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Tuesday, 16 February 1971


Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson (New South Wales) (Minister for Supply) - Mr President, you have announced the death of Senator James Patrick Ormonde, but it is proper now that I as Leader of the Government in the Senate give honourable senators an opportunity to record our condolences. Senator Ormonde, who died in Sydney on 30th November last at the age of 65 years, was appointed to the Senate to represent New South Wales by the Governor-General on 30th July 1958. He took the place of the late Senator W. P. Ashley. He was elected in the general election of 1957 to fill a periodical vacancy, taking his place on 1st July 1959. He was again elected in the Senate election of 1 964, for the normal term.

Senator Ormondewas a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works from 28th February 1962 to 16th May 1963. He was also a member of the Printing Committee from 7th March 1962 (o 31st October 1966. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Group of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association from 1964. and a member of the Commonwealth parliamentary visit to London in 1966. He was a member of the House Committee from 8th March 1967.

Jim Ormonde, as we all knew him. was a former coal miner, journalist and public relations officer. He brought with him to the Senate a wealth of human understanding. He was a simple, forthright and direct man who was dedicated to furthering the ideals he held to be true, and dedicated to his convictions in relation to his Party. Jim Ormonde was a practising Christian, not only in the sense of being deeply involved with his church, but also in his dealings with his' fellow human beings. He had a brother who was a priest. In the district where I live and where Jim Ormonde lived, he was a foundation member of the beautiful little Catholic Church of St Therese. He. his wife and family, were regular attenders at that church.

Senator Ormondein his way was humble, gentle and kind. I ani sure we all believe that he loved people. He did not allow his political convictions, strong though they were, to interfere with his relationships with human beings. He liked people. Friendly and kind, he enjoyed a story. He liked to smile. I always regarded him in this chamber as the spontaneous senator. Ff he was moved by anything that was said he would seek the] call from the Presiding Officer to express his views. He will be sadly missed by as ail. 1 do not think I need to say more than that we respect his memory. I move:

That the Senate expresses its deep regret al the death of Senator James Patrick Ormonde, senator for the State of New South Wales, places on record ils appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders ils sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.


Senator WILLESEE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - by leave - The Australian Labor Party gathers today, very deeply conscious of the loss that has been occasioned by the death of Senator Jim Ormonde. We knew last session - it was very obvious, and I think Jim knew it - that he did not have a long time to live. Many of us thought that he would not see the session out last year. His death was a very great loss to the Australian Labor movement, to his colleagues in this Senate and to »H his comrades in the Labor movement. Jim Ormonde was our friend and our loyal colleague. Everybody in the Labor movement recognises that Jim dedicated his life to that movement. He was a man of compassion, humanity and humour. AH his friends will miss his wry comments on life, his penetrating insight into politics and his firm belief in democratic socialism. Throughout his life he worked for his ideals; he genuinely wanted to create a better life for bis fellow men through a political system concerned with human values.

James Patrick Ormonde was born in Kirkcaldy. Scotland. After his arrival in Australia he was educated at the Marist Brothers College, Maitland, and then worked in the coal mines. Later he trained as a journalist and worked on the old Labor Daily'. He had a distinguished career in journalism. He was editor of the Weekly Standard' in the 1940s, worked as a feature writer on the 'Sydney Morning Herald" and later became public relations officer for the Joint Coal Board. Many of us remember the joke that Jim liked to tell against himself in the field of journalism. He frequently told the story that at a Labor branch meeting one night he was dealing with the history of Labor newspapers in New South Wales and said: 'I know something about them because I worked on all of them'. He recalled that someone interjected and said: 'Was there any other reason why they went broke?' Jim loved to tell this story against himself.

Jim Ormonde was appointed to the Senale in 1958 to fill a vacancy which, as Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson said, was caused by the death of his great friend and predecessor. Senator Bill Ashley. Later in the same year he was elected to the Senate in his own right. In 1964 he topped the ALP Senate ticket and became the first Australian politician ever to win more than a million first preference votes. He held a number of important posts within the Labor Party. He was an executive officer of the ALP for more than 20 years, holding the position of New South Wales VicePresident in 1954 and 1958. In 1962 he was appointed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and the Printing Committee. He was also an executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Secretary of the Australian Labor Party's Automation Committee.

Senator Sir KennethAnderson referred to the spontaneous way in which Jim Ormonde used to ask questions. I felt that Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson waited for Jim to ask a question because he had a way of bringing in the topical headlines of the day. In the days when unity tickets were given much publicity he would refer to a unity ticket between a member of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party or the Australian Lab.or Party. These topical references resulted. 1 suppose, from his training in journalism. But in all his comments there was never a barb but always much good clean humour. I think we were fortunate in having a journalist to bring the news of the day before us. I think it must be said that his days in the Senate, valuable as they were to the Party, were perhaps the least turbulent of his life. He was an early supporter of the Lang Labor Party, standing as its candidate for the New South Wales seat of Waverley in the 1930s. He was defeated by the official Heffron Australian Labor Party candidate. Later he opposed Lang during the State split.

Jim Ormonde always held strong anti-war views until his death. He was one of the first Labor men to associate himself with Australian peace groups and worked for peace, despite criticism that came, particularly in those days, because of the misunderstanding of what the people in those groups were doing. Senator Murphy has asked me to say that he feels a great personal loss at the death of his comrade from New South Wales, Senator Jim Ormonde. I think that expression of Senator Murphy's can be backed by all of us. lt is a personal loss and a political loss and (he Australian Labor movement extends its sympathy to Jim Ormonde's widow and family.







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