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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2818


Senator McMULLAN (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) —I wish briefly to associate myself with the remarks in the condolence motion for the former Senator Lawrie Wilkinson. I knew Lawrie very well in my early days of political involvement and for many years thereafter we continued to see him as a resident here in Canberra because his sons, Harold and Alan, lived here and Lawrie was here to be with them in his later years. I always knew him as an honourable and principled man, and a diligent and very competent senator, both on issues and on a constituency basis. He set some standards of constituency work to which I have strived, perhaps unsuccessfully, to equal.

  I knew him mainly because of his activities in opposition to the war in Vietnam, in opposition to conscription and, subsequently, more broadly under the general heading of peace; but particularly in our joint efforts in Western Australia in the 1960s and early 1970s in opposition to the war in Vietnam and in opposition to conscription. I note with interest that that was the first subject he raised in the Parliament. In his first speech here he dealt first of all with the issue of Vietnam and conscription. That was very appropriate because it was then the issue that was dominating the political agenda and it was that issue on which he had been most active.

  It is never possible to sum up the contribution of a complex human being who has been involved in a wide range of issues, but I think he was a very committed and distinguished citizen. He contributed to all the groups of which he was a part and to the society as a whole. I respected him greatly. I do not know all the members of his family well but I want particularly to refer to and express my condolences to his sons, Harold and Alan, whom I regard both as very good friends and as following very much in Lawrie's footsteps as outstanding citizens through, in Harold's case, the United Nations Association and very many other organisations, and, in Alan's case, through his work for AIDAB.

  I did not always agree with Lawrie Wilkinson. We often did agree on matters, but, as with all citizens with whom one has robust debate over 20-odd years, from time to time we disagreed about issues. I always respected the integrity with which he developed his views and projected them. I always enjoyed his friendship. He was made a life member of the ALP, which was a very suitable recognition for the long years of work which he gave to the Party and to the society of which he was a member. I join with other senators in supporting this condolence motion and in mourning the passing of Lawrie Wilkinson.