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Tuesday, 27 February 1973
Page: 8

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs) - Mr Speaker, it gives me the greatest pleasure that my first remarks in this House in my office are to congratulate you on your office. There can be few men who have served in this House who would be more entitled to hold the post to which we have elected you unanimously and who would be regarded more highly as a friend as well as a member. The only qualification I have in congratulating you is that we all have deprived ourselves of a sure source of delight and refreshment in our deliberations. For many years, Mr Speaker, you have been the most skilful, precise and pointed interjector in the House. You have been the great deflator. In no respect have you shown your impartiality more conspicuously than in casting your darts on both sides against those who needed to be deflated. By the rules of the House, which you must now apply, all interjections are out of order.

Your distinguished predecessors, during your period as a member, had the good sense to place the higher principle above the lesser; they realised that in maintaining true order the member who could reduce the temperature and restore our good temper was a valuable ally. You, Sir, as the honourable member for Sydney, were such an ally for Sir William Aston and Sir John McLeay. They recognised you as a true friend in their most serious moments in controlling the House. If we are fortunate to find a similar talent in the new House I have no doubt that he will show and you will tolerate the same flexibility. 1 suppose that we on this side of the House can still expect to have you attend our other deliberations. In the unlikely event that tempers ran high there you would still be able to use your immense talent for restoring harmony and al' owing our deliberations to proceed. The deliberations of the House will unquestionably proceed with good spirit and good humour while you hold this high office to which we have unanimously elected you and upon which we all, I am certain, heartily congratulate you.

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