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Wednesday, 21 August 1996
Page: 2739

Senator WOODS (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Family Services)(9.45 a.m.) —I rise to support the condolence motion for Fred Osborne, who was a good friend of mine. We have heard that he became a reserve naval officer just prior to the war and, unusually for a reserve officer, he became the captain of at least two vessels, including destroyers. He always said that this was part of the formation of his essential character. He also said that in many ways this was the most enjoyable time of his life and that when he left his last ship when it was decommissioned he realised that life would never be the same. He always pointed out that this was an invaluable formative experience for him.

Fred had been spurred on by his family background. He became a great achiever in politics, in law and in business but if you asked those who knew him what were his quintessential characters they would probably say they were integrity and decency, qualities which Fred made sure he passed on to his family.

We have heard a list of his great achievements—a superb record and one which I believe is not often surpassed. I will not repeat it in detail; Fred's proud record stands for itself. It includes some 12 years in parliament with five years as a minister in the Menzies government.

It could be said of Fred that he came from a kinder, gentler age but Fred was a kinder, gentler man. But he was much more than that; he was a very determined achiever but a very warm human being who was essentially nourished by a firm belief in the essential virtues of humankind and by the importance of community service.

His contribution to the Liberal Party, to this parliament, to his family—in particular, his son Michael, who is following in his footsteps in the Liberal Party in New South Wales, his daughter Imogen and his wife Elizabeth—and perhaps most importantly to society is incomparable. I think it is fair to say that all of us agree that Fred will be sorely missed.