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Tuesday, 7 December 1993
Page: 4013

Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) —I would like to associate the members of the National Party in the Senate with the condolence motion moved by the government. Condon Byrne had a long and distinguished career in federal politics as a Queensland senator, firstly for the ALP and then later for the Democratic Labor Party. Condon Byrne was a man of great integrity who always put his personal beliefs and loyalties above party politics. He was a lifelong opponent of the tyranny of communism and a strong supporter of basic family values.

  Although born in Victoria, Condon Byrne was raised and educated in Brisbane and attended my alma mater, St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, before entering the University of Queensland to study law. He qualified as a barrister before joining the Queensland Public Service. He was employed as a private secretary to the former Queensland Premier, Vince Gair, when Gair was Minister for Mines, Labour and Industry and then Treasurer.

  In 1951 Condon Byrne's career in federal politics was launched with his election to the Senate as a Labor senator for Queensland. With the Labor split in 1957, he joined the breakaway Queensland Labor Party, following the lead of his mentor, the ousted Premier, Vince Gair.  He stood as a Queensland Labor Party candidate in 1958 but was defeated and left public life to practice law.

  In 1967 Condon Byrne was returned to the Senate as a Queensland senator for the Democratic Labor Party, which had formally affiliated with the Queensland Labor Party in 1962. He then joined his ex-boss, Vince Gair, who had been elected as a DLP senator two years earlier. With the election of Condon Byrne, the Democratic Labor Party became a four-strong Senate team that was able to command the balance of power in the Senate, which it held for seven years.

  During his parliamentary career Condon Byrne was a hard working committee member on several key committees including the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs; the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Science and the Arts; and the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Ownership and Control. He also served as Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts as well as the DLP Whip.

  In 1974 Condon Byrne retired from federal politics for good and returned to his Brisbane legal practice. Condon Byrne will be remembered for his integrity, loyalty and staunch personal convictions as well as for the many years of service that he devoted to the people of Queensland. I am sure that all honourable senators will join with me in extending our sympathy to Condon Byrne's family and many friends.