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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
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Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) -First of all, Mr Speaker, I say that you have surprised me as a Speaker. I think you have been a great success. You have been a good Speaker. I am also surprised somewhat by the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth). I think that underneath he must be a believer in slow torture if, after spending so long in this place, he hopes to go to the other place. Candidly, I hope he does not get there. I think that the fewer independents there are in the Senate the better. The realisation that it is one's last day in the Parliament is a somewhat eerie experience. I suppose that there are some honourable members here who hope that it is not their last day. They may not be as blessed as they think.

I do not want to have to thank a long catalogue of people. There are too many people to thank. Perhaps I should thank the electors of Melbourne Ports. That electorate has had, I think, only three representatives in the whole of its history, and I have served it longer than anybody else. At least I am grateful for having had that opportunity.

There is one other thing I would like to say, and perhaps it is the final comment I will be making. There is a lot of talk in Australia at the moment about the necessity for constitutional reform. I believe there is a great need for institutional reform, and one of the institutions which needs to begin to reform itself is this chamber. Like other honourable members, I count it a privilege to have been among the one hundredodd members of Parliament who at any one time make up the numbers in this place. I believe that the Parliament could be far more efficient than it has been in the utilisation of the talents of its members. Immediately Question Time has concluded, on most occasions, this chamber becomes almost empty of members. That is not a very good state of affairs for a parliament. Committees endeavour to meet while the Parliament is sitting. It is a very difficult situation indeed. I believe that much of the more important work of this Parliament, and of this House in particular, has to be carried out to an increasing extent by committees rather than in this chamber.

So I leave, as I say, with a rather sweet and sour feeling about my last day in this place. I value the experience I have gamed here. I must say that I have been moved by the number of people from both sides of this House, and the number of people who work in and around the parliament, who have told me that they will miss me. I do not want to be sentimental and talk about my family but at least they will see a little more of me in the future. Whether they will thank me for my decision remains to be seen.







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