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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1485


Senator SIR KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales) - Mr President,on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition and indeed of the Liberal members of the Opposition Parties, I wish to give our support to the motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The passing of the Right Honourable Sir Eric Harrison marks a very significant part of the history of the national Parliament. Yesterday you, Sir, in your capacity as the President of the Senate and I, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Snedden, and on my own behalf, were pallbearers at the State funeral which was accorded to Sir Eric. The expressions of sympathy that were conveyed at that State ceremony yesterday to Lady Harrison and her family, and the widely representative groups that attended to convey their respects to the memory of the man who had passed away, made it a very moving occasion for us all.

The Leader of the Government has very properly given the history of this former parliamentarian. It is not necessary for me to traverse that again in detail. That he represented an electoral division for 25 years and then went on to hold the office of Australian High Commissioner in London for a period of 8 years is a significant record in its own right. But the life of Eric Harrison as a citizen, as a parliamentarian, as an ex-serviceman and as a diplomat could, I believe, be used as a model and pattern by any person in Australia who aspires to serve his country. Eric Harrison was a man who did not come to public life blessed with the educational background which many people have in modern times. His formal education was a modest one but he had a tremendous urge to serve his country. This urge found expression in service in this place for a period of 25 years. During that period he served in almost every office other than Presiding Officer and Prime Minister. He did in fact act as Prime Minister on one occasion. He served in many portfolios.

You, Mr President, and I, who have been here longer than most knew Eric Harrison's qualities because we saw them applied in practice. As the

Leader of the Government has said, he had political integrity. He had integrity not only in his home life and family life but also in his parliamentary life. He loved a political fight, but at all times he adhered to a code in that fight. Although he did not come to this place blessed with the advantages of modern youth, he did his homework and he was tremendously efficient in whatever he did in the duties of any portfolio which he held, as Leader of the House and also on the hustings. As a very ambitious young man in parliamentary life I joined him on the hustings. He was magnificent and he could hammer home his point. He loved every moment of it, but he adhered throughout to the code of a fair go and playing according to the rules.

He had the blessing of being able to enjoy people. He had a sense of humour. He loved simple things, too. He loved his family life. He had a great joy of things which people sometimes lose sight of when they engage in politics and become engrossed in the affairs of State. These things did not pass Eric Harrison by. He had a great honour. He was a Privy Councillor. He was a K.C.M.G. and a K.C.V.O. But he was a simple man in many ways. He loved nature. He loved to be able to enjoy a lovely morning. He could enjoy the singing of the birds in the spring. He loved the sea. Those qualities in truth helped to make him a better man to serve Australia. In his seniority, in his efficiency, in his capability as a parliamentarian he had the qualities of integrity and loyalty. He had a love of nature and an eagerness, right until his final illness, to serve Australia as he did as a citizen, as a family man, as a parliamentarian, as an ex-serviceman and as a diplomat. I am sure that all honourable senators of the Liberal Party join in supporting the motion moved by the Leader of the Government to express our sincere sympathy to Lady Harrison and her family and our profound admiration of one who served Australia so faithfully and well throughout his adult lifetime and made a tremendous contribution in this time to our history and to the progress and development of Australia.







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