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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2101

Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) - I associate the Opposition with the words of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) and his message of condolence to Mrs Dedman and her family. For many men in public office, one action or one label can overshadow much of the good they have done. John Dedman was such a man. The labels imposed upon him by politicians and the media have often overshadowed what was perhaps his greatest work, that of putting into institutional form, through the creation of the Snowy Mountains scheme and the Australian National University, some of Australia's most ambitious aspirations for a national unity and identity.

John Dedman was not Australian born. But, after arrival here in 1922, he adopted this country as his own and for the rest of his life worked for his adopted country. He entered the Federal Parliament in 1940 and concentrated on economic issues. He was installed as Minister for War Organisation of Industry in the Curtin Ministry, a portfolio which was perhaps the most thankless task in government. It was in this role that Mr Dedman first became nationally well known when he prohibited the manufacture of a large number of non-essential but popularly valued goods. However, as a Minister he combined a willingness to make hard decisions and a zeal for the war effort. After the war he remained in politics, holding the portfolios of Post-war Reconstruction and Defence.

Following his retirement from politics in 1949, John Dedman recommenced for the third time his personal university career, this time at the university he had helped to establish. He earned the unique distinction of being awarded an honorary degree by that university while still one of its undergraduates. In his later years he combined scholarship and his former vocation of politics through research and writing about the difficult wartime and post-war years during which he had served. Although John Dedman 's political career was not, by some standards, a l ong one, it was an energetic and effective one. The Opposition joins with the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

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