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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 39


Senator PARER —Mr President, I would like to congratulate you on your elevation to this high office. I point out that in my only parliamentary trip in this parliament, you and I, led by Dr Klugman, went to the Philippines and Korea. It was intended, at the time, to go to Japan, but at that stage the Emperor was dying and there was some confusion about that and so we missed going to Japan. But I am sure you, Mr President, and I would certainly remember our trip to Korea and to the Philippines and that Dr Klugman did not like travelling by aeroplane. As deputy leader of that delegation, I ended up having to lead the delegation in northern Samar and Davao. We travelled in a clapped out old aeroplane and you might recall that we had to go up and stand beside the pilot so that he could leave the airstrip at Manila. Subsequently, we found our way through a rainstorm into northern Samar. When we left northern Samar, I think there was one metre left at the end of the runway before we took off in the plane. Landing back in Manila during a tropical cyclone added to the joy of the trip!

  Mr President, you might also recall that we intended to charter an aircraft to travel to the naval and air force base, but Dr Klugman insisted on driving. The plane we intended to charter in fact crashed. So it was an interesting experience and an opportunity for us to personally get to know one another. The openness with which you addressed yourself there and the bipartisan way in which we all conducted ourselves was a lesson to all delegations.

  Mr President, you follow in the footsteps of two other presidents whom I have served with in this place—Senator Douglas McClelland and Senator Sibraa. They have given a great lead by way of fairness and justice to all concerned on all sides of the chamber. They have set a precedent which I am sure you will follow. I think their example explains the relatively better behaviour of this chamber compared with the other place. I wish Senator Sibraa well in his new diplomatic career.

  I would like to talk about Brian Archer. It was typical of Brian that he elected to leave this place without any fanfare. Brian retires from the Senate after years of service to Tasmania and to the people of Australia. He has had a very distinguished parliamentary career which has been recorded by my colleagues on both sides in this place.

  When I first became a senator, the Senate in the old Parliament House was a little different from what it is today. At that stage the person who was put beside me—now the Leader of the Liberal Party in the Senate, Senator Hill—was doing a lot of overseas travel. I well recall that at that time he had a passion for plant variety rights, which I had never heard of. He was most disturbed that I did not have the same passion to leap to my feet to speak about it. However, those days were very different from what happens today. Little assistance was given to newcomers, who were expected to learn by experience. As Senator Patterson indicated, Brian went out of his way to give freely of his knowledge and guidance.

  We have heard about Brian's interest in fishing, but science was one of his most compelling interests. He had an abiding enthusiasm for science and scientists. He believed that scientists in Australia were neglected compared with those in other countries, and that this was to the long-term detriment of Australia. His interest was in both pure and applied science. He was a great proponent of increased expenditure on research in both the private and public sectors.

  I recall that on one occasion Brian was agitating for an increase of a few hundred thousand dollars in a particular area of interest. He would badger anyone who had his particular interests, and I was one of those people. I unearthed an article from a magazine which highlighted projected expenditure for research of some billions of dollars—billions, not millions, of dollars—in Korea. I sent him a copy of the article with a note attached saying, `Brian, I think you should just put up the white flag now'. He was delighted as it highlighted his very worthy cause.

  Another one of Brian's compelling interests—this was mentioned by Senator Hill—is Taiwan. Through its representatives in Australia, he encouraged parliamentarians—of which I was one—to visit Taiwan. As a result of his efforts, many have. As was indicated, I think by Senator Hill, there is no doubt that Senator Archer's lobbying helped diminish his perception of what he felt was unfair treatment of a country with which we had so much trade. A development of great satisfaction to Brian which occurred not too long before he retired was the introduction of direct flights between Taipei and Australia.

  Finally, Brian is a person of great principle who admired greatly those he perceived as having integrity and honesty. He was absolutely unforgiving of those he believed had acted in any way dishonourably. Knowing this, I might say that I was honoured that Brian saw fit to let me know in advance of his intention to resign.

  Brian leaves the Senate with many friends on both sides of politics. He will be missed not only by his colleagues but particularly by members of the science fraternity who knew that Brian's door was always open to them. I would like to thank Brian for his friendship to me personally. I am sure that he and Dorothy will make the best of his retirement from the Senate, and that he will continue to pursue his interests with vigour.