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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (3:55 AM) . - I am disappointed in the Minister if he devised the arguments that he has advanced. I am disappointed in the officers of his department if they devised them for him. It really does not matter what would happen in the three propositions that the Minister has put forward. Australian Democratic Labour Party candidates and Communist candidates will never win a House of Representatives election, wherever their names appear on the ballot-paper. Usually they will lose their deposits, wherever their names appear. Two of the three instances that the Minister gave come within that category. The instances that have been mentioned on this side of the chamber were based on statistics, and the Minister has not attempted to refute them in any way. There is a very distinct difference in the number of votes that are cast in a State like Victoria, which has a great number of seats, for party candidates as a whole - when I refer to party candidates, I mean Liberal Party, Australian Labour Party or Democratic Labour Party candidates - according to whether their names occupy the first position or other positions on the ballot-paper. The same applies to New South Wales, which has a great number of seats. There is a distinct difference between the Senate poll for a party where its candidates are at the top of the ballot-paper for a whole State and the poll for the House of Representatives where its candidates are in varying positions on the ballot-papers in the various electorates.

We gave figures for the States in which there was a good number of seats to give coverage - namely Queensland and Victoria - where the names of candidates of one of the major parties were at the top of the ballot paper for the Senate, and where a considerable number of its candidates for the House of Representatives election occupied that position and a considerable number occupied other positions on the ballot-paper. We drew comparisons between comparables, but the Minister advanced arguments that were based on irrelevancies. On the balance of the arguments advanced, I should say that the case for having the same method of determining the position of the names of candidates for the House of Representatives election as for Senate candidates remains unanswered and unanswerable.

Question put -

That the new clause proposed to be inserted (Mr. Whitlam's amendment) be so inserted.

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