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Wednesday, 20 February 1980
Page: 158

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) (Minister for Defence) - by leave- It was announced today that Mr D. J. Curtin had died. I had the pleasure of sitting for a long time in this House with our late friend. I am very sorry that the forms of the House have been amended, departed from.

Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Truncated.

Mr KILLEN - Or truncated. No longer can we look as we should upon the lives of those who have served here. I can see my late honourable friend sitting over there on the Opposition benches. He was a very robust character. He had little formal education. I came to know him very closely indeed, and we shared a number of views- I suppose some people would say uncommon views. He never disguised his political views. It is often said that Danny Curtin 's wife always wrote his speeches. I do not know whether that is true or false, but he always delivered them with very great vigour. I will never forget my late honourable friend. All of us in this place are exposed at some time or another to pressure and we all respond differently. I remember one such occasion when my late friend came to me and said: 'Come out of the House'. In so doing he spared me from embarrassment. One person who sits opposite on one occasion was plagued with an extraordinary personal difficulty. Dan Curtin went to him, gave him a fistful of money, and said: 'Do what you can with it'. He was a boilermaker, and I can hear him now saying: 'Do not talk to me about shipbuilding. I built HMAS Warramunga'.

After he left here I used to ring him on Saturdays and we would talk about what happened in Parliament or on the racetrack. He was a very fine person; a very rugged character. I look back on the fact that I sat in the Parliament with him. He was the predecessor of my distinguished friend, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lionel Bowen). I am sure that my friend will take no offence when I say that they were different in personality. He used to say to me: 'Jimmy, slug it Out, but always offer a point of view'. Danny Curtin always offered a point of view. I would like to think that the House could find some means whereby it could recall the people who have served in the House and who have passed away. Dan Curtin, to me, was one of the really great characters. I can see him now, sitting next to Trombone Thompson. I arrived here a quarter of a century ago. To his family may I say that he was one of the most robust characters I ever knew. I like to think that the Parliament will remember him with affection and warmth.

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