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Thursday, 21 August 1980
Page: 666


Mr BURNS (Isaacs) - I claim the attention of the House in order to pay tribute to the memory of a great man who was a very splendid and loyal Australian- James Daniel Brosnan. Jim Brosnan died two weeks ago and was mourned at his funeral service by a vast assemblage of people from all walks of life. Jim Brosnan was the federal president of a very important and influential political party- the Democratic Labor Party. When Jim Brosnan started work with the Victorian Railways and became a springmaker, little did he dream that one day he would be the Victorian secretary of a political party and its federal president at the same time.

Jim was an active member of his union when working in the railways and was strongly opposed to the radical policies of the officials who controlled the affairs of the union. Very soon many of his fellow workers began to take notice of the newcomer who was ever advocating improvement of working conditions and opposition to the socialist trends of the union hierarchy. He refused to let up in his fight to improve the conditions of his fellow workers and convincingly expressed his views and beliefs in the Labor Party branch of which he was a member. Jim Brosnan maintained that no matter what a man's job was he was still a worker and if favoured by fortune to be in a position to help his mates along the road he should count it a privilege. His advice to young Laborites was to take an active part in their union activities, always remembering that the Labor movement was something to be proud of and if dissatisfied with its progress to do their best to improve it. He believed that the Labor movement was the hope of humanity.

Jim Brosnan was an ardent member of the industrial group within his union. The Australian Labor Party industrial groups had been set up to combat communist influence in the unions and Jim was one of the many stalwarts who devoted themselves to the task of protecting the union movement and its members from subversive infiltration. The split was a time of travail for Jim Brosnan but he made the choice because he knew that he must stand firmly by his principles and the beliefs which he so strongly held. For Jim, the die was now cast. He had passed the Rubicon; swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish, complete dedication to the Democratic Labor Party was his unalterable determination. Jim Brosnan had been a candidate for parliament on a number of occasions but it is the misfortune of this Parliament that a man of Jim's ability, integrity and patriotism was not elected to it. Jim was a man of the people and firmly believed as Cicero did that the administration of government, like the office of a trustee, must be conducted for the benefit of those entrusted to one's care, not of those to whom it is entrusted.

Jim was a devoted family man and a splendid father. His deeply held views on the importance of family life were spiritually uplifting and particularly refreshing in this age of permissiveness. Jim had high moral principles and was convinced that the family must be protected at all costs because it was God's concept of properly regulated society and the basis and hope of a united, happy Australian nation. To quote Edmund Burke, Jim believed that 'all persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust, and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great master, author, and founder of society'. Jim Brosnan believed that a greater understanding of the importance of the family should be shown by this Parliament and assistance should be provided for the needs of the family by those in power.

Jim Brosnan was my friend as he was the friend of many people. A number of honourable members here, I know, will acknowledge in their hearts that they are indebted to this splendid man for the help and Christian fellowship which he so willingly and generously gave. Australia is the poorer for the loss of Jim Brosnan. He was a

Christian gentleman and I wish to record here my deep sympathy to his wife Mary and their wonderful, family. I know that I speak for many honourable members of this House who will be saddened by Jim's death, lt can be said of Jim what was said of Lincoln:

Here was a man to hold against the world. A man to match the mountains and the sea.

Mr Deputy Speaker,thank you for giving me the opportunity of saying hail and farewell to a great Australian, Jim Brosnan.







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