who have been in this Parliament.

A special thanks is owed, I believe, to the Library staff and especially to those ladies who produce a year of newspaper clippings at the twinkling of an eye. We are especially grateful when they have the clipping we particularly want on the top, which enables us to make a point against our opponent in the way in which we want to make it. The Library staff has been enormously strengthened in recent times. The research part of the Library has been greatly strengthened to service the needs of members of Parliament and to enable them better to carry out their responsibility and duties. I think one of the things that members of Parliament in parties from both sides of the House have great confidence in is the fact that the people who work in and around this chamber and in this building work with no regard to the political Party from which a particular member comes but merely with a regard to carrying out their particular obligations, services and functions in relation to a member of Parliament. I believe they do this to the best of their ability, no matter what Party and no matter what the political leanings of a particular member may be.

At this time of the year I think we can thank a very large number of people, many of whom are not seen and many of whom, I suppose, in the business of the day are hardly noticed in a normal working week, but without whom this Parliament could not function, without whom this Parliament would fall apart. Just as our own wives might sometimes become a little tired of the times we come home late because of the sittings of the House or a little tired of the long weekends which, by the time we have looked after electoral functions and other matters, become pretty short weekends, so too the people who work in and around this House when Parliament is sitting work very long hours. The wives must be patient indeed to put up with it year after year. I think it is an appropriate time for all members of this House, with charity and warmth in their hearts, to offer good wishes, a happy Christmas and prosperous new year to all who serve us as members of Parliament. We owe them our thanks. I hope that as the lights of this Parliament go out, some of the bitterness of the debates which is often too much generated between politicians can be forgotten and that some of the characteristics of Australians can be remembered.







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