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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1105

Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) - Mr President,I wish to associate the Opposition with the remarks of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. All Australians regret the tragedy that has befallen the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, and his family. Lady Kerr's death is a crippling blow occurring so shortly after Sir John Kerr accepted the highest office that can be bestowed upon an individual. Having reached the pinnacle of a distinguished public career, Sir John will not be able to enjoy the support, encouragement and company that any married man needs.

Lady Kerr's death is all the mere tragic because Australia has lost a woman with fine personal qualities who gave dedicated community service over a long period. It is a loss that will be felt widely among community organisations with whom she worked, such as the Marriage Guidance Council of New South Wales.

As the Leader of the Government in the Senate has said, Lady Kerr, a trained social worker, was committed to the need to provide counselling and support to married couples facing stress. During the war years, she worked with the Family Welfare Branch and the AIF Women's Association. Later she was a counsellor and an executive member of the Marriage Guidance Council. In addition, Lady Kerr was a volunteer counsellor with the Life Line organisation and served on its adoption committee.

Lady Kerr continued to give this service to the community despite personal hardships that afflicted her. Her courage in overcoming these hardships was the finest example any person could have given of an individual's selfdetermination to make a positive contribution despite personal needs to the service of the community and the nation. Her life exemplified a spirit of thought for others before herself.

All Australians will recognise the difficulties Sir John now must inevitably face and the sorrow her loss must cause him. All Australians will extend personal sympathy to him and his family. The task ahead of Sir John will not be easy but in facing it he can know that he has the full support of bis fellow Australians. On behalf of the Opposition, I extend our sympathy to Sir John and his family.

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