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Wednesday, 26 November 1980
Page: 95

Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - I join with Senator Knight in paying a very deep tribute to Wally Lee for the way he looked after every senator in this place. I had the honour- I term it an honour - of attending Wally's funeral at Narooma on 5 November as a representative of the Parliamentary Labor Party to pay tribute to Wally in that capacity and also as a personal friend. I was accompanied by Arnold Drury who was a South Australian senator in this place for many years. Arnold Drury had a very close personal relationship with Wally and his wife and family. I place on record that Mrs Lee very much appreciated ex-Senator Drury's efforts in journeying from Adelaide to Narooma to pay his last respects to Wally who was well known to him over many years. He was not so well known to me. I knew him for about 10 years.

Wally Lee would always go out of his way to help senators and, in particular, their wives who came to Canberra. When new senators brought their wives to Canberra they were usually at a loose end. If Wally Lee could do a service to the women folk he would do it as do our present transport officers. Wally Lee's popularity among the people in Canberra who knew him was borne out by the number of people who attended his funeral service in Narooma on 5 November. The church was so packed that there was no seating room. Many people had to stand. I was very taken by the guard of honour which was put up that day by the members of the Narooma Bowling Club. I think that spoke very highly of the respect people had for Wally Lee and his sporting prowess and the way in which he entered into community life wherever he was. We know that he lived in Narooma for only three years upon his retirement but he was a keen sportsman for all his life. He entered into the sporting sphere in Narooma. The fact that he was so well respected was borne out, as I said, by the large attendance of his Bowling Club colleagues at his funeral service that day.

Senator Knighthas related to the Senate tonight the fact that Wally Lee served the whole of his working life as a servant of the people. He started work in the Department of the Interior at the age of 1 7 years. He worked in various spheres in government service until he retired from the Senate due to ill health in December 1977. I had the pleasure, along with my Labor Party colleagues, of tendering Wally a farewell and making a presentation to him before he left the Parliament. To his wife and family I extend again heartfelt sympathy. I hope that his wife can go on in life with the bright outlook she appeared to have on the day of Wally's funeral. They had a good life. Wally was a good husband and father. He will be sadly missed, particularly in Narooma. I join with Senator Knight in expressing my deepest sympathy to his nearest relatives.

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