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Wednesday, 6 February 1929


Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) .-I second the motion of the Prime Minister, and desire to express my regret, and I believe the regret of every honorable member of this House, at the death of one of the greatest men that ever rose to a public position in Australia. I can recall my early entry to the Federal Parliament at the time Mr. Fisher became Prime Minister of Australia. The admiration that I then conceived for him as a great man grew with the knowledge that I subsequently gained of him. I think probably that the most striking illustration I can recall of Mr. Fisher's career and capabilities was a cartoon that appeared in the press on the day he became Prime Minister of Australia. That cartoon depicted a figure representing Australia speaking down the mouth of a mine and calling to Mr. Fisher, "Andy, come up, your country wants you." That was an incident in the wonderful career of a great man who came to Australia from Scotland, and started to win his way in Queensland. He worked in the bowels of the earth in coal and gold mines, entered the public life of both State and Commonwealth, and was raised to the highest position that a public man can achieve. In those memorable years when he ruled the destinies of Australia, he laid foundations upon which we have built to some extent. In those foundations he left monuments of work which has helped this country in many a dark hour.

That is a short history of the life of this man. Those who were privileged to know him are aware that his personality was lovable in the extreme. He had a deep affection for what was good and those who were good, but a strong detestation for what he believed to be wrong. I well remember, how when we sat in Melbourne, the chamber would resound with his denunciation, spoken with a rich Scottish accent, of the things which he believed to be wrong, and of the wrongs which he wanted to be righted in the interests of the people of Australia. He aroused hostility amongst many, but he never lost the respect of any person whose opinion was worth having. I have received word that there is to be erected in the heart of the Empire a monument to his memory, because of the great services that he rendered to the British family of nations. I cannot help remembering that when he was Prime Minister of Australia, and returning from a memorable mission abroad, from a thousand platforms and by hundreds of newspapers he was denounced as one who would smash the Empire, as one who was against the Empire, and would cut the painter, to separate Australia from the rest of the British nation. But he lived down such abuse and went on his way unconcerned. He hardly paused to refute those slanders, and, for his life's work as a citizen of Australia and a member of the British Empire, we are proud of him and revere his memory. I join with the Prime Minister in expressing our deepest sympathy with Mrs. Fisher and her family in the loss of a good father and husband and a great Australian.







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