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Wednesday, 26 November 1980
Page: 96

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) - I briefly associate myself with the condolences expressed in regard to our late friend, Wally Lee, who served the Senate so long and well. I wish to put on record my view of someone who spent a lot of time in the Parliament. It became a second home, Wally Lee's almost permanent home, because I am sure that he spent more of his life here in the Senate than he did with his own family. That is a sacrifice that is willingly made by conscientious and dedicated people. We forget the wonderful service they give because of the hurly burly of life in the Senate. I must say that Wally Lee was the right man in the right job. He was a very pleasant and co-operative person. He was always helpful and ready to go beyond the limits of service to make certain that senators' transport arrangements were carried out efficiently, and he would follow them through.

He had the capacity to endear himself to a family, as he did particularly to my family. He often reminded my eldest daughter that he helped to carry her in a little basket on her first visit to Canberra. Up until the time he retired he continued to make inquiries about her progress in her schooling, her sporting activities and the like. To me, this was a little thing that was special to Wally Lee. He had the capacity to become part of a family. He was almost a part of our family, but he was a part of the family of the Senate. A lot of people do not realise that, despite the thrust and the parry and all the other things that happen here, underneath it all there is this loyalty of the people who make the place work and keep the machinery going.

I pay a tribute to Wally Lee because he was one of those important people who gave to the limit of his ability for that purpose. I extend my sympathy to his wife, Eileen, and to his family in their very great loss. I am certain that they knew more about him than we did from a distance, but it is a personal loss to me that he has gone so relatively early, and it must be an enormous loss to his family. I extend my sympathy to them.

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