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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 192 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

is that, apparently, staff at the car registration testing station recognised the minister's car when it came through, and took delight in faulting it. Consequently, it rarely got through on the first check.

During his lifetime, Sir Gordon saw Canberra develop way beyond anything he imagined when he was Minister for the Interior and Works. As the Minister for the Interior, he called for a departmental paper on the likely implications of a transfer of municipal-type responsibilities to a locally elected body. In his capacity as Minister for Works he also called for a similar paper from the ACT director of works.

An internal Department of the Interior paper, Self-Government for the Australian Capital Territory: A Progress Report and Exploratory Study, prepared by Sir Gordon's private secretary in August 1968, notes that he asked for this work to be done in anticipation of continual needling by the ACT Advisory Council on its lack of powers.

After receiving these papers he did not take any further action. However, they were put on hold in readiness for the day when local demands for greater responsibilities built up to the point where they could no longer be disregarded.

However, as the responsible minister for the Australian Capital Territory, he oversaw the development of the NCDC into the powerful and influential planning body that most Canberrans remember-the agency that established the basis for town planning in Canberra.

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Assembly, I wish to express condolences to his surviving family: twin daughters, a son and their families.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition): I am very happy to offer my support to this motion on behalf of the Liberal Party. Sir Gordon Freeth was a man of the old school, a man for whom duty came before all else.

He was one of those large band of Liberals who entered the enlarged parliament in 1949 at the election that inaugurated 16 years of rule by Sir Robert Menzies, and 23 years of unbroken coalition government. Like many in that talented intake, Gordon Freeth had to wait some time for ministerial preferment, but when his time came he was more than ready.

He was, for a time, the minister in charge of the Australian Capital Territory, as we have heard. Of course, it was a position that did not make him entirely popular in Canberra at that time, responsible as he was for all the functions carried out today by the government of the ACT.

Mr Stanhope has told the story of Sir Gordon's preference for his own car, a habit that has become far more prevalent, at least at the ACT government level, than was fashionable in Sir Gordon's time.

Sir Gordon Freeth brought a rare clarity of mind to his political career, no doubt a product of his training as a barrister. This particular quality did not always endear him to many on his own side of politics, and it led to his political career ending in some controversy.

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