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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4495

Mr SPEAKER - Honourable members will be aware that Mr Alan Turner, the Clerk of the House, will retire today and that this is the last sitting of the House at which he will be officiating at the table. Mr Turner's retirement will bring to a close a notable and lengthy career associated with the working of the Commonwealth Parliament and particularly with this House. Mr Turner joined the staff of the House as a young man in Melbourne in 1924 and early in his career was Speaker's Secretary, having served Speakers Watt, Groom and Makin in that capacity. Apart from a period of secondment to the Department of Supply and Shipping between 1942 and 1945 during the War years. Mr Turner has served the House continuously over a period of 47 years. He has been a Chamber officer since 1946, having been Serjeant-at-Arms and Clerk of Committees from 1946 to 1949, Second Clerk Assistant from 1949 to 1955, Clerk Assistant from 1955 to 1958, and Clerk of the House from 1st January 1959. His Clerkship has been a notable one. Features of it were the major revision of the Standing Orders of the House which was undertaken between 1960 and 1963 and the re-organization of the staff of the House of Representatives to meet the greatly expanded and developing requirements of the House. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in 1965.

As Clerk of the House, Mr Turner has on 3 occasions accompanied Speakers of the House lo conferences of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth of Nations, and has also accompanied me to, and participated in, each of the 4 conferences of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Australasian/ Pacific Area. Honourable members would wish me to refer to the extra-parliamentary services which Mr Turner has rendered to this Parliament. In 1958 he was the Secretary of the Australian delegation which attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference held in Rio de Janeiro. From 1958 to 1971 he has been the Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and in that capacity has served the Branch with great dedication and has achieved much in furthering Australia's interests and reputation in the affairs of that Association. As Secretary of the Commonwealth Branch delegation he has attended many Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conferences. As Branch Secretary he played a major role in the organisation of the highly successful conferences which were held in Australia in 1959 and 1970. Also as Secretary of the Commonwealth Branch delegation he has attended Australian Area Conferences of the Association which are held every second year.

No tribute to Mr Turner's services would be complete without reference to the wonderful support he has received from his wife, Mrs Turner. Mrs Turner, herself the daughter of a former member of this House, Mr G. A. Maxwell, K.C., has on many occasions over the years spared no effort in graciously receiving and entertaining visiting parliamentarians and Clerks and their wives and for so doing deserves our very warm and grateful appreciation. Mr Turner has served this House and this Parliament with great distinction. A great many members over a very lengthy period will recall with gratitude his courteous help and assistance, not only as Clerk of the House, but also as honorary secretary of the Commonwealth Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. May I as Speaker say that I have greatly appreciated working with Mr Turner, that I have always respected his wise judgment and experienced counsel, and I thank him very sincerely for the ready assistance and support which he has always given me and all members of this House. In saying our official farewell to Alan Turner after a lifetime of service to this House, I assure him that he leaves with our sincere respect and gratitude and we wish him and Mrs Turner health and happiness for the future.

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