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Thursday, 11 May 1939

Mr BLAIN (Northern Territory) . - I am amazed and disappointed at the trend that this debate has taken. I believe that our late Prime Minister died richer than any honorable member can ever hope to be - I speak metaphorically, not of material possessions. We might write as his epitaph that to be remembered is notto die but to leave this life with a credit balance, and to pass over the Great Divide wonderfully solvent. Because the late Prime Minister was so endowed, I am amazed and disappointed at the course of this debate. I feel impelled to make reference to several remarks made by honorable members. The honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn) suggested that there was an obligation upon this House to give proof of certain things to the public. I submit that we have nothing to prove to the public. It is the duty of the public to be politically-minded and to learn what is being done in this Parliament. I am confident that the electors of the Northern Territory are politically-minded; if the electors of other constituencies are not, it is not the duty of the Parliament to educate them. The honorable member for. Melbourne Ports (Mr. Holloway) suggested that, because of ill-health or other reasons, the late Prime Minister could not have continued long in office, and that had he died while a private member this measure would have been different. Had the late Mr. Lyons been able to penetratethe veil separating the present from the future, I am confident that he would have preferred to vacate his post and to receive the meagre allowance paid to private members rather than die in the knowledge that a debate such as the present one would take place. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked how could he logically justify his support of this measure before the electors of his constituency. I ask, how could he do anything but support it? Citizens of this grand country should be proud to know that they had a Prime Minister who, although he had every chance in his high office to accumulate wealth, placed service to his country before self-aggrandizement and riches. Unlike the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, I feel sure that every one of my electors will agree with this proposal. Those who do not would prove unworthy of such service as was rendered on their behalf, and on behalf of Australia as a whole, by the late Prime Minister.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma.

Progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee(Consideration of Governor-General's message) :

Motion (by Mr. Spender) agreed to.

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to provide for the payment of annuities to the widow and children of the late theRight Honorable Joseph Aloysius Lyons.

Resolution reported and - by leave - adopted.

In committee(Consideration resumed) :

Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.

Clause 3-

There shall be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, to the widow of the late the Right Honorable Joseph Aloysius Lyons an annuity at the rate of Five hundred pounds per annum.

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