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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1106

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) - Mr President,it is with deep regret that I inform the Senate of the death on 3 1 August this year of the Right Honourable Norman Kirk, Prime Minister of New Zealand. Norman Kirk became Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1972, just a week before this Government took office in Australia. He was a man who won the affection not only of his people in New Zealand but of all those who knew him. He was truly a self-made man. He was born in Waimate near Christchurch in the South Island in 1923. He left primary school in Christchurch at the age of twelve. He joined the Labour Party in New Zealand in 1943 and entered Parliament in 1957 representing the seat of Lyttelton which he retained in 1960 and 1963 with increased majorities. In 1965 he was elected Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party- the youngest in the Party's history and the first to hold the office of Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party and President of the Labour Party at the same time. He was re-elected to both of these positions in 1968. He led the Labour Party to victory in 1972, and became Prime Minister at the age of forty-nine.

Even though Norman Kirk was Prime Minister for less than 2 years he left his own special imprint on New Zealand and in specific areas set its course for the future. As the Minister for

Foreign Affairs he involved New Zealand more deeply in the affairs of the region, especially in Asia and the South Pacific. He was an advocate of Pacific economic and political alliance and called vigorously for world peace and unity. He was Australia's staunchest ally in opposition to the nuclear testing that was being carried out in the South Pacific. New Zealand joined with Australia in taking action before the highest legal body in the world, the International Court of Justice, to seek an order halting further atmospheric tests. To show that his concern with the South Pacific was not in principle only, Norman Kirk increased aid to the South Pacific countries from 40 per cent to 55 per cent of the New Zealand aid budget. In domestic politics, he sought to improve the welfare state. His Government introduced national compensation and superannuation schemes and worked towards establishing the principle of equal pay for equal work as a practical reality. He was a man of great compassion and sought to achieve things by deliberation rather than by precipitation. We in Australia will deeply regret his passing. Even taking into account the special relationship that exists between Australia and New Zealand, the sense of understanding and trust achieved between Australia and New Zealand during the time he was Prime Minister reached new heights. We extend our sympathy to his wife and family, to the New Zealand Government and to the New Zealand people. We have all lost a firm friend. I move:

That the Senate records its sincere regret at the death on 31 August 1974 of the Right Honourable Norman Kirk, Prime Minister of New Zealand from December 1972, and expresses to the people of New Zealand profound regret and to his family tender sympathy in their bereavement.

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