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Wednesday, 16 February 1977
Page: 105

Mr ELLICOTT (Wentworth) (AttorneyGeneral) Yes, I seek that indulgence. This is in one sense a very pleasant duty for me to perform. Honourable members will be aware that recently Mr Charles Comans, the First Parliamentary Counsel, retired. I want to place on record in this House his years of service as a parliamentary counsel. He came to Canberra as a member of the Australian Public Service in 1936. Subsequently he joined the Attorney-General's Department where his main interest, of course, was in the drafting section. He became the First Assistant Parliamentary Draftsman in 1949. He served as second in command, I think, to Mr John Ewens whom honourable members will recall was the First Parliamentary Draftsman for many years and who retired in November 1972. His place was then taken by Mr Comans whose retirement took effect from 4 February last.

I simply want to place on record the many years of service of Mr Comans. He is a person of considerable skill as both a lawyer and a draftsman. I should like to place on record the many hours that he has given to his duties. As all honourable members are aware, a parliamentary counsel is a person who has to be dedicated to bis duties. Not only does he have to be dedicated but also he has to be very precise in the advice and attention that he gives. Parliamentary counsel work long hours and it is appropriate, in view of the work that they do for the Parliament, that when they retire from office they should receive public acknowledgement for their work. Mr Comans, since his retirement, has been engaged as a consultant. He will continue to work as a consultant to the Attorney-General. He will be engaged in work involving legislative drafting but, of course, he will not have the higher duties of administering the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. It would have been a pity had his magnificent capacities been lost to the Commonwealth. I am happy to say that those capacities have been retained. Mr Comans will remain as consultant to the Attorney-General for a period of 3 years.

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