Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1107

Senator WHEELDON (Western AustraliaMinister for Repatriation and Compensation) (Minister for Repatriation and Compensation) - I feel constrained to add a few words with respect to the motion of condolence which has been moved in regard to the death of Mr Kirk. With the Minister for the Media I happened to be in New Zealand at the time Mr Kirk died. It came as a very severe shock the day after I arrived in New Zealand to learn of his death. I had known him personally- although I cannot say well- for some years after he became Leader of the Opposition. I do not think that anybody could fail to have a great admiration for a man who grew from origins of rural poverty in the South Island of New Zealand not only to be Prime Minister of his country but also to be an international figure. As Prime Minister of New Zealand he played an important part in international affairs as has been mentioned. He took immediate and decisive action upon becoming Prime Minister to end New Zealand 's involvement in the Vietnam war. He played a prominent part in opposition to French nuclear tests. On what could possibly be regarded as the more constructive side he did everything he could to build co-operation among the countries of the South Pacific in which he had a particular interest and with which he had a strong association.

With the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Media I was present at the funeral service in St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Wellington for the late Mr Kirk. I think I can truthfully say that I have never seen so many people publicly show so much obvious grief as was shown at this service, particularly by the Maori people. In many respects Norman Kirk can be regarded as a man who was a model social democrat, a man who stood for parliamentary democracy, for orderly processes of law at the same time coupled with the alleviation of the conditions of the people of his country and of other countries with which his country came into association, not by warlike, aggressive or belligerent actions but by cooperation and by entering into a peaceful social contract. His death is a loss to a fraternal party, the New Zealand Labor Party. His death is a loss to New Zealand and I believe, a loss to the cause of world peace.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable senators standing in their places.

Suggest corrections