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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4500

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (12:39 PM) - I too would like briefly to convey my very warm and sincere best wishes to Mr and Mrs Turner on this occasion. 1 owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Turner for many courtesies and for the many occasions on which he has been helpful to me, but most of all, for his discretion and confidence. As other honourable members have observed, he has given long and loyal service and, more particularly, he has left his mark here because as Clerk of the House he has given a particular style of service. It is difficult to define,, to explain or discuss. But, nevertheless, it is obvious to all of us who have watched him- in the Chair.

I have been a member of this Parliament for 10 years now, and the time seems to go very fast. 1 note that Mr Turner has been here for nearly half a century. But 1 recollect that in the first week I was here I was invited round to his office with quite a number of new members to share a convivial drink. In those days 1 was rather insufferable with my political prejudices and probably I was becoming somewhat intolerable to him in explaining and trying to impress upon him how heaven resided on this side of the chamber alone and how all biases, unfairness and so on existed on the other side of the chamber, especially on the part of a certain burly member named Menzies who was around here in those days. Rather discreetly - and I have always appreciated this because it helped to give me some balance - Mr Turner retold to me a story about Ben Chifley who, of course, is quite revered in my Party. He told me of an occasion when Ben Chifley was having difficulty at a Premiers Conference. The 6 Premiers were disagreeing strongly with him. Ben Chifley said: 'All right. We will put it to the vote'. After the vote had been counted, Ben Chifley said: 'Six ayes and one no - the noes have it'. That was a small lesson to me.

T often sit in this House and wonder what goes through the mind of the Clerk of the House. This thought has occurred to other people. That member of whom 1 spoke earlier, who has now quite an illustrious position of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, once wrote this poem about the role of the Clerk of the House:

Two wise old owls sat on the table;

Their wigs were grey; (heir gowns were sable;

They looked so sad, so melancholy,

As if depressed by the human folly. Around them, carelessly displayed, Were all their dreadful tools of trade The standing orders, votes, and motions, The statutes, May, and such like notions.

It all sounds very dreadful and makes these people look as though they are men of extreme dedication in the face of what must be great trials and tribulations and not a little bit of distress. Frank Green, as Clerk of the House, put the position nicely in perspective when he wrote in retort:

If we look glum and vacant stare, When wigged and seated 'neath the Chair, Please do not think 'tis Nature's way. It's rather service for our pay. For if some thoughts we darc repeat, We'd find ourselves out in the street. 1 think that that is an eminently practical expression of feeling. I extend to Mr and Mrs Turner every good wish in their retirement.

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