(Quorum formed) . . Page.. 1179 ..
Tuesday, 22 August 1995
The Assembly met at 10.30 am.
MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
DEATH OF HON. FRED DALY, AO
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I move:
That the Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honourable Fred Daly, AO, who had a distinguished political career and was an active resident of Canberra, and tenders its profound sympathy to his children in their bereavement.
The death of Fred Daly this month brought to an end one of the longest and most memorable careers in Australian politics. It also saw the end of the life of a very remarkable, very human and much loved man. Jack Waterford perceptively described Fred in the Canberra Times as a “knockabout with great passion, but hardly a shred of malice”. Indeed, Fred seemed to have almost no enemies - remarkable for anyone who lived such a long and very public life, but doubly so for a politician who was steeped in some of the most bitter and decisive events in the Labor Party's history. He remained genuinely liked and respected by politicians of every persuasion. He himself once said that he had never made an enemy he could not be friends with - even John Kerr, whose treachery not only brought down the Whitlam Government but also spelt the end of Fred's political career. About the closest he could come to maintaining his rage was to call his dog Sir John.
It was very appropriate that a headline in the Canberra Times announcing Fred's death read simply, “Fred Daly: the death of Labor's laughter”. For all of Fred's many attributes, it was his wonderful sense of humour which most people will remember the longest. He made humour a most potent political weapon. “Following Billy Snedden”, Fred Daly said during one election campaign, “would be as exciting as going into space on a bike”. And of Doug Anthony, he said, “He is tearing around the country like someone trying to haunt a house, pushing the Country Party policy of one sheep, one vote”. Of course, that “one sheep, one vote” statement has passed into legend in Australian politics. As a joke, Fred Daly once applied for a job as private secretary to his close Liberal friend, Jim Killen, who at the time was Minister for Defence. Then he sent in another application for his dog, Sir John. Killen gave the job to Sir John, he told Daly, because it had better writing skills.