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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4511

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Prime Minister) 1.35 a.m.) - I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Mr Speaker,few will deny that this last year has been both turbulent and exciting. Few will deny that we have lived in times which have been changing constantly and which have been a challenge to the intelligence and ability of all members of the House. Few will deny that the members of this House have, in their own ways and according to their own fashions, made their contribution to parliamentary democracy. I think they all have to be credited with doing their best in the interests of this country and of the people of this country. We are indebted not only to the members of the House but also to the people inside and outside it who play an active part in the operations of the House for their patience, hard work and continued courtesy. First of all, I believe that our thanks should go to you, Mr Speaker, for the manner in which you have managed the affairs of the House. I believe it is true to say that you are respected, that you arc unfailingly courteous in your attitude to all members and that whenever we feel that it is necessary or desirable to come to you to seek your advice you are only too willing to give it. We always find that the advice you give us turns out to be right. Above all, I believe that every one of us can credit you with living up to the highest traditions of your office with both integrity and with dignity. Before I move oh to mention members of the House, may I mention how fortunate we are that Mr Norm Parkes will succeed the present Clerk of the House. Mr Parkes has had a lifetime of experience in the House and we hope that he will be a very worthy successor to the present Clerk and will serve just as long as he has and in just as pleasant

I now refer to the Chairman of Committees, a man well known and favourably regarded by all of us. He is always couteous, affable and, again, a person who is only too willing to give advice of the very best kind. If I can make one personal comment - I do not like making too many on an occasion such as this - on many of the occasions when I have felt that help was desirable, I found that instead of having to go to him, he was only too happy to come to me and I have been able to publish what he felt was not only in my interest but in the best interests of the Parliament as well. I say a word of appreciation loo for the assistance rendered by the Clerks Assistant and the officers of the House. I also want to refer to the large quantity of work that has been done. over the course of the last year. About 134 Bills have been passed by the House. Therefore, I think that a great degree of credit must be given for the very arduous work that has been done by the Leader of the House (Mr Swartz) and the Deputy Leader of the House (Mr Chipp), and for the work that has been done by their opposite numbers on the other side of the House. I think that we can reflect with some degree of satisfaction on the improved working of the legislative programme. It will be remembered that not so long ago we had a great deal of difficulty because of the pileup of Bills at the end of the session. I then advised the House that the Government had appointed a legislative programming committee of the Cabinet, headed by my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen). It had the task not only of sensible programming but also of preventing a banking up of work at the end of the session, with the consequent rush and all of the difficulties that this creates. I think, therefore, that we should congratulate the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the work that he has done and for the success that has been achieved, particularly in regard to the objectives of the Government.

In my first year as the Prime Minister I should like to thank especially my ministerial and parliamentary colleagues for their support and co-operation. Also I should like to record my appreciation for the way in which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) and their parliamentary colleagues have frequently discharged their obligations and helped to maintain an efficient and dignified working of the institution of Parliament.' I pay a tribute also to the Whips who are here to keep us in order and who also have made their contribution towards the efficient functioning of Parliament.

I now turn to those who are behind the scenes and to whom we are indebted. I refer to the Hansard writers, members of research services of the Parliamentary Library, the telephonists and the general office staffs as well as the attendants and amenities staff who put in such long hours when the House is sitting. 1 should also like to make special mention of members of the Press who in their own fashion contribute to the democratic processes of Parliament. We may not always agree with what they say or how they interpret our remarks, but I respect their right to do so. Finally, Sir, I wish you and all other members of the House, the staffs and those people who have given assistance in the running of the House, a very very happy Christmas and a succesful year. Above all, Sir, I say that honourable members on this side of the House who make up the Government will do all that we can to make certain that the Government is successful whenever an election might be held.

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