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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 40

Senator JESSOP —by leave-A lot has been said about Peter Rae. I was particularly interested in what Senator Chipp said about the establishment of friendships in this place. I think that Senator Chipp and Senator Grimes demonstrated that Peter Rae has been able to bridge the gulf between the various parties and has established those friendships in a very real sense. I think Peter Rae came into the Senate in 1968, two years after I went into the House of Representatives, and since that time we have been extremely close friends. I have shared accommodation with him for 12 or 14 years and during that time I have become very conscious of the work load that he has taken upon himself in the interests of the Liberal Party of Australia in the formulation of policies and also with respect to the work of the Senate. Senator Rae, as he was then, has become regarded by the staff and by all senators in all parties as a Senate man who has always defended the role of the Senate, both as a House of review and as a State's house.

Senator Chipp suggested that Peter Rae received some setbacks during his career and it is quite true. He always accepted those setbacks loyally, with his chin out, and always went about his work with renewed vigor in order to promote the interests of the Liberal Party. I think that is an example which many of us in this Parliament could emulate. He attracted remarkable support in the recent State election-I believe something of the order of 22 per cent-second only to the Premier, Robin Gray. That is an indication of the personal following of Peter Rae and the respect with which he is held in Tasmania.

Senator Chipp —Do you think he would make a good Premier?

Senator JESSOP —I believe that whatever he embarks upon in his new career he will make an excellent job of it. He has always been a man of independent mind and perhaps that is one reason why he attracted such a tremendous vote in Tasmania. I have noted that Tasmanians happen to be fairly independently minded. They do pretty well at elections too. I think Senator Grimes referred to the different view Peter Rae took on the dams issue. That just demonstrates how on this side of the chamber one can responsibly and objectively take a different point of view when, in one's opinion, that view is in the best interests of the State represented. I believe that his interests in resource development, tourism development, economics, legal matters and the abundant knowledge that he takes from the Senate to Tasmania will be of tremendous benefit to that State. There is no doubt in my mind that the Senate's loss is Tasmania's gain.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I would like to join briefly in welcoming our colleague Senator Coleman back to the Senate after her illness. I took the liberty of writing to her yesterday afternoon expressing a welcome to her on behalf of all honourable senators. I also endorse the remarks that have been made from all political quarters in the chamber concerning our erstwhile colleague Senator Peter Rae. As a result of a long association with me in this Parliament, not only as members of the Senate but also as members of a number of Senate committees, particularly the Senate Appropriations and Staffing Committee, and having had the pleasure of attending an Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in Bonn with him and his wife we became close personal friends. Not only has he served Tasmania well in this Parliament but he and his wife Tessa-I say this from my own knowledge-were great ambassadors abroad for Australia. I am sure that not only will he be sorely missed in this chamber but also he and his wife in their new role will continue to give great service to the people of Tasmania.