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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 726


Mr SINCLAIR (New England) - It concerns me that we have just heard the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) make a number of allegations against one of my colleagues, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), which are identical with those that I make against his colleague, the Leader of the House and the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly), who knows that I am speaking on this matter at this time. It concerns me because the Minister for Urban and Regional Development has said: 'Check your facts'. The Leader of the House has not checked his facts. He has made allegations about dishonesty. He has said that the former Minister for the Interior and my colleague, the honourable member for Gwydir, is dishonest in his use of facts. In fact, the Leader of the House is dishonest in the use of his facts. The facts are demonstrably contrary to statements he has made in this House, lt concerns me because I believe that what the Leader of the House has said has an imputation for every member of this House. I refer specifically to the charges he has made relating to the number of honourable members particularly of the Australian Country Party, who have been elected having won not more than 50 per cent of the primary votes on the first count.

I do not intend to canvass the situation of honourable members who have been elected. I have made reference to that. My colleagues have made reference to it. It is quite demonstrably true that significantly more than 50 per cent of the members of the Country

Party in each of the last 3 general elections - without going back any further - have been elected with more than 50 per cent of the vote after the distribution of preferences, whether one takes it as formal votes or as primary votes. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) very rightly voiced his concern as to whether there had been an alteration to Hansard. But it concerns me that the Leader of the House, I believe, has thrown discredit on the Government because something like 50 per cent of the members of the Australian Labor Party in the last election received, as I understand it, something less than 50 per cent of the primary votes cast. I believe that the Minister has thrown disrespect on all honourable members of this House who were elected by a valid electoral system which has been followed by this Parliament under laws properly adopted by this Parliament. He has thrown doubt on their ability to represent adequately the electorates that they serve here.

I regard this as a serious derogation of his duty and his responsibility. He, as Leader of this House, should know better than to cast aspersion on members who are rightly elected under the laws of this Parliament to serve their constituencies. As my colleague, the honourable member for Mackellar, so right'y says he is the Minister in charge of the Electoral Act. He, above all others, should know the terms of that Act. Every member of this House has been validly elected. Every member here is elected under a system of proportional representation which enables each individual elector of Australia to be given a fair, adequate and open opportunity to cast his primary vote and his preference vote. I believe that it ill serves the interests of this Parliament that the Leader of this House should so cast aspersions, particularly in relation to the Australian Country Party and, equally, in relation to other members of this Parliament.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the resolution of the House, the House stands adjourned until Tuesday, 11 September, at 11 a.m. or until such time thereafter as Mr Speaker takes the Chair.

Mouse adjourned at 11 p.m., until Tuesday, 11 September, at 11 a.m. or until such time thereafter as Mr Speaker takes the Chair.







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