Senate bids farewell to Harradine

The Senate bade farewell to Brian Harradine - the senator from Tasmania who played hardball with both Labor and the coalition.

In his 30-year political career, Senator Harradine (pictured with his family) found himself holding the Senate balance of power on numerous occasions, playing a key role in major political issues such as native title, the GST and Telstra privatisation according to The Age.

He won much for Tasmania. For his vote on Telstra, Tasmania ended up with new jobs and a substantial cash injection for telecommunications infrastructure.

Government Senate Leader Robert Hill said Senator Harradine had been one of the most capable and effective politicians of recent Australian political history and also one of the most formidable. "In my dealings with Senator Harradine he was always polite, always strong, always independent. His decisions were always based on values, the interests of his constituents. He has been a very major contribution to the Senate and to public life."

Senate opposition leader Chris Evans said there were only seven other Senators who served more than 30 years. "That Senator Harradine should have faced and won six elections as an independent makes his achievements even more impressive," he said. "Senator Harradine has been a tremendously effective and formidable parliamentary operator. He will be regarded as one of the most significant figures who has played a role in this place."

Senator Harradine stood as a senator after 17 years in the trade union movement which ended when he was expelled from the ALP by a federal executive then under what he said was socialist left domination.

He was elected as independent Senator for Tasmania in 1975, using his maiden speech to declare he had never wanted to be a Senator. Despite that reluctance, he managed to be re-elected at every succeeding Senate election.

A staunch Catholic, his political career has been marked by support of human rights and the right to life and opposition to abortion and pornography. He said he was determined to defend the uniqueness and dignity of the human person.

In his valedictory speech, Senator Harradine admitted his devotion to Tasmania, declaring he planned to spend his retirement doing more bushwalking.

Senate bids farewell to Harradine (The Age 21/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Parliament of Australia: Senator Brian Harradine
Climb every mountain (Australian Catholics Spring 2004)

Archbishop prays for Harradine recovery (CathNews 7/3/05)
Archbishop says Harradine a "tough act to follow" (CathNews 30/7/04)
Harradine looks to life beyond Senate (CathNews 19/4/04)

22 Jun 2005