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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2102

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate) - I join with the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Withers) in associating the Australian Country Party with the motion of condolence and with the tributes that have been paid to John Dedman. Twenty-five years ago he was a most unpopular man by any judgment and in the eyes of the community. The reason for this was simply that as Minister for Post-war Reconstruction he was responsible for a number of decisions that were considered harsh and penny-pinching by people seeking to return to normal life and the customary pleasures after the austerity of war. That generation, with no small degree of bitterness, was quick to call John Dedman 'Mr Austerity'. It is unfortunate that a man who made many major and enduring contributions to Australia's advancement was remembered best for the less important decisions. The calibre and quality of the man have no identification with the undeserved nom-de-plume.

John Dedman 's frequent visits to Parliament House in recent years enabled many present-day senators and members of the House of Representatives to make his close acquaintance. It was an enriching experience. The tributes expressed yesterday in the House of Representatives and those expressed here today by the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition are among the most glowing and sincere that I have heard of any parliamentarian. They were spoken of the real John Dedman, and I believe that he deserved each one of them. In his 10 years in Parliament he held a number of senior ministerial portfolios with distinction, reflecting qualities of skill, determination and dedication linked with a tremendous capacity for hard work and study. I believe Australia can be proud of the memory not only of John Dedman the Government Minister but also of John Dedman the citizen and the man. I am pleased to associate my Party and myself with the motion of condolence, and I extend sympathy to Mrs Dedman and her family.

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