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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2352

Senator HARRADINE (1.18 a.m.) —Time is marching on, so I will be very brief. Much has been said tonight about Senator Richardson. The statement has been made that he has a powerful intellect and that he has been one of the best political operators. But there is something that has not been said about him, and I think I should say it now. He has got the best ears of anybody in this whole chamber. I do not know anybody in this chamber who can pick up interjections as he does. He answers them rapidly. I have noticed over a period of years how he does that. In this place the interjections are not recorded in Hansard unless the speaker picks them up. It would be very interesting to study Hansard or perhaps for somebody to do a PhD thesis on Richo's interjections.

  I was very interested to hear what he said about the old parliament. It was a smaller parliament then. After all, there were only 10 senators from each of the states when Senator Richardson came in. What I have not heard anybody say—and I think it should be said—is that Senator Richardson is a good parliamentarian. I mean that. It is evident in the answers he gives to questions asked by the Democrats, the Greens and me.

  We do have a period of questions without notice. Obviously, we all think very often it is a period of questions without answers. That is not the case so far as Senator Richardson is concerned. He has been across all of the portfolios that he has had and he has been able to give answers. He addresses the terms of the questions that are raised with him. I think that is something for which he should be commended.

  I take to heart what he said about a number of things tonight, including that question of the responsibilities of this chamber. I think it was an important thing for him to say, and I think we should have regard to what he said about that matter. I also happen to believe that the government in general should have regard to what has been said by him tonight on that question.

  I agree with what he said about the pointlessness of the `get even' mentality. As a matter of fact, I jettisoned that sort of mentality some years ago. I am glad that I did; I feel much freer, as a matter of fact.

  He made a point about Colin Colborne being underestimated—I think that is true, too. When the history of Labor is written, perhaps he will get a better press. Of course, he was Secretary-General of the PKIU.

  Finally, I would just like to wish Graham Richardson and his wife and family all the best, and wish him all the best in what he is going to do. I hope he has a good breakfast in a few hours with Bill Hayden. I do not know whether they are going to compare manuscripts, but it will be interesting to compare both books when they do come out; and I will certainly be one that will be getting hold of them. I wish you all the best.