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Tuesday, 17 November 1959

Mr MENZIES - I regret to say that the honorable member has it all muddled up. I did have discussions with Her Majesty the

Queen when I was in London. We passed in review a number of qualifications and some possible names. I agreed with her that when she had returned from Canada I would conduct correspondence with her on the matter, since we already understood what each of us had in mind as the qualifications for this post. Subsequent to her return from Canada I wrote to Her Majesty, after considerable reflection on this matter, and proposed a few names in their order of preference from my point of view. The No. 1 person was the Right Honorable W. S. Morrison who, as I had then learned, was proposing to retire from the office of Speaker of the House of Commons. It is not my practice - and I hope it would not be anybody else's - to go around asking people whether they would be willing to have their names considered. Her Majesty expressed her warm approval of my nomination. I then, for the first time, through the High Commissioner, communicated with Mr. Morrison, asking him whether he would be agreeable to my formally nominating him for the post. It sounds like a shotgun affair when the honorable member says that Mr. Morrison was given 24 hours to make up his mind. On the contrary, he very properly said what I would have said in his place - that it was a matter that he would like to discuss with his wife. That, I think, was very sound. Having discussed it with his wife he then communicated with the High Commissioner who then advised me that Mr. Morrison was willing to accept. I then nominated him to the Queen, indicating that he was willing to accept the nomination. The Queen then announced the appointment.

Mr Ward - Did he not ask what the salary would be?

Mr MENZIES - He did not ask me anything. I had no personal communication with him.

Mr Curtin - How did you dig him up in the first place?

Mr MENZIES - I had no personal communication with the Governor-General designate on this matter at all. I would like to add, since some crude remarks are being made, that the Leader of the Opposition and I both agree on this point: We have said, in this House, that he is a very distinguished man and a man who will add some honour to this post.

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