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Wednesday, 10 December 1986
Page: 3764

Senator WALSH (Minister for Finance) —by leave-Circumstances which were not anticipated until very recently are such that I find myself as Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate on this last day of the sitting. I know that both people who have positions senior to me in the Senate-in particular, Senator Button, in the first place-would wish that they were here tonight to respond to your statement.

The PRESIDENT —You are going to talk about McClelland and not McLachlan, aren't you?

Senator WALSH —Yes, Mr President. May I, firstly, express on behalf of Senator Button and Senator Grimes their good wishes and regret that they are not able to be here tonight; and I guess that the same could be said for a number of other people who are not here. We seem to have had a number of speeches over the last couple of weeks that have reviewed Doug McClelland's career in the Parliament. I will run over it very briefly again: Almost 25 years in the Senate. If I recall correctly, Doug, you did not take your seat in the Senate until 1 July 1962 but were elected pursuant to the election held 25 years ago yesterday. You were a Minister in the Whitlam Government for almost three years and have been President of the Senate now for more than three years.

If I may reflect in a personal way on that election at which Doug McClelland became a senator-elect, I recall that it was an election at which the Australian Labor Party had done very much better than most people had anticipated. Indeed, it was in the euphoria following that election that I formally joined the Labor Party. So, I guess, Doug, your success at that election and the success of all the others had some ramifications even in far away Doodlakine in Western Australia.

When I first came to the Senate as a simple country boy 12 1/2 years ago, Doug, you were Minister for the Media and I was somewhat baffled by the procedures of the Senate and Question Time and all that sort of thing.

Opposition senators interjecting-

Senator WALSH —We are not going to be vituperative now, are we? I recall-I am not sure whether you do, Doug-that it was during the first sitting of that Parliament that I was one of the people who were invited to your ministerial office. My knowledge of the geography of Parliament House was not so good in those days, but I think it was on the middle floor in the far wing of the Senate. I was invited to your ministerial office along with Cyril Primmer and a few other people to have a drink one evening, which was something that I appreciated. Indeed, I think that anybody who has been around here at all will know that Doug McClelland has been a very convivial host and also a very significant politician in the offices that he has occupied.

The second last point I want to make, Doug, is that, looking around, I can see a large number of people on both the Opposition and Government sides who were elected at the 1974 Federal election, including Senator Chaney and Senator Peter Baume and a few other people I can see in front of me. Doug, if you should leave the Senate, I think there will be only three people who were in the Senate prior to that 1974 election when about 14 or 16 of us were elected. Of course, Doug, you have been for some considerable time known as the father of the Senate.

Finally, Doug, wherever it is that you may be on 17 February if you are not occupying the presidential chair here and wherever you may go thereafter I want on behalf of the Labor Party to wish you and Lorna a long and contented life. I believe also that you will have a useful life in the future as you have in the past. I express our appreciation for that almost quarter of a century, almost half of your lifetime, that you have spent in the service of the Parliament and of the Australian Labor Party.