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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3087

Mr KING (Wimmera) -I thank the honourable members who have made reference to my service in this place over recent years. Some 19 years ago I stood in this place a very nervous but proud man to make my maiden speech as a representative of the well known seat of Wimmera in Victoria. Today with only a few minutes at my disposal I think I can say that this a rather sad occasion as it is my final address to this chamber- not because I want to leave this place; not because I want to leave my constituents; not because my constituents want me to leave. The reason is a decision of the Parliament to redistribute the boundaries of the Australian electorates, and I do not dispute this. It hurts me because of the fact that I am losing direct contact with my constituents. The result is that for the first time since 1 90 1 there will be no seat of Wimmera. Nineteen years ago I spoke proudly of the importance of that well known area in western Victoria. Today I wish to say just a few words about other issues.

First and foremost I want to say with all the sincerity I possess how much I have appreciated the great support and the confidence of the people in the electorate of Wimmera in selecting me as their representative for a period of 19 years less 12 days. I am very proud of the fact that I am the longest serving member for that area since 1901. 1 also am very proud of another issue. Without boasting may I say that the worst vote I ever received was on my first election, my best vote percentagewise ever recorded was on my last election. There is only one consolation, that is, that I am handing over my seat to four very capable members-my colleague and very close friend, Peter Fisher, John Bourchier, Jim Short and no less a man than the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser). I know that they all are the types of representatives who are acceptable and that unless further redistributions affect thennew electorates I would expect all four to remain in this place until they wish to retire gracefully.

I take this opportunity to thank many members of this Parliament- I include members of all three parties; but naturally I make particular reference to the members of my own party, including its leader, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony)- for their great assistance and cooperation over the years. I have made many friends in this place. I only hope that from time to time I can come back and renew old acquaintances. I thank all the officers and staff for their great assistance, as without it life in this place certainly would be much more difficult. I make special reference to one man who I believe stands out in particular, and that is Mr Gordon Pike. To use an old Australian cliche, he is a real white man. Nothing is too difficult for him. He is always pleasant, obliging and most efficient. I am sure that when that man retires he will be missed greatly.

I pay a tribute to the many members of the various departments who have been very cooperative over the years. I refer particularly to officers in the Australian Postal Commission, the Australian Telecommunications Commission, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Social Security. I do not exclude my own personal staff over these 19 years. I have always received the highest co-operation possible from them which, I believe, helps to create great harmony between officers, members and the public. I thank you, Mr Speaker, and aU your predecessors and your supporting colleagues for the continued tolerance of me and no doubt of other members of this place.

I regret one thing as a result of leaving this place, one might say, a year early. I refer to the numerous issues that were commenced but not finalised because of lack of time. I do not wish to spell them out at this late hour, but one particular case stands out in my mind. It is an immigration case that should have been finalised long before this. It has been running for 3V4 years. I refer to the case known as the Chui Kwok Chui case. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr MacKellar) knows the story. I hope that he can clear up this matter in the very near future. It is an instance which involves no fault of Australian officers. It relates to a lack of co-operation, I believe, in the country in which this gentleman resides. I wish the Prime Minister every success in the forthcoming weeks. I am sure that, if the people judge him on his performance, his pohcies and his desire to return Australia to where it was on the world standards of a few years ago, he will be returned on 10 December in a resounding victory.

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