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Tuesday, 21 August 1973
Page: 6

Mr LUCHETTI (Macquarie) -To the warm expressive tributes paid to Arthur Calwell by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition the Leader of the Australian Country Party, the honourable member for Melbourne and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition I should like to add a few sentences of my own to pay a tribute to him. It is 43 years ago since I first met Arthur Calwell at a federal Labor conference. Arthur had come to the conference to assist the Victorian delegation, a delegation of earnest and in the main elderly men who were dedicated Labor men steeped in the tradition of our Party. Arthur was the enthusiastic young man. He was the zealot, the hard-working industrious person who was there to help them and to do all of the things that are required to be done to assist a delegation at a conference. I attended that conference as a representative of the New South Wales Branch of the Party. It was there that I had an opportunity to observe Arthur Calwell, to note his qualities and to try to understand him, for he was an idealistic young reformer with a deep faith in mankind and unswerving confidence in the aims and objectives of the Labor Party to create a better society. Arthur was firmly convinced of these things, as I and all members of the delegation were. He was a traditionalist who did not lose his youthful fervour.

Our late colleague was an unrelenting opponent of injustice. He would not stand for the little person being hurt or being denied the freedoms that he was entitled to have. He fought for those people even though many times it was not to Arthur's great advantage to do so. He was in the broadest sense a good man who did not confuse modernity and progress with degeneracy. He had a great sense of quality, of value, of work. The quality of life to Arthur Calwell was the quality of the family, of happy communities of people, and of the development of a strong nation. He was a kind and generous man who never spared himself in his work. I recall his coming into the electorate of Macquarie to attend an official function and after that was over he went out of his way to meet a number of people. When that was done he travelled many, many miles very late in the afternoon to call upon an old friend and to make a little gift to the person who had almost forgotten Arthur, but Arthur had not forgotten him. In the words of Henry Lawson, he saw the vision splendid of

Australia- a progressive developing nation of independent, happy people. He never ceased to champion our country, to extol its qualities, and to defend it from traducers.

In every way he was a good Australian. He toured this country to the most remote places as he did Papua New Guinea. It was always a great delight to be in his company for he was an authentic Australian with the Labor spirit which one will never forget. He lived the life of an Australian. He had great faith in the future of this land. In this Parliament we will miss this authentic Labor spirit- a spirit that will live on. His colourful language will be missed. But whilst his colourful language will be missed we all remember him as having some words to say about those tired working bullocks of prose. They were not in Arthur Calwell 's vocabulary.

I support the motion moved by the Prime Minister. I am sure that the whole Parliament and the nation support the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister. I should like on this occasion to express publicly my deepest sympathy to Mrs Calwell, to her daughter Mary Elizabeth, to Arthur's sisters and to other members of the family.

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