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Wednesday, 31 May 1972
Page: 2421


Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - The compliment which has been paid to me by the Acting Leader of the Government (Senator Drake-Brockman) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) is most unexpected and I appreciate it very much indeed. The hour is too late for me to start reminiscing; also, I feel too young to reminisce yet. One of these days - in the next 25 years or so - I may start writing down a few of the experiences

I have had inside and outside of this Senate, tracing back events over the period. It is 24 years and 11 months since I first took my seat here in the Senate. It is 25 years and 8 months since I was elected to the Senate. I had that long wait between the election and taking my seat. In that time I have seen a flow of very interesting characters in the chair, amongst the most interesting of whom would be your good self, Mr President. I also have seen some very distinguished people occupying the position of Clerk of the Senate. Mr Odges has been a very worthy successor to Mr Edwards and Mr Loot over those 25 years. The same can be said about leaders of the Government in the Senate. We have seen many more leaders of the Government in the Senate than leaders of the Opposition in the Senate, but this means that we in the Opposition have been keeping the pressure on the Government, making those changes necessary.

This was a most unusual gesture to be made and I look upon it as a very great compliment. I hope that I will remain here with honourable senators, electors willing and God helping a bit also, and be able to complete the cycle which started when I came here as the youngest sitting senator.


Senator Poyser - You still are.


Senator O'BYRNE - I do not want to become the oldest but it is very gratifying to have had good health, and good company and the wonderful experience of seeing the Senate revitalised the way it has been to reach its proper status as an effective, purposeful and worthwhile chamber. It has regained what it should never have lost in the competition between this House and the House of Representatives. I have always felt that the House of Representatives was junior on the lists of seniority and priority. Now that the Senate has established itself again it should never let its position go. I thank honourable senators very much indeed for the compliment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.







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