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Wednesday, 21 August 1996
Page: 2738

Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)(9.41 a.m.) —On behalf of the opposition, I wish to associate the opposition and opposition senators with the condolence motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Hill). We too express our regret at the death of Frederick Meares Osborne, a former minister, and offer sincere condolences to his family.

Fred Osborne was not known to me personally but he was, by all accounts, a much admired man who was also known as a politician who cared very deeply for his constituents and vigorously defended their interests in the parliament. He was a Member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Evans in New South Wales from 1949 to 1961.

He certainly had a very distinguished naval career before entering politics. He joined the RAN Volunteer Reserve in 1938. In fact, he was seconded from the Royal Australian Navy to the Royal Navy and he was one of the few reservists to join the British navy and the only Australian to rise to the command of a destroyer. He commanded the HMS Gentian, the Vanquisher and Peacock and he was awarded two Distinguished Service Crosses during his naval career.

He won his first Distinguished Service Cross as a sub-lieutenant on the St Loman, which was an armed trawler, for assisting very valiantly in the evacuation of British and French troops from the Norwegian coast, and he achieved the second DSC in 1945 when he was a lieutenant-commander of the Royal Navy destroyer Vanquisher, which in fact was responsible for sinking a German U-boat.

Fred served in a diverse range of ministerial portfolios in the Menzies government, as outlined by Senator Hill. In 1956 he was appointed Minister for Customs and Excise and, later that year, Minister for Air, and in 1960 he became the Minister for Repatriation.

Fred Osborne will be remembered as an Australian who served this country with honour. Madam President, on behalf of the opposition, we offer our most sincere condolences to his family.