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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 46

Senator CALVERT —I congratulate you, Mr President, on your new position. It is a position that many aspire to but very few actually make it. As a temporary chairman of committees, I look forward to working with you, as I did with the former President, Kerry Sibraa. I also agree with all the remarks made today about Kerry. As a temporary chairman of committees, it was certainly a pleasure to work with him. When one works with somebody it is a lot easier to understand what that person is about than it is when one works against that person. I was very proud to work with the former President and, as one of the delegates to the IPU, I was also proud to hear the glowing terms that were used to describe Kerry and to be aware of the high regard in which he is held by people from other countries around the world.

  My former colleague Brian Roper Archer is a great and loyal Tasmanian who comes from that very well-known pioneering family in Tasmania; in fact, Brian's brother Dick Archer is a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council. So politics runs in the family, as does agriculture.

  It is obvious from what has been said here today by honourable senators from both sides that Brian's qualities are unquestionable. His hobbies and interests are many, but perhaps he is best known for his rural activities. I remember very well when I first came to this place advice that I was given by Brian—a lot of which I think I have taken. Around the traps in Tasmania, Brian was always a true friend to all of us. In particular, both he and his wife Dorothy would always make their house available if one were in the area. One always knew that there was a bed and a meal there—one really felt like one of the family, and I still feel that way.

  Brian has many significant interests, including his Limousin cattle and his prolific sheep. I have seen photographs of Brian with his cattle and sheep at a beautiful farm he owned at Boat Harbour. I had interests similar to his in the Tasmanian Royal Agriculture Society. He visited many of the agricultural shows in Tasmania where we shared many happy times.

  One saw Brian at his best on the campaign trail. I know that when one went to doorknock people in a town or village, nobody could beat him for speed. He would be up one side of the street and halfway down the other before one could go through two or three houses. If one set out on a day's campaigning, one had to make sure one was on time—he would keep one going all day. I enjoyed the few campaigns on which I worked with Brian because he always had a good sense of humour and always worked us very hard. It has been sad during recent times to lose to retirement both Brian Archer and Shirley Walters. They are two great Tasmanians and that state will really miss both of them.

  Many anecdotes have been retailed in this debate about Brian's advice. I remember the first time I worked closely with him on the quotas for southern blue fin tuna, a topic that created a lot of interest in my area. I did not know what to do about it, so I contacted Brian and, within a day or so, I had all the information and was given the direction in which to go.

  Surprisingly, I worked with Brian on only one or two committees in this place, one of which was the publications committee of which Senator McKiernan was chairman. It was one of the few committees where the meetings started on time and finished five minutes later. Brian was always on time and always offered the right advice. Brian did a great job of chairing the backbench primary industry committee, and his leadership made its work very worthwhile. We are all indebted to him for his leadership in that area. He has vacated to me his position on the federal rural committee and I hope I will participate in its deliberations as well as he has always done.

  I pay tribute to Brian. I wish Brian and Dorothy the very best in retirement. I wish his family well now that they will have the opportunity to see a lot more of him. I know how much Brian loves his family, his garden and his roses. With those few words, I congratulate him on his great contribution not only to Tasmania but also to the Senate.