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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 5

Senator BYRNE (Queensland) - lt is a sad privilege that is mine today, speaking on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party to identify the members of our Party with the motion of condolence extended by the Senate to the family of the late Sir Owen Dixon. In the concept of all Australians and particularly in the knowledge of those who are intimate with the law. the late distinguished jurist was one of the great lawyers of the British legal jurisdiction. He was considered to bc the greatest common lawyer of his day and, as Senator Murphy has said, perhaps the greatest lawyer in the English speaking world. We are inclined sometimes to think of members of the judiciary as somewhat remore figures who have little other than a theoretical impact upon the history and destiny of their country. But more particularly in Australia, where we operate under a written Constitution, where we have this great problem of the separation of State and Commonwealth powers, the impact of the judiciary in determining the course of this nation has been immense and the influence of the late Sir Owen Dixon perhaps had no equal in the effect it had on the interpretation of the Constitution and in acquitting that Constitution to the modern Australia and to the movement of Australia into the modern world.

Sir OwenDixon was not only erudite in the law; he also had a very deep affection for it. That became evident to anybody who had the privilege of appearing before him. It was a love that he transmitted to all members of the profession, lt will be one of the fondest memories of members of the Australian bar that they were privileged to know and to appear before this great jurist. The Democratic Labor Party, in common with Australia, mourns the passing of this great Australian who, in every field of national endeavour, made his contribution at a distinguished level. We extend to those who survive him our very deepest sympathy. 1 trust that the portrait of Sir Owen which hangs in one of the lobbies of this Parliament the only portrait I can recall hanging in these halls of a Justice of the High Court who was not at some time a member of this Parliament - will be transferred to a more public position so that those who see it and who may not know may ask who this man was. Thus the history and the story of Sir Owen Dixon will be more widely transmitted to the nation. I join with Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson and Senator Murphy in extending condolences to those who survive this great man.

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