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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3085

Mr SINCLAIR (New England) (Leader of the House) - In my role as Leader of the House and also on behalf of my leader, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony), who cannot be here this afternoon, I too would like to say a few words, again on my own behalf and also on behalf of members of the National Country Parry. Mr Speaker, to you, your Deputy, the Deputy Chairmen, the Clerk, the Deputy Clerk, the Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms, the Hansard people, the Table Office, the Parliamentary Librarian, to all those who service us behind this chamber, I would like to extend the thanks of those who sit with me on the National Country Party benches. On behalf of them all I would say that it is through you, Mr Speaker, that each one of those people is able to exercise his responsibility in this place and we thank you for the distinction which you have given to the position which you now occupy.

To two people who assist me particularly in my duties as Leader of the House, I would like also to extend my thanks. I think that all members of this House owe a particular debt of gratitude to Arthur Dyster who was Parliamentary Liaison Officer, and then to Roger Webb. As honourable members will recall, Arthur Dyster was with my predecessor, the former member for Grayndler, Mr Fred Daly, for the whole period when the Labor Party was in government. He then served in that capacity with us. He was replaced during this Parliament by Mr Roger Webb. Both men in their way have served this Parliament extraordinarily well and effectively. Not one of those statistics that have been read this afternoon would have been possible if it had not been for the manner and efficacy of the operation of those two gentlemen. Behind them, of course, are the members of the Australian Public Service who, as the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) so rightly said, serve the people of Australia far better than many of those people frequently acknowledge. They are frequently not heard of and their merits are unsung. Frequently we as parliamentarians criticise them. Yet they serve very effectively the whole of the Parliament and, I believe, the people of Australia. As those of us who are Ministers and those who have been Ministers know only too well, the business of the Government and of the Parliament would be quite impossible were it not for the many hours of devotion they render.

The attendants, in this place, the members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, aU serve the Parliament. They have aU made this Thirtieth Parliament effective and operative. To my counterpart in the Opposition, the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), I also would like to extend my thanks. I believe this Parliament has worked well. It is extraordinarily difficult, in either the role that he fills or the role I for the time being occupy, to ensure a reasonable opportunity for the members of this Parliament to speak on issues on which they feel deeply and yet enable reasonable time for the passage of Legislation necessary for the conclusion of Government business. To Mr Gordon Scholes I would like to extend my particular thanks.

There are, as the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr E. G. Whitlam' have said, a number of members who are leaving this place. I too would like to join in extending to each of them both my own and my Party's best wishes for a long and happy retirement. To the father of the Parliament the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), and to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean)- both long serving and very distinguished members of the Opposition-I would like to extend my own personal best wishes, and of course in their own Party there are members such as the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and others who may well not come back.

In the ranks of my own Party, to the honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King) I would like to extend particular mention. He has served in an area that has not been easy to hold over the years. His record in standing for eight elections and coming back on each occasion effectively is, I think, a tribute to the man and his representation. There is no doubt that the difficulties of the holder of the wheat seats during those years of 1960s needs to be recalled by those of us who have been associated with the agricultural industry perhaps more than those others in this place. The wheat seats have always been fairly active in their support for their own particular cause and the man who has been able to hold the support of those who sometimes are advocating differing causes, I believe deserves particular mention. To the honourable member for Wimmera, I do wish a long and happy retirement. I do not doubt that he will be back about the place in other ways at other times.

To other members of the Government parties who also are stepping down- the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), the honourable member for Evans (Mr Abel) and the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), all of whom in different ways have served this place in a most effective way. I again would like to extend my best wishes for success in whichever endeavour they pursue and to say to them that, like many other members of this place, I have enjoyed a particular association with them.

We all are about to embark on a particularly arduous round. I am glad that this session of paying compliments to those who have made the running of this place possible has returned. It is interesting that it should have been in October 1 972 when it last transpired. I trust that when the next Parliament rises three years hence a similar occasion might well again be repeated and that we from this side of the House might be expressing similar sentiments.

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