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Thursday, 16 November 1939

Mr McEWEN (Indi) - As the successor in this Parliament of the late Mr. Hill, who represented Echuca, I associate myself with the motion, and with the expressions of sympathy with Mrs. Hill and the members of her family.

I speak as a friend who knew Mr. Hill for a long time as a gentleman of the very highest integrity, commanding the respect of all people wherever he went. I know that those whom he had the honour to represent in this Parliament for many years will hear with the deepest regret of his passing. He took a leading part in transforming the ideal of a country political organization into an actuality. As the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has said, he was the first president of the Victorian Farmers Union, which was the first rural political party in Victoria, and he was afterwards the first president of the Australian farmers federal orgnization which was the first rural political party in Australia. He was an eminently practical and successful farmer, and that, with his high personal qualifications, made him an ideal representative of rural interests. No man was better fitted to speak on behalf of the rural industry, and particularly the wheat industry, than was Mr. Hill, by reason of his practical experience and his sterling work. He associated himself with every effort calculated to advance the interests of his country, and particularly of the rural population. His high record of achievement as a Minister of State in the Commonwealth Parliament requires no comment from me, but he extended his activity beyond the sphere of parliament and of politics to include the most practical affairs. He was the first chairman, and continued to be the chairman, of directors- of the Phosphate Co-operative Company which has played a tremendous part in making cheap phosphate fertilizers available to the farmers,' thus increasing the production of rural industries in Australia. His services as a member of the Victorian Wheat-growers Corporation will always be remembered by wheat-growers in Victoria. He was chairman of directors of the first and, I think, the only daily paper owned and conducted by a rural political party in Australia. In every sphere in which it was possible for him to exert his efforts and his abilities in the interests of the country people he took a prominent part. He has set a splendid example, and, if others are able to live up to it, they will not fall short in the discharge of their duty.

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

Motion (by Mr. Menzies) agreed to -

That Mr. Speaker be requested to transmit to Mrs. Hill the foregoing resolution, together with a copy of the speeches delivered thereon.

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