Archbishop says Harradine a "tough act to follow"
Hobart's Archbishop Adrian Doyle has said the decision by Independent Senator Brian Harradine not to contest the next Senate election will create a void that will be very difficult for anyone else to fill.
The office of the prominent Catholic politician issued a media release yesterday announcing his intention to retire when his current term ends one year from today. He will leave the Senate after 30 years, the longest-serving senator in the current Parliament and the longest serving independent senator since Federation.
Archbishop Doyle said the representation of the Tasmanian community provided by Senator Harradine has been unique in Australian political history and has brought great benefits to the State and to the nation.
"Senator Harradine's contribution stands out on many levels, from his single-minded dedication to Tasmania through to his advocacy on issues that many parliamentarians have been too timid to address," he said.
Senator Harradine is a former secretary of the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council and a member of the ALP Tasmanian state executive for 10 years from 1965. A member of the so-called Catholic Right, he was expelled from the ALP by its federal executive in 1975 in a move by the socialist Left. He stood for the Senate in 1975 as an independent and was the first independent to win a Senate seat on primary votes.
Archbishop Doyle said Senator Harradine has been a "champion of those whose voice often could not be heard above the Canberra clamour", stressing his commitment to the protection of human life as an "example that many others in political life would do well to emulate".
"Senator Harradine will be a tough act to follow and I am not sure he will ever truly be replaced," he said. "Personally, and on behalf of Tasmania's Catholic community, I wish him a long and fulfilling retirement and I thank him for all that he has done for our State and our country."
Senator Harradine said in his statement that he wishes to spend more time with his family, and that he would resist the "very strong appeals" to reconsider his decision.
Reflecting on his 30 year Parliamentary career, he said: "In my time in this place I have endeavoured to address public policy matters by applying a framework of social justice principles able to be understood and supported by all persons of goodwill who are committed to a just, free, equal, and life-affirming society."
Harradine is a tough act to follow (Archdiocese of Hobart 29/6/04)
Senator Harradine will not recontest seat (Office of Senator Brian Harradine, Independent Senator for Tasmania 29/6/04)
Brian Harradine, Senator for Tasmania (Parliament of Australia website)
Senator Brian Harradine: a short history (Office of Senator Brian Harradine, Independent Senator for Tasmania 29/6/04)
Harradine reviews a life of reviewing (The Age 30/6/04)
Harradine bows out (The Mercury 29/6/04)
A lifetime in the balance (The Australian 29/6/04)
Harradine wavers on decision to quit Senate after 29 years (Sydney Morning Herald 29/6/04)
Harradine looks to life beyond Senate (CathNews 19/4/04)
Archdiocese of Hobart
30 Jun 2004