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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 36

Senator CHILDS —First of all, I congratulate you, Mr President, on your election to the presidency. I am sure that with your skills and background you will be a successful President.

  I rise to refer to two colleagues, the first being Senator Sibraa. I first worked with Senator Sibraa in 1971 and was a work mate of his for many years. I then joined him in the Senate from 1981 until now. I can honestly say that we have never exchanged a harsh word, even under often difficult circumstances when we have had to represent different points of view in a whole range of circumstances.

  The thing that characterises Kerry Sibraa is his complete professionalism in all his duties. He pays great attention to detail. In the days when we were assessing electoral results or whatever else was happening, we both approached problems carefully and in a rather conservative way. The other characteristic that Kerry Sibraa has brought into the parliament is that of looking after the little people in both the Labor Party and the cities and country towns of this country, and also in representing the people of New South Wales. Once again, it has been his attention to detail in looking after and representing people that has been very effective.

  I have been fortunate to go overseas with Senator Sibraa to Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conferences. It has already been said how well known and how well respected he was—indeed, he was synonymous with Australia for a long period at CPA meetings. I believe that all his life's work now prepares him for the next phase of his career, or even the next career that he is going to follow. I wish him well in that career. I think he is ideally suited, with all the experience that we have all described today, to be a successful ambassador for this country.

  I turn to a person of a similar type in Brian Archer, because Brian Archer has done something very similar for the Liberal Party. I first joined what was the current industry committee under a slightly different name, in 1981 when Brian Archer was its chair. Former senator Ruth Coleman was also a chair of that committee for a period, but we have had continuity on that committee. One of the characteristics that Brian Archer contributed to that committee was a very practical approach to all the problems that come before it. That rather sums up Brian Archer's character, which is to approach things with great dignity and skill.

  Recently we received a fishing report. I think Brian might have felt that, having disposed of a report in the last days of the last week of December, he might well now give away his need to represent the fishing industry. I cannot say that he will now eat fish because I do not think he has ever been able to eat fish.

  He has also been a representative of a whole range of other industries—the clothing industry, agriculture, sheep and horticulture—that have been referred to. I think he can well go into retirement realising that I, for one, and I know other people, have recognised the attention to detail and the skills that he has brought on behalf of the Liberal Party to the problems that he has faced. I wish him well in his retirement.