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Thursday, 2 June 1921

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) . - It is my melancholy duty to intimate to the House that Mr. James Page, one of our most respected and best beloved members, died this morning. The news comes like a bolt from the blue, and gave me the greatest possible sense of shock when it was told me. Happenings like this cause wonder as to what life may have in store for us. To see a man stricken down at the height of his power and in the plenitude of robust health gives us pause, and makes us realize how slender, after all, is our hold upon life and its opportunities. Edmund Burke; speaking in the House of Commons on an occasion like that on which we are met here this morning, in language far better than that in which I can clothe my thoughts, said of a deceased member-

The worthy gentleman who has been snatched from us at the moment of the election and in the middle of a contest, while his desires were as warm and his hopes as eager as ours, has fittingly told us what shadows we are and what shadows we pursue.

There can be but one sentiment in this chamber to-day, that of unfeigned sorrow for what has occurred. ' Mr. Page was without a single enemy. At the height of our most bitter controversies we always felt a deep respect for the man who is no longer with us. I am not sure that I did not like him best in his moments of excitement. He was ' a man who loved his country intensely, and loved his fellowmen, serving them with every atom of .his strength and with the whole devotion of his mind. There are few finer characters than that of Jim Page.

In one sense we can scarcely be sorry for him. He lived a full, well-rounded, useful life, serving his country in almost every possible sphere of activity. As a citizen he built up for himself a character for good repute, and won material success ; but never for a moment did he forget those less fortunate than himself. He served his country not only in the paths of peace, but also upon the battle-field. We all know something - of his career as a member of this House. It is that by which he is remembered best. I was a comrade of his for twenty years, and I do not remember a time when I had not the greatest respect, esteem, and good-will for him ; I am sure every other honorable member felt in the same way towards him. All we can do this morning is to bow our heads in the presence of this mystery, and bow our wills to a higher will, hoping, as I believe most profoundly that, although he has passed to "where beyond these voices there is peace," he still lives on, to do useful work in some other and better sphere. ' I move -

That this House records its sincere regret at the death of the honorable member for Maranoa, the Hon. James Page, who was a member of this House since the inauguration of the Parliament; and expresses its appreciation of the zeal with' which he devoted himself to his public duties, and its profound sympathy with his bereaved family in their great sorrow.

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