Condolences

Condolences

1st September 2015

Hon. Francis Raymond Scully

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) — I also rise to join the condolence motion for Francis Raymond Scully. As has been said, Frank was born in Bendigo on 27 January 1920 and passed away peacefully at Cabrini Prahran aged 95 in August this year. He is survived by his wife, Moira. He was father to Michael and Kathleen, father‑in‑law to Louise and Jeff, and he had grandchildren and great‑grandchildren.

Frank was the member for Richmond from 1949 to 1958. In that time he was the Assistant Minister for Lands, the Assistant Minister for Electrical Undertakings and the Cabinet Secretary. As has been quoted in the press, Frank Scully was the last surviving MP from the Labor split of the 1950s. I do not think any of us in this place could understand the tensions and in some ways the hatred that came out of that particular event in politics.

Frank was the son of a railway worker, and his father passed away in the middle of the Depression in the 1930s. As the Premier said, Frank was forced to leave school and go to work, something that was very typical of that time and which probably shaped a generation of people, given the sorts of circumstances they were raised in. Frank was a passionate fighter of the Communist Party and its threat to take over Australian unions and Australian society. That group lacked direction until Bob Santamaria came on the scene and brought it together, which led to the split that has been talked about.

What is interesting is reading Frank’s first speech in this place. At that time there was no such thing as a maiden speech or inaugural speech, so it was in the adjournment debate that he got to speak for the first time. He raised an issue about the Communist Party and the actions it was taking with strikes at the Holmesglen housing commission facility. It was quite a lengthy contribution about those issues. At one stage a point of order was raised by Lieutenant Colonel Leggatt, who was the member for Mornington and who asked whether the matter was actually government business. It was pointed out to him by the Speaker at the time — it was a very wise Speaker — that it was government business because the government controlled the housing commission, so it was an issue that Frank had legitimacy to raise. He made a lengthy contribution about what the Communist Party was doing at the time in those particular workplaces to cause trouble. Lieutenant Colonel Leggatt apologised for raising the point of order after he had heard the contribution and understood what it was all about.

What I also found interesting was reading that the person who responded to the adjournment issue was Sir John McDonald, who was the Country Party Premier at the time. It is interesting to revisit the history of this place. I suppose we can only hope that history may repeat itself one day in those particular circumstances.

An honourable member interjected.

Mr WALSH — The Country Party will always be there to fight communism. We sometimes wonder about the value of condolence motions, but I think it is important that we reflect on what members of Parliament before us did and what they lived through, because at times we tend to live in the moment and think that we are the ones at the centre of the biggest issues of the time. If we look back at history, both men for whom we are moving condolence motions today were great men who passionately believed in what they were doing in being elected to Parliament to represent the people who sent them to this place. We should never lose sight of that.

Frank Scully was, from what I have read, very much a man of principle who effectively sacrificed his career in politics for what he believed in. I imagine that quite a few members of the Labor Party at that time probably did what they did with very heavy hearts, but they realised it was something they needed to do at that time to stop the spread of communism in Victoria. I think we are all better for it. We now know the history of communism and that it has not survived even in the places where it did take a strong hold. We owe those members a legacy for that. Vale, Frank Scully.

 

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