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Thursday, 13 October 1983
Page: 1792

Mr BILNEY(9.58) —It is with great pleasure that I participate in this debate on the estimates of the Department of Foreign Affairs which, as honourable members will know, I recently left. For that reason I might be forgiven by the Committee for beginning on a personal note. A career in the Department with whose estimates we are dealing is still one of the most worthwhile careers that people can undertake in the service of their country. It is not sufficiently realised-although perhaps more by members of this chamber than by most-that people who undertake that career undergo difficulties, deprivations and dangers. One of the most commendable acts that the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) undertook as soon as he took office was to initiate an investigation into why these dangers are undergone more or less unsung by members of our diplomatic service. I also want to put on record the fact that in the difficult situation which I presented to the Department by becoming a candidate for the Opposition, as it then was, against the Fraser Government I was treated with great generosity and sensitivity by officers of the Department, including its permanent head. I must say that I gave them enough to worry about. I make the same comment in respect of Mr Street.

Consideration interrupted.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Millar) —Order! It being 10 p.m., I shall report progress and seek leave to sit again.

Progress reported.