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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4514

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) (Minister for Trade and Industry) (1:50 AM) - I would like to join with the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in making a few seasonal remarks. It has not been a dull year. There has been sufficient activity in the Parliament to allow our feature writers to fill more than a few columns with news. I am not sure which side of the House has provided the more arresting news, but this side has certainly provided quite a bit. One of the most unusual features of the year - it was an experience I had never had before nor had any present member of this Parliament - was the counting out of the Parliament. Nobody would think it was funny. In fact most of us feel a little ashamed that it happened. I hope we never see it again, but it was an unusual feature of the year.

I would like to say to you, Mr Speaker, how much I. appreciate the way in which you have carried out your most onerous job. You have performed it in a very effective way and with a great deal of dignity. I pay a similar tribute to the people who support you, particularly my colleague the Chairman of Committees (Mr Lucock). I am very proud of the way he fills that office. I think he does an excellent job and has great command when he is in the chair. He has had to take control of this House on many occasions when you have been away, Sir, either overseas or through ill health. On those occasions he has certainly done an excellent job.

Many people provide the services in the Parliament. I would not like to run through them all because I might fail to mention one or two of them. I have in mind all the people who work behind the Clerks of the House; the staff of Hansard and the Library staff; the attendants and the door staff. I have not had an opportunity before to mention Gordon Pike. He is an exceptional person. I have no doubt that he has been mentioned on previous occasions but I wish to mention him now because I remember very clearly how important he was when I was a private member, in getting me to Canberra and away again. He is a man who never complains, no matter what is asked of him.

I wish to mention another person. I do not know whether it is appropriate on this occasion, but he was associated with this Parliament for a very long time in connection with the Cabinet Secretariat. I refer to the late Les McSpeerin who died during the week. Les McSpeerin was in the Office of the Cabinet for a period of 21 years. He retired a fortnight ago and died a week after retiring. He was a most courteous and attentive man. Anybody who was associated with him will feel very sad at his passing and because he was robbed of the opportunity of a happy retirement.

I would also like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for mentioning the wives of members of Parliament. It is terribly important that they are never forgotten because they do have a burden to carry as wives of members. I wish all members of this Parliament a happy Christmas. I hope that they get some relief from the pressures under which they live. The outside world does not really appreciate the amount of time taken by a member of Parliament in serving his electorate, his constituents, his party and the Parliament. I hope that all get a chance to relax. I wish you all well for 1972.

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