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Turner, Sir Alan George (1906–1978)

Alan Turner, Australian Information Service, 1970

Alan Turner, Australian Information Service, 1970

National Archives of Australia, A1200:L91954

Sir Alan Turner, CBE, a former Clerk of the House of Representatives and a resident of Canberra for 51 years, died on Sunday, aged 71.

Born at Marrickville, Sydney, he was one of the few remaining members of the staff of Parliament who transferred from Melbourne when Parliament opened in Canberra on May 9, 1927.

He retired in December, 1971, having been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Parliament. He was knighted when he retired.

Sir Alan joined the staff of the House in 1924 and early in his career was Speaker's Secretary, serving Speakers Watt, Groom and Makin.

During World War II he was seconded to the Department of Supply and Shipping between 1942 and 1945. He had been a Chamber Officer since 1946 and Clerk of the House of Representatives from January 1, 1959.

As clerk he was responsible for a major revision of the standing orders of the House undertaken between 1960 and 1963. The revision embraced the financial procedures and dispensed with the committees of supply and ways and means.

The abandonment of these financial forms in the House in Canberra was subsequently followed in many other Parliaments throughout the Commonwealth.

Linked to his role of clerk he fulfilled the position of honorary secretary-treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia branch with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which has as its purpose the promotion of knowledge and understanding between Parliaments of the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Sir Alan played a most significant part in promoting the activities of the association and as secretary attended many Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conferences and played a major role in the organisation of the conferences held in Australia in 1959 and 1970. As a result he became well-known throughout the Commonwealth countries.

He is survived by Lady Turner and a son, Geoffrey, who lives in New Zealand.

A memorial service will be held at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church tomorrow. It will be followed by a private cremation.

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Citation details

'Turner, Sir Alan George (1906–1978)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/turner-sir-alan-george-28241/text37133, accessed 14 July 2020.

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