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Thursday, 2 August 1934
Thursday, 2 August 1934

Mr.Speaker (Hon. G. H. Mackay) tookthe chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.


Mr. LYONS(Wilmot- Prime Minister and Treasurer) [3 p.m.]. - by leave - It is with very great regret that I inform honorable members of the death, early this morning, of Mr. David Charles McGrath, the representative in this House of the division of Ballarat.

The late honorable gentleman was a member of the Parliament of the State of Victoria continuously from 1904 until 1913, when he was elected to this House as the representative of the division of Ballarat, which he continued to represent up to the time of his death, except for a short period in 1919-20. From January, 1926, until September, 1929, he was a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Public Works, and from November, 1929, until November, 1931, was Chairman of Committees of this House.

The late Mr. McGrath enlisted for active service in the great war, and for two years was a member of the Australian Imperial Force, from which he was discharged on the ground that he was medically unfit for further military service.

During the exceptionally long period of 30 years, the deceased rendered meritorious public service as a member of Parliament. Asall honorable members are aware, he advocated strenuously and earnestly the principles he espoused, and discharged faithfully and ably the duties that devolved upon him. 1. had the privilege of close association with him from the time that I entered this House, and can personally testify to his strong desire and hit earnest endeavour to promote what he believed to bethe best interests of hisfellowmon. I feel his loss very keenly. The critical times through which we have passed and are passing of necessity have givenrise to conflicting views. Many honorable members may disagree with the views which the late honorable member expressed within recent years, but none,I am sure, will differ fromme when I say that ho held those views honestly, and thai he stood up to his principles courageously. Now that the hand of death has beenlaid upon him I feel that wo are united in desiring to express the deepest regret at the loss sustained not only by the district that he represented and the Commonwealth as a whole, but particularly by his widow and family. I have the feeling that the death of our late colleague and friend was hastened by the additional responsibilities which fell upon him, in common with all other public men, in the crisis through which we have been passing. His death is but a further illustration of the strain that is imposed upon those who are engaged in the public life of Australia. The passing of one who was among us so recently, particularly on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament itself, is sincerely to be deplored. I, therefore, move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the dentil of David Charles McGrath, member for Ballaarat in the House of Representatives,places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to his widow and the membersof his family in their bereavement.

Mr.SCULLIN (Yarra) [3.5].- On behalf of the Opposition,I second the motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), expressing regret at the death of the honorable member for Bal larat, who within the last few years suffered very greatly in health, yet remained at his post until he wasno longer able to do so.

It is just 30 years and one mouth since I first stoodon a public platform to support the candidature of the late Mr. McGrath. He was one of the most vigorous fighters withwhom I have ever come into contact. During at least 25 or 26 years of his public life, and of my public and semi-public life, we fought many sterling battles together. Immediately he entered the Parliament of Victoria us representative of the country district ofGrenville, with the characteristically breezy vigor with which he had been endowed be attacked strenuously what was then regarded on the gold-fields of Ballarat and district as the evil of leasehold monopolies, which allowed exorbitant royalties to be charged those who prospected for gold, and he continued that fight until eventually reforms were conceded. I join with the Prime Minister and other honorable members in conveying to his widow and family our deepest sympathy in their bereavement.

Mr.GREGORY (Swan)[3.7].- In the absence of my leader (Dr. Earle Page), I express onbehalf of the Country party the deepest regret at the death of our old friend and fellow member, Mr. McGrath. During his long career in the publiclife of this country he was in the vanguard of those who advocated the cause ofthe poor and the oppressed, many of whom will learn of his death with feelings of intense sorrow. That he should have been able to hold for so lengthy a period such a difficult seat to win as that of Bailarat illustrates the high degree of respect that he won from its citizens, a respect equalled by that in which he was held bythemembers of this Parliament. The members of the Country party deeply deplore his passing, and desire to express their sympathy and condolence with his widow and family.

Mr. BEASLEY(West Sydney) [3.8]. - My colleagues and I join with the Prime Minister and other honorable members in expressing regret at the death of the late honorable member for Ballarat, and sympathy with his widow and family. I was closely associated with the late honorable gentleman in this Parliament since 1923, and appreciate to the full the strength of the fight that he waged in support of the views that he held during that period. It is true, as the Prime Minister has said, that some of us strongly disagreed with the attitude that he adopted within recent years. We realize, however, that such situations do arise, and now that he has gone to the great beyond we extend our sympathy to his sorrowing widow and family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

Motion (by Mr. Lyons) - by leave - agreed to -

That Mr. Speaker be requested to transmit to the widow of the late Mr. McGrath the foregoing resolution, and a copy of the speeches delivered thereon.

Mr. Lyons.- As a mark of respect to the memory of the late honorable gentleman, I suggest that the sitting be suspended until 4.15 p.m.

Sitting suspended from 3.10 to4.15 p.m.

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