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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3450

Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) - I suppose one would like at this stage to be able to second the motion. Here we are, at almost midnight, seeing the sessional period come to a close. Mr Deputy President may I commence by endorsing the remarks of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Murphy) in hoping that Senator Justin O'Byrne will have a speedy recovery and soon be back amongst us and also thank you for the way in which you have carried out your duties in this chamber. Senator Murphy referred to the fact that three of our honourable colleagues in this place have completed 25 years of service here. I mentioned yesterday, I think it was, that the Parliamentary Bill was Senator Wright's silver anniversary present. Opposition colleagues of mine last night had a small function to celebrate Senator Wood's anniversary. I offer my congratulations to Senator Willesee. Of course the day those honourable senators were elected to this Senate was a great day not only for them. Another senator was elected that day who is still in the Parliament, namely, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) in another place. I understand that he came in on the same day. He unfortunately left this place for pastures not so green. It was also a very great day for other reasons. It was the great triumph for the Liberal Party after being formed for only some 4 years under Sir Robert Menzies. It was a day of great rejoicing throughout Australia. Even though the Labor Government has been here for only 2 years, it almost feels like 25 years. I suppose that this is not a time to talk about that. The wheel keeps turning, and this is the time for good cheer and to wish everyone well.

May I make special mention of a few. I would like to thank especially Senator Douglas McClelland for his help and co-operation. One of the things which has made a great deal of change to the Senate since we came back after the double dissolution has been the restoration of pairs and a more sensible arrangement around the chamber. To the Whips- Senator Young, Senator Poyser and Senator Maunsell- I would like to extend my thanks and the thanks of the Opposition. In the old days every time a salaries Bill came before us, as a very distinguished member of the ex- Whips union, as is our President and other honourable senators here, I always put in a plea for the Whips because I still believe that they are the hardest worked and the most underpaid members in the whole Parliament. Without the Whips this chamber would not function. I thank very much my colleagues, my deputy, and my very good friend, Senator Drake-Brockman, for their tolerance in putting up with my wrong decisions, my bad temper and, perhaps, my prolixity.

Senator Poyser - Your verbosity.

Senator WITHERS -Or, as the honourable senator has just said, my verbosity. He is quite right; I have caught the disease. I am generally noted for not saying much. I will not talk out time until midnight; I think it is about time we drew stumps. I thank everybody within the Parliament who has helped me and the Opposition and I wish everybody from you, Mr Deputy President, and honourable senators to the Clerks, and all those who are connected with the Parliament a merry Christmas and, under an incoming Liberal-Country Party Government, a prosperous new year.

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