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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 4

Mr BRYANT (Wills) - I am gratified that we have this opportunity to pay our tribute to former members of this Parliament. I knew three of them very well, as did the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser), and had more than an acquaintance with two of them, although I did not know them so well. In particular I pay a tribute to Ted Peters, a member of this Parliament from 1949 to 1969. 1 draw the attention of the House to the great length of experience he had in the very heart of Australian politics. He became a member of the Victorian Executive of the Labor Party in 1927 when he was 30 years of age. He stayed active in politics until 1969 - a span of four decades or more - during some of the most tumultuous and troublous times, and in a way some of the most creative times, for the Australian Labor Party and Australian politics.

Those of us with some knowledge of the political history of the period will recall, for instance, the 1930s and the problems of the Premiers' Plan and the great conflicts that occurred throughout Australia in all political parties and which caused a split in the Labor Party. As has been pointed out, during that period Ted Peters was a public servant as well. He was Secretary to the Public Works Committee of the Victorian Parliament for 10 years. He was also a member of the first board of the Victorian Teachers Tribunal which was set up by the Labor Government in Victoria in 1947. He was a government representative when it began to establish the actual basis for the employment of teachers within the Victorian education system.

Ted Peters was a part of the old guard of the Victorian Labor Party before 1955. Those of us who took a part in the tumults of that time could only gather more and more respect for Ted Peters as time went on. I recall that at the Victorian special conference in 1955 he was the only one of the old Executive who chose to stay with the Victorian branch of the Labor Party and to stay with the Federal Party. I recall the rancour of that conference. Ted Peters always showed exceptional personal and moral courage and political strength in standing his ground. He was a person who over the years became more radical than he had been in his youth. He was one of the first people in this place to point out the dangers of overseas investment; he was one of the first people to print a booklet about it. I have just been looking at one of his later speeches, of 1968, in which he referred to the matter. I pay tribute to him for the work that he did.

Len Reynolds was another person for whose parliamentary work, perhaps, there was not enough recognition. I was secretary to the parliamentary party's education committee at its inception in 1957 or 1958. When Len came here he became an active member of it and for a long period was its deputy chairman and its acting chairman. He was one of the more creative members of that committee during the period in which the Labor Party created the policies which it brought into action in 1972. I think it ought to be placed on record that the community as a whole and this Parliament in particular owe a great debt to him for that.

Ron Davies was an assiduous, hard-working member of this Parliament and a particularly effective electoral member. He won the seat of Braddon in 1958 when nobody gave him a chance to do so. He held it against the odds even in 1966. He was taken, of course, by the flood in 1975. Len Reynolds and Ron Davies were younger than a good number of present members of the House. In their communities, in the Services and in Parliament they both served the country well. I deeply regret their passing.

I knew Bill Morrow. He stood his ground against everybody and everything that came or went in the Party or out of it. Arthur Greenup I knew only as an acquaintance in Parliament. I thank you, Mr Speaker, and the Government for the opportunity to speak about our former members on an occasion such as this.

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