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Tuesday, 10 November 1964


Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - by leave - It is my sorrowful duty to report to the Senate the death of Senator Seddon Vincent of Western Australia. He died in Perth during last night. The late Senator Vincent was elected to represent Western Australia in the Senate at the general election of 1949 and took his place on 1st July 1950. He was re-elected at the general elections in 1951, 1955 and 1961. He was a member of the Senate Standing Orders Committee from 21st June 1951, of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances from 10th September 1953 to 4th November 1955, of the Senate Select Committee on the Development of Canberra in J 954-55, and of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs from 25th October 1956 to 27th August 1959 and from 16th August 1962. In addition he was a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory from April 1957, of which Committee he was Chairman from 23ird August 1962 to 1st November 1963. He was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Payments to Maritime Unions in 1958, and a member of the Australian delegation to the InterParliamentary Union Conference at Warsaw in 1959. He was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television in 1962-63.

Senator Vincentenlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 23rd September 1940 and served at home and overseas with the administrative and special duties branch. He was Director of Staff Duties, Royal Australian Air Force Headquarters, and was discharged on 24th October 1945 with the rank of Wing Commander. Seddon Vincent attended Scotch College in Perth and subsequently took a law course at the University of Western Australia. He commenced practising as a barrister in 1931, first in the eastern wheat belt and then at Kalgoorlie. Throughout his life he devoted much of his time to public affairs and to community undertakings. He was always interested in politics.

My first recollection of meeting Seddon Vincent is of the time of the secession campaign in 1933, when he actively espoused and supported the cause of Western Australia's secession. His campaign for the Dominion League was conducted with remarkable vigour. His encyclopaedic knowledge of Western Australia and his grasp of statistics made him an extremely effective figure in the cause that he supported on that occasion.

In Kalgoorlie he became a member of the municipal council. Indeed, his interest in local government continued for years after he was elected to the Senate. For many years he was the spokesman in Canberra for the Western Australian Local Governing Bodies Association. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce movement and for a period was President of the Kalgoorlie branch. Subsequently he was Vice-President of the Federated Chambers of Commerce in Western Australia. He was a prominent cricketer in the Eastern Goldfields Cricket Association and he also played competitive tennis.

When he went to Kalgoorlie he devoted himself to a study of gold mining in all its aspects. He could discuss with equal facility the physical aspects of mining or the financial and economic aspects, both in the Australian and in the international contexts. All honorable senators will recall the many speeches that he made about gold mining, and in support of the gold mining industry. His knowledge was profound, and I venture to suggest that in this Parliament he was an unchallenged authority on the subject.

With his wife he had a lifelong joint interest in the theatre. He was an active producer of amateur productions for many years and it was due, very largely, to his efforts and those of his wife that the repertory movement in Kalgoorlie achieved such a high reputation throughout Australia. He adjudicated at many drama festivals. His deep interest in the theatre manifested itself very plainly when he assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television, lt will be agreed by all that the report which the Committee produced - so much of it stemming from his own experience and ideas - showed an outstanding awareness of the problems of television. The public interest which this report has since evoked is evidence of its scope and depth

Seddon Vincent retained throughout his career as a senator a deep pride in the fact that it was his duty and his privilege to represent his State in the Parliament of the nation. He knew Western Australia from end to end. There. was about him something of the spirit of the gold field pioneer. He made light of the difficulties and inconveniences that attached to conducting a legal practice in an outback area. He accepted the ebbs and flows of fortune as a goldfielder has always accepted the luck that comes with the glint of gold and the lack of luck that all too frequently attends the efforts of the prospector.

His philosophy was one of accepting life as it came, seeing little difference between sunlight and shadow. Over the last two years his health had been failing. Faced with the inevitable, he carried on with a calm courage that gave inspiration to those who knew, as he knew, what was his condition and what was to be his fate. I move -

That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Victor Seddon Vincent, senator for the State of Western Australia, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow in her bereavement.







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