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1891 Australasian Federation Conference
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THURSDAY, 2 APRIL, 1891.

Commonwealth of Australia Bill-Adjournment.

The PRESIDENT took the chair at 11 a.m.

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA BILL.

In Committee (consideration resumed from 1st April):

CHAPTER I.-THE LEGISLATURE.

Part II.-The Senate.

Clause 9. The senate shall be composed of eight members for each state, directly chosen by the houses of the parliament of the several states during a session thereof, and each senator shall have one vote.

The term for which a senator is chosen shall be six years.

Upon which Mr. Munro had moved by way of amendment:

That the word "eight," line 2, be omitted with a view to the insertion in its place of the word "six."

Amendment negatived.

Mr. KINGSTON: I move:

That the words "directly chosen by the houses of the parliament of the several states during a session thereof" be omitted.

My object in moving the amendment is to introduce an amendment into clause 10 which would give the legislatures of the states an opportunity of deciding this matter for themselves and adopting such system as may commend itself to their judgment. It seems to me that a matter which affects solely the representation of a, state in the senate might well be left to, the state legislature. This point cropped up in a discussion which took place in the Federal Council, when the expediency of uniformity, was urged by some members; but the conclusion which was then arrived at, and which appears to me at the present moment to be unexceptionable, was that the federation were not concerned as to the mode in which the states selected their representatives as long as the people of the state were satisfied as to the system adopted, and the chief object of the system of representation was gained. And it was felt that it would be an unnecessary interference with state autonomy to prescribe a hard and fast rule, which could not be altered except by means of an alteration of the constitution of the federation. Of course there is something to be said in favour of the adoption of a uniform system; at the same time it appears to me that there is a great deal more to be said in favour of allowing the question to be settled by the deliberate vote of the state legislatures representing the people. I do not think we would be justified in adopting the, clause as it is, seeing that the effect of it is to deprive the people of a direct vote in the choice of their representatives. No [start page 591] doubt there is a great deal to be said in favour of the system which is suggested here, particularly on the score of

uniformity, to which I have already referred. But I would point out that it does not establish a uniform system exactly, because when it is provided that the two houses of the parliament of each state shall select the senators, we must not lose sight of the fact that the houses of parliament in different colonies are differently constituted, and that whilst in some colonies both houses are elected, in other cases the upper house is purely nominative, and thereby a vote is given in some colonies to members who owe their position to the voice of the people, whilst in the other cases no such attributes can be claimed in respect of at least one branch of the legislature. I think that if we were to decide upon the necessity of prescribing a fixed regulation of the subject, the better course would be to give the power of election to the people themselves, of course voting, probably for the whole of the colony, in a larger constituency than those which are prescribed in connection with the election of members of the house of representatives. But under all the circumstances, seeing that uniformity, which is the object of clause 9, cannot be attained by the means sought, seeing more over that uniformity is of less importance than the giving of satisfaction to the people of the different states. I propose, therefore to omit the words, "directly chosen by the houses of parliament of the several states during a session thereof," with a view to the subsequent amendment of clause 10 in the direction of giving each state legislature an opportunity to decide the question for itself in such manner as it thinks best. I do not see why we should interfere between the people of the different states and the exercise of their free choice in the matter of these appointments.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: This matter was very fully considered by the Constitutional Committee, and, if I remember rightly, was discussed pretty fully in the Convention beforehand. Briefly stated, the reasons which prevailed with the majority of the committee were these: that it is very important that the senate of the commonwealth should be in direct touch with the parliaments of the several states. It has been found in the United States that the election of members to the state parliaments may often be determined by the views held by the candidates as to the proper persons to be elected to the Senate. Again, unless the course proposed were taken the senators would not necessarily be representing the same kind of constituency at all. For instance, in one state they might represent the property-holders of the state, and in another state universal suffrage, and one man one vote. The senators ought to be a homogeneous body, and it was thought that the best way to indicate that would be to say that they should be directly chosen by the members of the houses of parliament-as houses of parliament and not as the legislature.

Mr. DEAKIN: Separately or conjointly?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That we leave to them to settle. But it was thought best to allow the parliament of the commonwealth to adopt a uniform mode if it thought fit.

Mr. DEAKIN: There is one point which, I fancy, was not insisted upon with sufficient force in the argument of the hon. member, Mr. Kingston. The colonies are not represented by upper houses of the same stamp-that is to say, three of them have nominee upper houses, and even in those colonies which have elective upper houses, there are restrictive or property qualifications. Under this proposition you are prepared to endow members of nominee houses with power equivalent to that of members of elective houses, and you are endowing members elected by a limited franchise with equal power so far as their [start page 592] numbers go to that exercised by the popular branch of the legislature. A proposition infinitely more acceptable than that would be that the government should nominate the senators and be responsible for their nomination.

Mr. KINGSTON: That might be prescribed by the state parliament!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: And the government might be turned out of office the next day!

Mr. DEAKIN: Parliament would have it in its power to take precautions to prevent an accident of that kind, and even if it did occur, it would be, to my mind, an infinitely better method, notwithstanding all its objections to that proposed in this clause. The proposition as it stands is not without many advantages. Much might be urged in favour of it if this were the time to urge it. But it

has this disadvantage, that it interferes with the liberty of the several colonies to select the method they believe the best, and that it endows members of nominee houses, and members of houses elected by a restrictive franchise, with equal authority, so far as numbers go, with that of members of houses elected on a popular basis. If objection be taken to nominations by the government on account of the possibility of their leaving office, that is at once met by entrusting the election of members of the senate to the popular branch, or to the two chambers, if both be elected by the whole people. That would bring the senate into line with the American Senate, because in the United States the same body of electors returning the houses of representatives return the senates in the several states. There can be no objection in principle to that proposal. The Convention would do well to lay down that principle-to provide either that the senate shall be elected by the popular branch of the legislature alone or by the two chambers where they are elected upon the same franchise.

Dr. COCKBURN: Perhaps the best way would be to have the senators elected directly by the people, because the judgment of the people as a whole is better than the judgment of any section. But that is going too far. I therefore support the amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Kingston. In addition to the difficulty of nominee houses, there is also another difficulty arising out of the election of senators by the houses of legislature in America. The election of senators is a matter of great importance, and in the absence of distinct party lines-of course it is not a certainty that that would be the case here, still such a state of things may develop-the election of particular persons as senators may become a matter of great importance to the state, and the result would be that if shortly after the election of the local legislature an election of senators were imminent the question of election to the local legislature might turn, as it does in America, upon the persons for whom the candidates would vote as senators if returned to the local house of parliament. Therefore you get local matters mixed up with the personal question of who is to be a senator, and that is a distinct disadvantage. If our local legislatures are to perform in the future the important functions they have performed in the past, their members should be elected upon the question of measures rather than upon the question of men; and I can conceive that if in future the senators were elected by the local legislatures the whole question as to what persons should be returned to the local legislatures may turn upon the pledges given by them as to their votes for senators. This is a disturbing element, and I think the best thing we can do will be to give power to each state to elect senators as their experience may prove best.

Mr. WRIXON: I fail to follow the force of the objections urged by the hon. [start page 593] member. If a state chooses to have a nominee house for the purposes of all legislation, it should also be allowed to have a nominee house for this purpose. It is for the state to say whether it likes a nominee house or not. We do not interfere with that, and if it has a nominee house for all purposes of general legislation, why should it not have a nominee house for this particular purpose?

Mr. KINGSTON: If it is for the state itself to say whether it shall have a nominee house or not, surely we may give to it the privilege of determining the mode in which it will elect representatives to the senate. I think, therefore, that the hon. member's argument supports my contention. Various systems have been suggested for the election of senators by the different states. It has been thought by one hon. member that the best plan would be to allow them to be nominated by the government of the day; and another suggestion, with which I have considerable sympathy is that there might be an election by the whole colony voting as one constituency. The solution of the difficulty, however, seems to be rather in the direction of the amendment I now move, namely, that each state shall, from time to time, settle the question. Something was said on a previous occasion as to the impropriety of restricting a somewhat similar matter by a resolution of this Convention to be embodied in the imperial bill. Does it not strike hon. members that there is room for considerable difference of opinion as to what is the best course; and why, under these circumstances, should we deny to the various states power to decide the question for themselves in such a shape as may seem to them best? The sole argument used against it has reference to uniformity. We do not obtain uniformity in the clause before us. Why, then, should we reject the amendment which gives to each colony an opportunity of solving the problem as regards the mode of election of senators? What have the other colonies to do with the question so long as the state is satisfied? If we carry this clause the result will be that although future experience may prove to us that a different plan might be adopted, and one estate might be

particularly desirous of adopting that plan, still no effect could be given to its wish except by an amendment of the constitution, involving the passing of certain laws by specified majorities and appeals to conventions of all the states on a question in which only one state might have a particular interest. We have had it urged at various times that we should not interfere unnecessarily with the self governing capacities of the different states. Surely in this matter, simply referring to the mode in which they should elect their senators, they ought to have the opportunity of exercising their powers to the very fullest extent in such manner as they think best. It is with that object only that I propose the amendment.

Mr. MUNRO: When I first read the amendment I did not agree with it; but after looking carefully at the 1st and 2nd clauses I think the amendment is a proper one, because it leaves to each state the power of making its own arrangements for electing its senators. Why should we dictate to the states on that subject? There is no provision made in the clause of the bill as to the mode in which the houses of parliament are to carry out the election. The 1st clause says:

The senate shall be composed of eight members for each state, directly chosen by the houses of the parliament of the several states during a session thereof, and each senator shall have one vote.

That does not provide how it is to be done. The next clause says:

The parliament of the commonwealth may make laws prescribing a uniform manner of choosing the senators. Subject to any such law the parliament of each state may determine the time, place, and manner of choosing the senators for that state by the hou parliament thereof.

[start page 594] Surely that is sufficient if we strike out the words the hon. member, Mr. Kingston, desires to strike out. The 2nd clause makes provision for the first election, and then afterwards the parliament of each state can make its own arrangements.

Sir JOHN DOWNER: How could we get the first senate?

Mr. MUNRO: By an addition to the 1st clause, after striking out the lines proposed, that the local parliaments of the various states shall make provision for the first election.

Mr. PLAYFORD: This is a point on which we can consult the experience of America, where exactly the same clause has worked for 100 years. I have never learned that they desire to alter their mode of electing senators. It is a great deal better that we should say distinctly that the parliaments of the colonies should elect the senate in the way they have said it in America, than that we should leave it to the different states to decide the manner and mode of elections. If the states decided the question we might have a considerable amount of difference in the mode. We know that the American system has given eminent satisfaction; but we have no means of knowing whether the system proposed by the hon. member, Mr. Kingston, would give equal satisfaction. If the hon. member wishes to carry out his idea, certainly he should not strike out the words he proposes to omit, for this reason: you must provide some mode of election of the senators so as to give the different states an opportunity of deciding how they will elect them, because through some obstinate lower or upper house in some of the states a deadlock might occur, and they might not be able to decide in time for an election on any particular lines. Consequently there would be no persons chosen to represent the state. The hon. member would, therefore, do better to leave the words as they are, fixing this mode "until the states otherwise direct." I would very much like to give the states the power to decide as to the manner and mode of electing senators if I thought it would be productive of good results; but with the experience of the United States before us I do not think we can do better than to adopt their form of election.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I quite agree with the remarks which have been made by the hon. member, Mr. Playford. Our chief consideration should be which method is likely to give to the senate the very best men that each colony can send. I apprehend that this clause does not limit the choice of the states

to the members of their parliaments. They can go outside for the best men; and, undoubtedly, if they feel the importance of the senate to this now commonwealth, they will seek the very best men, wherever they are to be found. We can credit the various parliaments with that patriotic feeling. Undoubtedly, if you take the power of choice from the parliaments and give it to the people you have no security of the same value as to choice of the best men. If the senators were appointed by a popular vote, that vote would have to be given either by the colony as a whole or by subdivisions. Does the hon. member, Mr. Kingston, consider that the very best men in any of the colonies would subject themselves to the worry of a canvass over such an enormous area? With the election of senators by the colony as a whole you could not have the same confidence in their choice as you would in the choice of a parliament. I do not say that the choice of the people would not be valuable. But for the particular function which the senate has to discharge in the constitution, there would be much more security in having the senators chosen by the representatives of the people than there would be by the adoption of any other course. It is not because I think that the people would make a bad choice, but because I [start page 595] think the parliaments would make a better one that I shall vote for the clause as it stands.

Mr. GILLIES: It strikes me that some of the hon. members who are supporting the motion of the hon. member, Mr. Kingston, have for a moment forgotten the object of establishing two houses in this constitution. The house of representatives will be elected directly by the people in the various states; the senate is intended to be a house not directly elected by the people of the various states, but elected indirectly by those people. Some hon. members, perhaps, may entertain the idea that it would be a wise thing to have the two houses elected on exactly the same basis. I very much doubt that, so far as our experience goes. I more than doubt it. The frequency of the chances of collision would be much more likely to be numerous than very few. The house of representatives, directly elected by the people in the various states, having granted to it great powers, especially in the direction in which a popular house of parliament is most powerful, and being looked upon by the general community as truly representing the whole community, not merely apart of it, we must not forget that it will be very powerful indeed. I do wonder that gentlemen who have been speaking of state rights should be among those who advocate leaving it to the various states to determine whether we should not have two houses exactly similarly representing the people. I venture to say that that would be extremely unwise. Here we have endeavoured as nearly as possible not only to have a house of representatives representing the whole of the people, but also a second branch representing the legislature of each colony. I do not know whether my learned friend here would like to say, in the election of members to the senate by any state, that that should be done by plebiscite, or that the whole of that state should be converted into one electorate for the purpose of returning the whole of the members to represent it. What might result? You might have a state with a constituency of 250,000 electors representing the whole of the people, and the whole of the members of the senate might have to be returned by one electorate, and they might be able to return the whole of the representatives by a majority of a few dozen or a few thousands. Will any one tell me that that would be a true representation of the people in the senate, a true representation of the whole people? Why, it might be a representation by a simple majority of only one interest and one section. I say that no community could live under such a representation as that. There would arise from one end of the colony to the other a howl of indignation at the idea of one section only being represented, whilst an enormous minority would not have a single representative. All the great colonies, as far as the popular assemblies are concerned, are naturally divided into districts. Why? Because it is the desire of the people as a whole to see that every class of the population in their respective districts are fairly represented. By that means you secure the most true representation of the people as a whole that you can get, instead of having the whole of the colony as one single electorate returning the whole of the members to the federal parliament. This would be perfectly possible under the system which my hon. friend proposes. He says it should be left to each state to say how it proposes to return its representatives. The original idea was that we were to have two branches of the legislature, not to be elected exactly front the same source-the people to elect the house of representatives, and the parliament to elect the other, representing, as they do now, substantially the people as a whole. I concur with my hon. and learned colleagues Mr. Wrixon, [start page 596] that after all we have nothing to say as to how any one branch of the legislature of the colony is elected. That is their business. They have deliberately chosen in

some cases to be content with houses of assembly elected from the people, and a second house, the legislative council, in some cases elected by the people, in other cases nominated. If the people of the colony are content with having a nominated upper house, that is their business and not ours, so that to use that as an argument against allowing the two houses of any state to jointly, or in any such way as they may determine, elect members of the senate appears altogether unsound. I do trust hon. members who have, I may say, suddenly started this view, because it was not seriously advocated in the Constitutional Committee, will take to heart what the hon. member, Mr. Playford, said. It is not an unlikely thing that if it was determined by population instead of by the legislature that it should be a plebiscite that a whole colony should be formed into one constituency, the second branch of the legislature would never consent. I say we should be proposing in this case to create difficulties which are wholly unnecessary. If any one said that we should not get a true representation of the opinion of the people in any colony by allowing parliament to elect members of the senate as they think proper, I think they are in error. I believe that if the legislature in each of the states were permitted to select their representatives in the senate, their selection would fall upon gentlemen who, as a whole, would satisfy the people. I think that the proper thing to do is to allow the second branch of the federal parliament, to be elected on a different basis and under different circumstances from those under which the members of the popular branch are elected. I venture to say we shall make a mistake if we attempt by any means to elect an upper house of parliament or senate on almost exactly the same basis as the popular branch. The two are intended to exercise different functions-functions in some respects, not in all, equal. And I desire to see maintained, not only in the federal parliament, but also in all the states on the continent, the principle that the two houses of parliament shall not be chosen from exactly the same individuals, but each on some different basis.

Mr. KINGSTON: In regard to the mode in which the amendment is introduced, it is my desire to meet the wishes of those delegates who are chiefly responsible for the framing of the bill. I have moved to amend clause 9, and propose, if the House affirms its desire to strike out the words in question, to amend clause 10 so as to provide for a certain system to be adopted until the legislature of any state provides otherwise. As to the remarks of the hon. member, Mr. Gillies, as to the merits of indirect election, I confess that I do not recognise the system of indirect election as having any particular virtue. What I understand we are endeavouring to do is to provide for the creation of two houses of the federal parliament, in one of which the people at large will be represented, and in the other the state interests shall be particularly conserved. And it seems to me that under these circumstances, as long as the state itself is satisfied as to the mode in which the custodians of its interests are appointed, we have no reason to interfere, and further, as to the reference made by my hon. colleague to the system which obtains, and has obtained for a considerable period, in the, United States, I think he somewhat overlooked the fact that the system of uniformity that was adopted has been subjected to very considerable criticism; that there is by no means that unanimity of sentiment on the expediency of maintaining it which his remarks would suggest. In [start page 597] this connection I would like to refer to a note which occurs in "Bryce." It is as follows:-

A proposal recently made to amend the federal constitution by taking the election of senators away from the legislatures in order to vest it in the people of each state is approved by some judicious publicists who think that bad candidates will have less chance with the party at large and the people than they now have in bodies apt to be controlled by a knot of party managers. A nomination made for a popular election will at least be made publicly, whereas now a nomination for an election by a legislature may be made secretly.

Giving the fullest force to the arguments which have been advanced in favour of the system which is prescribed in the bill, it seems to me that they simply amount to this: that at the present there is a strong feeling in favour of the system which is suggested, and it is unlikely that it will be altered; it is probable rather that it will give satisfaction to all the states. That seems to me to amount to this: that even if we give power to the states to provide a different mode of election, they will not exercise it. But is that any reason why we should prevent them if they should hit upon a better plan of giving effect to their wishes in such a manner as would be most expedient? It seems to me that the argument does not warrant the further conclusion which is suggested, and I trust that the decision of the

Committee will be to give the states the fullest power to deal with the question as they think fit. No doubt, in the first instance, it will be necessary to lay down and provide for a system of election which shall be uniform. It is highly probable that a system of the character which we now find contained within the four corners of the bill will commend itself to the majority of the states; but if that be so, it simply points to the improbability of the power of alteration being exercised by each state. It certainly does not warrant the contention that no power should be given to the state to alter the system by which it elects its senators, however strongly it may feel on the subject.

Sir GEORGE GREY: I desire to state that I feel quite convinced that the proposal made by the hon. delegate, Mr. Kingston, is one that recommends itself for our adoption. His proposal is simply this: that the states themselves shall have the power of deciding the manner in which the election of senators shall be made. All the suppositions that have been made that we should not give this power because it might be wrongly used, and all the suppositions made that it is desirable to give it because it would be wisely exercised, ought not to influence us. What we do is not to prescribe any one mode of choice, but to leave to the states themselves the power of deciding how the elections shall be conducted. I shall certainly support that, and for an additional reason, that I am convinced that the great danger in these elections is that the power may fall almost entirely into the hands of capital. I think in the bill, as it stands, we are in some instances absolutely legislating to obtain that end. I think that must be the case where there are nominated upper houses, which there will be great difficulty indeed of getting rid of, because a nominated upper house is not likely to destroy itself. The existence of a nominated upper house is no proof, as it has been argued, that the people are contented with it. Personally I am absolutely discontented with a nominated upper house, and I have for years struggled in vain to see it put an end to; and I believe that that is the case with a very large number of persons in the whole of Australasia. I shall therefore certainly support the proposal of the hon. member, Mr. Kingston, which I think is perfectly justified, giving as it does full liberty to the people of each state to determine from time to time, as they think fit, the manner in which the senators shall be chosen.

[start page 598] Sir HENRY PARKES: The hon. and distinguished delegate who has just sat down spoke under a misapprehension, into which I fear other hon. members have fallen. He distinctly stated that he desired to leave to each state the manner of electing its delegates. So do we all, and that is distinctly provided in the bill; but what the motion of the hon. delegate, Mr. Kingston, says is quite a different thing. He is not dissatisfied with the provision made in the bill for the manner in which each state is to elect its members; but he does a thing which I think was never proposed before-he leaves to each state the power to create the constituency. Now, in every constitution act that I ever heard of the constituency is created by the act itself. This bill does that; but it leaves the manner of the exercising of the rights of that constituency entirely to the states. It follows as a logical sequence, I think, that if you leave the creation of the constituency in regard to the senate to the states, you must also leave the creation of the constituency in regard to the assembly to the states. I cannot see why you should leave the states to create one of these constituencies unless you go and leave it to them to create the other constituency also. The hon. member would divest the bill of all intimation as to what the constituency of the senate should be, and the states would severally have to create their own constituencies. I am entirely in favour of leaving to the states the fullest possible liberty in saying how they will elect their delegates; but that is quite a different thing from leaving them to create the constituency from which those delegates are to be elected. I do not know whether it is worth while to say a word in reference to this argument against nominee houses. Nominee houses exist, and as they exist for all the high purposes of legislation-they have never existed with my consent or vote-surely they may exist for the purpose of electing members for the senate of federated Australia. The incapacity of nominee chambers to elect members of the senate when they are given full power to make all laws whatever hardly admit of argument. For my part I am satisfied with the clause, though it does not exactly represent my own wishes.

Mr. KINGSTON: I do not wish to trespass upon the time of the Committee, except for the argument advanced by the hon. delegate who has just sat down. He argued that if it is in the power of the legislature of a state to create the constituency for one house it ought also to have the power to

create the constituency for the other. Now, clause 25 gives this power to the legislature of the state as far as the house of representatives is concerned. It gives it a power to define the qualifications of the electors, which certainly amounts to the creation of the constituencies.

Sir HENRY PARKES: Certainly not!

Mr. KINGSTON: It certainly appears to me that, under the circumstances, the argument of the hon. gentleman tells in favour of the proposition I have advocated.

Question-That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the clause-put. The Committee divided:

Ayes, 34; noes, 6; majority, 28.

AYES.

Atkinson, Sir Harry Gillies, Mr.

Baker, Mr. Griffith, Sir Samuel

Barton, Mr. Hackett, Mr.

Bird, Mr. Jennings, Sir Patrick

Bray, Sir John Loton, Mr.

Brown, Mr. Macdonald-Paterson, Mr.

Burgess, Mr. Marmion, Mr.

Clark, Mr. McMillan, Mr.

Cuthbert, Mr. Moore, Mr.

Dibbs, Mr. Parkes, Sir Henry

Donaldson, Mr. Playford, Mr.

Douglas, Mr. Adye Russell, Captain

Downer, Sir John Rutledge, Mr.

Fitzgerald, Mr. Smith, Colonel

Forrest, Mr. A. Suttor, Mr.

Forrest, Mr. J. Wright, Mr.

Fysh, Mr. Wrixon, Mr.

[start page 599]

NOES.

Cockburn, Dr. Grey, Sir George

Deakin, Mr. Kingston, Mr.

Gordon, Mr. Munro, Mr.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment (by Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH) proposed:

That lines 6 and 7 be omitted with a view to the insertion of the words "The senators shall be chosen for a term of six years. The names of the senators chosen in each state shall be certified by the governor to the governor-general."

Sir JOHN BRAY: I should like to ask the hon. gentleman whether he thinks the latter portion of the amendment is necessary?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I do really!

Sir JOHN BRAY: It seems to me to be unnecessary. Is provision made for the absence of a governor for any length of time?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Yes; provision for his deputy to act is contained in the bill!

Sir JOHN BRAY: If the hon. gentleman undertakes to provide for it I am satisfied.

Amendment agreed to; clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 10. The parliament of the commonwealth may make laws prescribing a uniform manner of choosing the senators. Subject to any such law the parliament of each state may determine the time, place, and manner of choosing the senators for that state by the houses of parliament thereof.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: My hon. and learned friend, Mr. Barton, has made a suggestion, which, I think, is of great value-that is, to omit the words, "the parliament of the commonwealth," where ever they occur in the bill, and to put in "the commonwealth, “because, as he points out, the parliament is only the instrument by which the commonwealth makes the laws. If the suggestion does not commend itself to hon. gentlemen generally I will say nothing further about it. An hon. member, I think Sir John Downer, yesterday suggested that the expression "subject to any such law" might be misunderstood, and might be taken to indicate that there must be a law of that kind. I think that the words are sufficient; but they are not quite clear, and it would be better, therefore, to say "subject to such laws, if any." There could be no possible doubt then as to what is meant. I think that any doubt that arises and is pointed out ought to be met at once. This instrument ought to be perfectly free from ambiguity. I therefore move:

That the words "any such law," line 4, be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "such laws, if any."

Amendment agreed to; clause, as amended, agreed to.

Mr. DEAKIN: I trust that the members of the Convention will take a little time to consider the proposal which has emanated from the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton, which appears to me a most excellent one, both as regards abbreviation, for which it offers another opportunity-

The CHAIRMAN: The clause is passed.

Mr. DEAKIN: I hope the question will be raised again and considered.

The CHAIRMAN: We can recommit the bill.

Clause 12. As soon as practicable after the senate is assembled in consequence of the first election the senators chosen for each state shall be divided by lot into two classes. The places of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the third year, and the places of those of the second class at the expiration of the sixth year, from the commencement of their term of service as herein declared, so that one-half may be chosen every third year. The term of service of a senator shall begin on and be reckoned from the first day of January next succeeding the day of his election, except in the case of the first election, when it shall be reckoned from the first day of January preceding the day of his election, The election of senators to fill the places of retiring senators shall be made in the year preceding the day on which the retiring senators are to retire.

[start page 600] Colonel SMITH: I should like to call the attention of the hon. and learned member, Sir Samuel Griffith, to the word "class." I think that the word "section” would be better.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I remember that yesterday an hon. gentleman suggested to me that the words "in consequence of the first election" are awkward. They were used so as to avoid a repetition of the word "after." There is, of course, a difference between the American Constitution and this in that respect. In America they were assembled "in consequence of the first election"; here they would be assembled in consequence of the governor-general's proclamation calling them together; and that is a difference. We inserted those words after very careful consideration; but, nevertheless, objections have been urged since which I think are worthy of consideration.

Mr. BAKER: I suggest that it would be better to insert the word "first" after the word "is," so as to make the clause read, "As soon as practicable after the senate is first assembled." I move:

That the clause be amended by inserting the word "first" after the word "is," line 2.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That is right that is the best amendment!

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment (by Mr. BAKER) agreed to That the clause be further amended by omitting the words "in consequence of the first election," lines 2 and 3.

Colonel SMITH: I think that the clause should be further amended by omitting the word "classes," line 4, and inserting the word "sections."

Mr. FITZGERALD: I suggest to the hon. member the substitution of the word "groups."

Mr. PLAYFORD: "Classes" is the word used in the American Constitution.

The CHAIRMAN: Does the hon. member, Colonel Smith, move the amendment?

Colonel SMITH: No, I will not press that; but the clause says:

The term of service of a senator shall begin on and be reckoned from the first day of January next succeeding.

A man might be elected in June, and for six months really not be a member. I would suggest that the words "the first day of January next succeeding" be struck out. The clause goes on to say:

Except in the case of the first election, when it shall be reckoned from the first day of January preceding the day of his election.

He might be elected in December, and might have the £500 in the beginning of January. I think we should make both date from the day of his election. I think that the clause should read, "The term of service of a senator shall begin on and be reckoned from the day of his election," and that we should strike out the words "the first day of January next succeeding," otherwise he might be put back six months.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: On consideration the hon. gentleman will, I think, see that the clause is properly framed. The intention is that each senator shall hold office for a term of three years, and that term must be the same three years. It is intended that half the senate shall be periodically renewed at intervals of three years. The parliaments of the different states meet at different times; some meet in June, some early in the year, and New South Wales at various times-sometimes in February, often in November. The election of the senators must be during a session of parliament. Well, then, if there is to be a uniform time for renewal, it must clearly be some time after the sessions commence. Then you guarantee that every parliament will have sat, and had an opportunity to elect senators to take the seats of persons who retire on a fixed day. That is the only way to secure uniformity of time of retirement and certainty that the men will be there.

[start page 601] They will be elected in advance in fact. But if you applied that rule to the first senators they would sit for four sessions; because, when the constitution is brought into operation there must be a session of parliament in each state immediately afterwards in order to provide constituencies and fix the mode of electing senators, and during that session the houses of parliament will elect their senators. That would be immediately followed by the first session of the parliament of the commonwealth. The senators will sit during that session of parliament, which will almost certainly be in the same year, and they will sit during the two following sessions; so that though they will not be in office for three calendar years they will be in office for three sessions of the parliament. That is how we worked it out, and I think it will come out all right.

Sir JOHN BRAY: What the hon. gentleman has said is quite right so far as the purposes of this section are concerned as regards reckoning the time of retirement. But in another part of the bill it is provided that the senators are to be paid for their services, and the question arises, does the term of service of a senator for the purposes of payment begin from the date of his election, from the date when he is sworn in, or from the first day of January?

HON. MEMBERS: On the day when he is sworn in!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Surely when his

service begins!

Sir: I think we ought to have that fixed. It seems to me very undesirable to provide, as suggested by Colonel Smith, that although a senator is elected in June, his term of service and payment for service shall not begin until the following January.

Mr. CLARK: He will not do anything until the following January!

Sir JOHN BRAY: For the purposes of retirement, a date should be fixed from which the time should be reckoned; but for all other purposes a senator ought to be a senator from the day he is chosen.

Mr. BAKER: How can he be when there is another man in his place?

Sir JOHN BRAY: I can quite see that for the purposes of this section the provision as contained in the clause is right; but, as regards other portions of the bill, it seems to me that it is not right, and the question ought to be clearly understood.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: So far as the objection with regard to payment is concerned, there is a good deal in it, and the matter should be dealt with now. The clause only deals with the first senators. Afterwards the term of service begins on the 1st of January. I suppose a senator can hardly be called a senator until the 1st of January arrives. He will be a senator elect, but he will not be a senator really until that day. If parliament is in session on the 1st of January, he will walk in and take his seat, and the other man will walk out, and his pay, I apprehend, will begin on the same day. But the hon. member has pointed out a blot with respect to the first senators. A man might be elected in December and claim twelve months' pay, dating from the previous January. This, I think, would be remedied by inserting in the second paragraph the words "for the purposes of his retirement."

Mr. WRIXON: The matter will want a little thinking over, because I apprehend a man is not a senator until he presents himself and takes the oath.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Why not?

Mr. WRIXON: He might refuse to take the oath, and so would be disqualified from the beginning. It is not until be presents himself and takes the oath that he is really a senator. He is in potentiality a senator; but he is not completely clad in that position until he [start page 602] appears at the table and takes the oath, and I apprehend he is not entitled to payment until that takes place. I would suggest that it is somewhat hazardous to make an amendment at the table in a bill of this kind, which has been carefully considered; and if these matters are home in mind, they can be afterwards dealt with by the draftsman. I would deprecate any hurried amendment on the spot, where it may not be required.

Sir HARRY ATKINSON: The clause states that the term of service of a senator shall not begin until the 1st January following the day of his election. If a vacancy occurs, and a senator is elected in June, he then becomes a senator; but, according to this part of the clause, he cannot become an actual senator until the following January. Though parliament might be in session, he would be unable to take his seat. I would suggest to the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, that he should take a note of this point, and consider it. I do not think we could make any amendment here that would meet the case. For the purposes of this particular clause the provision is right enough; but I think there will be a difficulty in regard to payment, and also as to vacancies occurring.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I quite agree with Sir Samuel Griffith, that if we are not to overlook this question entirely it ought to be settled somewhere in this clause, and if the hon. gentleman sees no strong objection to such a course I shall move the insertion at the beginning of the second paragraph of the words "for the purposes of this section." It would be manifestly absurd in regard to the first election of senators to say that if a man is elected in September or October the term of his service shall begin from the preceding January, and that he shall be entitled to all the privileges of a senator from that date. It is quite possible that this may not be the best amendment that can ultimately be made, but it seems to me clear that the second paragraph was drawn with the idea, that it applied to this section only and not to other portions of the bill. I beg, therefore, to move as an amendment:

That before the words "The term of service" line 11, the words "For the purposes of this section" be inserted.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That is quite correct: those are the right words!

Amendment agreed to.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: In reference to the point raised by the hon. member, Sir Harry Atkinson, in regard to vacancies occurring by death, the difficulty would be met by substituting for the words "retiring senators" the words "senators retiring by rotation."

Amendment (by Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH) proposed:

That the words retiring senators," line 17, be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words "senators retiring by rotation."

Mr. MARMION: Is this intended to refer to senators retiring by rotation throughout, or only in the first instance?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Always!

Mr. MARMION: It seems to me that there are two portions of the bill which may be affected by the proposed amendment. In the first place, unless it is distinctly laid down in the bill that a senator, though elected, does not become a senator until the 1st of January, there will be during that interval twelve senators instead of eight; because there will be four who will not retire for some considerable period after the election. There is another view of the case. A senator may be prevented for a period from holding his seat in the local house of representatives. When he is elected to the senate, he cannot sit any longer in the state house of representatives, and if his election to the senate takes place some time prior to the end of the year, unless it is distinctly laid down that the mere fact of his election [start page 603] does not make him a senator, he will be obliged to retire from the local house of representatives.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: There is no doubt a little difficulty. In the cases of which we have experience, members of parliament are elected by a constituency that may be said to be in permanent session. Here we have to deal with the case of a constituency which is in session only sometimes. We must, therefore, deal specially with it. There cannot be more than eight senators at a time. There will be eight senators and four senators elect; for a senator elect is not a senator until his term begins. There is no reason why a member of the house of representatives should not be elected to be a senator in June; next January he becomes a senator and ceases to be a member of the house of representatives.

Amendment agreed to; clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 13. If the place of a senator becomes vacant during the recess of the parliament of the state which he represented, the governor of the state, by and with the advice of the executive council thereof, may appoint a senator to fill such vacancy until the next session of the parliament of the state, when the houses of parliament shall choose a senator to fill the vacancy.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I think the Convention should give a little consideration to this clause. It appears to me that it would be far better to leave the vacancy open until the parliament of the state resumed than to give the governor of the state power to make an appointment which might not afterwards be ratified by the Parliament. That would be a very humiliating position to put a gentleman in who had been a senator for perhaps two or three months.

Mr. PLAYFORD: It is only "may" appoint!

Mr. FITZGERALD: It is a "may" on which in most cases the governor-in-council will act, and undoubtedly without adding to the dignity of the senate, and possibly to the great humiliation of the occupant of the office. Seeing that each colony will have eight senators, I cannot see how the efficiency of the senate will be at all interfered with because there happens to be one vacancy, or even two, any more than it would if there were one or two absentees. I certainly think it would redound more to the dignity of the senate that a vacancy should continue until the parliament of the state

resumed. I do not intend to move any amendment, but merely offer the suggestion for the consideration of hon. members.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The observations of the hon. member deserve a good deal of consideration; but probably, the senate being a small house, one member of a state may be of great importance.

Mr. FITZGERALD: It cuts both ways though!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: One vote may be of very great importance.

Mr. FITZGERALD: To that state!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I am quite sure that a populous state like Victoria, which has a proportionately small representation in the senate, would not like important business to be carried in that house by a majority of perhaps one or two when one or two of their senators were dead or had retired.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Still less to have important things done by a nominee in whose choice the parliament had no voice!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I do not know; but I think the Parliament of Victoria, if nominees were appointed by the executive council, would practically be represented fairly for that purpose, because an appointment would only be made if there were some urgent necessity for the colony having its full representation.

Mr. BARTON: I think there is a great deal in what has been suggested by the hon. member, Mr. Fitzgerald. The nominee principle is not entering into the [start page 604] composition of the senate in general, and it would seem to be rather an unwise thing to mix up the operation of two principles in this way. It would be far better to put up with the occasional loss which might be suffered by the absence of one senator out of eight than to have a nominee exercising the important functions intrusted to an elected senator. In order that the matter may be fairly considered, I move:

That the clause be amended by the omission of the following words:-"I the governor of the state, by and with the advice of the executive council thereof, may appoint a senator to fill such vacancy until the next session of the parliament of the state, when."

Sir JOHN BRAY: It seems to me that the amendment will hardly accomplish the object of my hon. friend, Mr. Barton. But I do think it is necessary to have some provision for filling, these vacancies. It seems to me that we ought not to allow a senator possibly to be appointed by the government and to have some person chosen in his place immediately afterwards to represent the colony. Under these circumstances, it is far better, I think, that the parliament, if necessary, should be immediately called together to choose a senator, or the matter could be delayed if the senate is not likely to meet. I object altogether to the governor appointing a senator to fill a vacancy. If the amendment be carried it will only apply to filling a vacancy that occurred during a recess of parliament, which of course is not what my hon. and learned friend means. His idea is that if a vacancy occurs whether parliament is in session or in recess it should fill the vacancy. Therefore it is necessary, to strike out the words "during the recess of the parliament."

Mr. BARTON: They should go out. I omitted to include them!

Sir JOHN BRAY: If the hon. member will move the omission of those words I shall support him.

Mr. BARTON: I accept the suggestion of my hon. friend.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I would suggest that it would be better to alter the clause to read as follows:-

That when the place of a senator becomes vacant during a session of the parliament of the state which be represented such vacancy shall continue until the next session of the parliament of the state.

Mr. DEAKIN: The vacancy would continue if you do not make any provision for it. Why this extraordinary alarm and dread of the action of the executive? What is a senator under the constitution as proposed? He is to be elected by the two houses of parliament. And what is the executive? The executive is the acting committee of those houses of parliament which represents, at all events, a majority in one of them, and usually a majority in both of them. What more fitting can it be than that the temporary committee which acts for parliament in every other matter when it is not sitting, which takes upon its shoulders enormous responsibilities in the discharge of its duties out of session trusting to parliament to approve of its action-what possible objection can there be to the committee taking the responsibility before parliament meets of appointing a man to fill a temporary vacancy? The house has the power, and the necessary power if it likes, to afterwards reject the nominee of the government. Any advantage that the government may gain is given to its nominee by the fact of his appointment for a short time, and the claim he might be considered to have on the consideration of his fellow members on that account. That is the only possible circumstance which can be alleged against the proposition. Surely that is a small circumstance. What other proposition can be made which can equal the representative character of an appointment by the permanent executive of parliament, which parliament can itself speedily [start page 605] reverse if it so please. The opposition is rather curious, coming as it does from members of governments who enjoy and exercise many similar prerogatives by the permission and with the authority of parliament; and, surely if a ministry cannot be trusted to make temporary nominations to a house which is to represent its state temporarily and in emergency, what is a government competent to do?

Sir JOHN DOWNER: This clause is no new fangled idea of the committee; but they took it from the most illustrious commonwealth which the world has known, and adopted it practically verbatim as nearly as it could be adopted. In the United States of America a temporary vacancy is filled by the executive in identically the same way which is proposed to be followed here, and certainly no country that we have ever heard of insisted more on the popular voice in the selection of representatives; but still they thought on the other hand it would be far better to have some mode of election for a little while, which was not quite the best that they would like, than be for a time absolutely unrepresented. I can see no objection to the clause.

Mr. GILLIES: Might I make a suggestion to those who appear to object to the clause? I confess I do not see any objection, under the circumstances, to leaving the nomination to the governor-in-council. I would suggest, however, that the matter is of no importance if the federal parliament is not in session, and the chances are that both the local parliaments and the federal parliament will be in session as nearly as possible at one and the same time. If the governor-in-council were only called upon to make an appointment to enable a representative of a state to be present when the Federal Parliament was doing work, we might at once meet the case by providing that in the event of the federal parliament being in session and a vacancy occurring, a nomination might be made by the governor-in-council.

Mr. BARTON: I would mention that if an amendment of this kind is to be made, it had better come in at the end of clause 20, which provides for the notification of vacancies. In that case, it would be better to omit this clause altogether. The 20th clause reads

Upon the happening of a vacancy in the senate, the president, or if there is no president, or the president is absent from the commonwealth, the governor-general shall forthwith notify the same to the governor of the state which the senator whose place is vacated represented.

And we might add the words:

and the houses of parliament of the state shall in their next session choose a senator to fill the vacancy.

Amendment negatived; clause, as read, agreed to.

Clause 15. The qualifications of a senator shall be as follows:-

(1.) He must be of the full age of thirty years, and must, when chosen, be an elector entitled to vote in some state at the election of members of the house of representatives of the commonwealth, and must have been for five years at the least a resident within the limits of the commonwealth as existing at the time when he is chosen;

(2.) He must be either a natural born subject of the Queen, or a subject of the Queen naturalised by or under a law of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the parliament of one of the said colonies, or of the parliament of the commonwealth or of a state.

Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON: I observe in this clause an important qualification-namely, that an aspirant to the position of senator shall have been for at least five years a resident within the limits of the commonwealth. As an Australian of something like thirty years standing, I feel that this period is too short. I think most delegates will admit that you » « cannot » « convert » « a » « new » « chum » « into » « an » « Australian , [start page 606] that you cannot thoroughly tincture him with Australian sentiment and knowledge within a period of five years. Our anticipation is that we shall have purely Australian action, sentiment, and knowledge in the federal parliament, and if hon. members think they will find all these qualities in an individual who has lived in Australia only five years, then I much misapprehend what I have heard during the last thirty years. I respectfully urge hon. members to think the matter over, and with a view to bring it to an issue, and to hear a little discussion on the part of those who are older than myself, I move:

That the word "five," line 8, be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "ten."

Mr. J. FORREST: I altogether disagree with the amendment. I think the clause should contain no qualification of this sort, and that we should trust the various legislatures to do what is beneficial and right in the interests of their respective colonies. The matter would be perfectly secure in the hands of the legislatures. Is it likely that a legislature would elect an unfit person-a person having no knowledge whatever of the state he represented? So far as I am able to judge, no such contingency is likely to arise. In the case of members of the house of representatives no period of residence within the commonwealth is prescribed as a qualification; and if you can trust the people to elect fitting persons to the house of representatives without such a qualification, I can see no reason why you should not place equal trust in the parliaments of the respective colonies. There is another point. We propose to form a commonwealth of Australia, and are we to prohibit people of our own race, born in other portions of the British dominions, from becoming senators until they have been resident in the commonwealth for a certain period? No such prohibition is placed upon Australians residing in the old country. Any Australian, resident in England, can at once, if the electors desire, become a member of the House of Commons, and I see no reason why a distinguished Englishman coming to these colonies should not at once be eligible for the position of senator if the legislature of one of the colonies desired his appointment. I am entirely opposed to the amendment, and if I had my way I would place no more restriction upon the eligibility of senators than we place upon the eligibility of members of the house of representatives.

Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: When the amendment now before the Committee has been disposed of, I propose to move the omission of all the words of the 1st subclause after the first word, "commonwealth."

The CHAIRMAN: The hon. member cannot move such an amendment, unless the amendment now before the Committee be withdrawn.

Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON: I am willing, for the purposes of discussion, to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. ADYE DOUGLAS: I beg to move:

That the words "and must have been," lines 7 and 8, be omitted.

My object is to leave the option of choosing a senator on the same ground as it is left in the case of members of the house of representatives, whose only qualification is that they shall be of full age. It has been admitted by nearly all hon. members that the house of representatives is to have charge of all financial business, and therefore it will be the most important branch of the legislature. Why should a member of that house be admitted without any restriction, while you impose this absurd qualification of five years residence? I presume it must be continuous residence, so that if a man leaves the [start page 607] colony for two or three years, still having property in it, when he returns be will have to serve a sentence of five years residence before he is eligible. Cannot we trust the states legislatures or the people to choose the senators? This is a most absurd restriction, without sense or meaning.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The question deserves consideration. Personally, I confess I do not like the idea of this qualification. I am inclined to agree with the hon. member, Mr. J. Forrest, that the legislatures should be trusted to elect the best men they can find. What is the object of this restriction? To keep out new chums, I hear an hon. member suggest. Why not elect new chums if the states wish to have them as members? I believe in trusting the states as much as possible; surely they are fit to be trusted to select a man, even if be has only been four and a half years in the country, if no better man can be found.

Mr. RUTLEDGE: I think there ought to be some such qualification. The argument used by the hon. member, Mr. J. Forrest, was that it is wrong for us to institute a qualification which does not exist in the case of a person going from Australia to Great Britain. The circumstances are entirely different. We depend in Australia, as the American commonwealth has depended, on immigration. We must have immigration on a very extensive scale before we can fully develop our resources, and accomplish all we hope for as the result of establishing this constitution. We have all kinds of nationalities coming here. There are fairly good men among all nationalities, but if the clause is passed without this qualification a man might come here and, without any knowledge of, or any particular sympathy with, our institutions, would be eligible as a member of the senate. I do not think that that is quite right. I agree with the hon. member, Mr. Macdonald-Paterson, that a man without a short term of residence does not become sufficiently familiar with the habits of Australians, with our ways of thought and modes of action; and we have a particular kind of feeling in which certain characters who come here with new ideas find very suitable opportunities for carrying out their particular projects. We ought not to allow Australia to be a field for exploitation by foreign adventurers. To a great extent we welcome all foreigners, but we ought not to allow persons who perhaps have made themselves rather objectionable in the countries where they have lived to come here, and under the cover of this very liberal provision seek to give effect to the views which they were not able to carry into effect elsewhere. We cannot do better than follow the example of the United States in this respect, which have provided that a man must be 30 years of age before he is eligible as a senator. That is very properly copied in this bill, But it is further provided that a man must be nine years a citizen of the states before he is eligible as a senator.

Mr. J. FORREST: That is with respect to foreigners. This deals with our own race!

Mr. RUTLEDGE: We shall have to depend to a great extent upon foreign immigration.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Are Englishmen to be foreigners to us?

Mr. RUTLEDGE: I certainly think that we ought to require some guarantee from foreigners who come here that they should be qualified for a seat in the senate.

Mr. MARMION: The hon. member, Mr. Rutledge, has alluded to the necessity for immigration from the outside world to this young country. In adopting the line of action which that hon. member seemed inclined to suggest, we should be placing a protective barrier on immigration of the best character, and we would say to men from the outside world of talent and [start page 608] political ability, that they must reside here for a long period of years before they could hold that position to which their ability entitled them. Under the constitutions of most of the Australian colonies, a man cannot become an elector until he has resided in the colony for six or twelve months. Until he becomes an elector, he is not eligible as a Senator, therefore some period of residence must elapse before any new comer is eligible. As to the danger or fear of foreign adventurers being selected by the various parliaments to fill the high position of senators, surely we have more confidence than that in those parliaments. Surely we would not give them such large powers, unless we thought they would be exercised discreetly. Do we imagine for a moment that they would place the great powers given to the senators under the act in the hands of adventurers and strangers? May we not be accused of endeavouring to impose a sort of protection on the introduction of men of genius, talent, and political ability? May we not give in exceptional cases to men of ability those chances that each and all of us who happen to be natives, or to have resided many years in Australasia, will have of attaining to high positions in the federal legislature? It would be by far the best to strike out the words as suggested by an hon. member, and wipe out what seems to me a little blot upon this bill, which we are endeavouring to make as perfect as possible.

Mr. CLARK: The only valid argument which has been urged in favour of the amendment is that used by the hon. member, Mr. Marmion, that we ought to trust the legislatures. If the Convention is prepared to accept the application of that principle in its entirety, I am silenced; but it is not prepared to do that. We have already said that there shall be one qualification, namely, that a man must be 30 years of age before he is eligible for a seat in the senate. If we are going to trust the state legislatures absolutely let us take away that restriction. There are many men of genius and talent who are under 30 years of age. We know that one of the most brilliant statesmen England has ever had was prime minister at the age of 27, and that we may have very brilliant men 25, 26, or 27 years of age, but you will not allow them to be elected members of the senate. We have already put a limit to the discretion of the state legislatures, therefore the hon. member's argument is gone.

Mr. MARMION: Hardly, because it is generally considered that age gives stability and steadiness of character, though it may not always give a greater amount of wisdom. There may be reasons for imposing a restriction as to age. Therefore, that argument does not apply.

Sir GEORGE GREY: I desire to say that I agree with the hon. member, Mr. J. Forrest.

Mr. MUNRO: For the first time in your life!

Sir GEORGE GREY: The hon. member who said that knows very little of our previous meetings. I think there is very little in the argument that was used by the last speaker, that, because you provide for one qualification, you should therefore impose another. That is, having made one mistake, you should go further. However, whether it is a mistake or not, it would be no argument. You might say that the qualification which was put in was a good one, and therefore you must put in another; but you have to prove it to be good, first of all. I think it is quite a mistake to put these conditions into the bill. I cannot imagine what necessity there is for them in this young country.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON: I hope hon. members will excuse my not replying to the arguments which have been [start page 609] adduced, as I am suffering from an affection of the throat. I will content myself by moving:

That the word "five," line 8, be omitted with the view to insert in lieu thereof the word "seven."

After consulting, with several hon. delegates I have come to the conclusion that the substitution of the word "seven" will meet the case.

Captain RUSSELL: I hold that five years is decidedly a long time. We should have some evidence that a man is a bona fide Australian before allowing him to become a senator; but we ought not to fix such a long period of residence in Australia as seven years to make him eligible. I suggest that the word "three" be substituted for the word "five."

Sir GEORGE GREY: I propose what I think will be a fair test. I understand hon. members to require that a person shall have a fair knowledge of Australian affairs before he is eligible for election to the senate. Well, then, constitute a board before which all immigrants can be examined. Then you will not act unjustly to those who have that knowledge. I shall propose what I have suggested as an amendment.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I would point out that we have already a board appointed to ascertain whether a man has been three or five years in the country before he is eligible by his having been a member of one of the state legislatures. A man ought to have some experience in the country before he is appointed a senator.

Mr. BARTON: I intend to vote for the emission of the word "five," because I think five years too long a period. I think that it ought to be reduced to three years. If a legislature cannot find out in three years whether a man is fit to be trusted they will never find it out.

Mr. LOTON: As far as I am concerned I shall have very much pleasure in voting for the clause as it stands. We have had a lot of argument about foreigners and strangers, or people who may have lived in Australia only a few years, not being eligible for election to the senate. If this privilege is denied them, because they have been in the colony only a year or two, what other courses are open to them? The parliaments of the states are open to them, and the house of representatives is open to them when they have been in the colony a very short time. In my opinion we want as senators men who have some practical knowledge of Australia. Let them gain that practical knowledge if they desire to enter either the state parliaments or the senate of the federal parliament. I do not think that five years is too long a term during which a man should be in Australia before be is eligible for election as a member of the senate.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (Mr. J. FORREST) negatived: That the word "five" be omitted with the view to insert in lieu thereof the word "three."

Mr. CUTHBERT: I wish to suggest that at the end of the clause the words "for the space of five years" be added. Under the different constitutions which have been recognised a foreigner does not stand in the same position as a British subject, even though he take out letters of naturalisation, and I think it would be very desirable if the same principle were recognised in the federal constitution, namely, that a man is not, because he takes out letters of naturalisation to-day, entitled to sit in the senate tomorrow. I venture to submit for the consideration of hon. members the desirability of making some limitation such as I suggest, namely, that for a period of five years after taking out letters of naturalisation a foreigner should not be entitled to a seat in the senate. This restriction is carried to a much greater extent in the Victorian Constitution, because a foreigner is not allowed to sit in the Legislative Council there until [start page 610] ten years have elapsed since he took out letters of

naturalisation, and inasmuch as it is provided that a person must be "either a natural born subject of the Queen," or a subject of the Queen naturalised by law, who has resided in the commonwealth for five years, and who is 30 years of age, before he is eligible for election as a senator, I think we should make this limitation with regard to naturalised Subjects. I believe that the hon. member in charge of the bill will see that the proposal is not an unreasonable one, and I hope he will see his way clear to accept it.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I think there is a great deal in the suggestion of the hon. gentleman, and that it ought to be adopted. I therefore move:

That at the end of the clause the following words be added:-"at least five years before he is chosen."

Mr. CUTHBERT: I accept that!

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. WRIGHT: May I ask the reason of the words, "or of a state," at the end of the clause? It appears to me that they are not necessary.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: They have been inserted because, although it is proposed to give the federal parliament power to legislate on this subject, yet, as an interval may elapse before that power is exercised, the states may continue to amend their laws with regard to naturalisation, and the clause provides that naturalisation under their laws shall be equivalent to a law passed before the establishment of the commonwealth.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16. The senate shall, at its first meeting and before proceeding to the despatch of any other business, choose a senator to be the president of the senate; and as often as the office of president becomes vacant the senate shall choose another senator to be the president and the president shall preside at all meetings of the senate; and the choice of the president shall be made known to the governor-general by a deputation of the senate.

The president may be removed from office by a vote of the senate. He may resign his office; and upon his ceasing to be a senator his office shall become vacant.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The hon. member, Sir Harry Atkinson, has pointed out to me an inaccuracy in this clause. It occurs in the sixth line, in the words, "shall choose another senator to be president." The retiring president may cease to be a member of the senate during a recess and be re-elected before the next session; but these words might indicate that he could not be re-elected. I propose to make the clause read, "shall again choose a senator to be the president," and I therefore move:

That in line 6, after the word "shall," the word "again" be inserted.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment (by Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH) agreed to:

That in line 6, the word "another" be omitted with a view to the insertion in lieu thereof of the word "a."

Mr. LOTON: How is the president to resign his office?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I do not know of any instance in which that is expressly provided. The manner in which I have known the resignation of a speaker to be communicated to the house is by letter informing the clerk. In this case the president would be appointed by the house.

Mr. LOTON: In most of the colonial legislatures the president of the upper house sends his resignation to the governor!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That is because he is appointed by the governor.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I should like to ask what is the necessity for saying that the choice of the president shall be made known to the governor-general by a deputation of the senate?

I know that it is the practice upon his election to office for the speaker of the assembly, accompanied by such members as care to go with him, to go to Govern- [start page 611] ment House to acquaint the governor that he has been chosen speaker; but this looks a more formal affair. Is this deputation to be specially appointed, or is the president to say that he is going to the governor-general, and request hon. members to accompany him? The words, “by a deputation of the senate," make it appear that a formal deputation will have to be appointed for the express purpose of informing the governor-general of the election of the president. I, therefore, move:

That in line 10 the words "by a deputation of the senate" be struck out.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The intention of the committee in using those words was to crystallise the existing practice. The practice in the colonies varies. In the houses of some of the colonies a deputation is appointed; in others the whole body go, or as many as please. I apprehend that the manner in which practical effect will be given to this clause will be by the house directing that the choice of the president be made known to the governor general by the president, with so many members as may think fit to accompany him.

Sir JOHN BRAY: Take out the word "deputation"!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No. If you leave it "by the senate" it must be done by written communication, because the senate can only act by means of some written document. Another point which I have omitted to mention is, that it occurred to the committee that it would be more respectful to the governor-general to make the choice known by members of the senate attending personally upon him.

Amendment negatived; clause agreed to.

Clause 19 (Disqualification of senator by absence).

Colonel SMITH: I desire to ask why it is necessary that leave of absence shall be entered on the journals of the parliament? I think that is superfluous.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: It was thought by the committee that there should be a formal record of leave of absence. It is a serious matter. It might be said, "The senate unanimously agreed that a member should be allowed to be away; they all took it for granted." These matters, however, ought not to be taken for granted.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 22 (Quorum of senate).

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I think it right to call attention to the condition that the presence of one-third of the whole number of senators shall be necessary to form a quorum. I believe, in most

constitutions, excepting those of Great Britain-in which term I include those of the British possessions-the rule is that a majority of the members of the house shall be necessary to be present in order to constitute a quorum. There is a great deal to be said in favour of that view; but the committee, after carefully considering the matter, thought it would be safe, in the meantime, to say that one-third of the number of senators should form a quorum.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 23 (Voting in senate).

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I desire to say a word upon this clause. It will be observed that we have not used the, expression, "The president shall in all cases have a vote." It was thought that, in many cases, he might not wish to vote; and if it had been stated that he should have a vote, it might have been taken to mean that he was bound to vote in every division, and this might not be desirable. If we only gave him a casting vote, a question might be carried to which he was opposed, and in which his state took a great interest, because there might be a majority of one without his vote. In that case his state would be deprived of its due influence. Therefore, we have drafted the [start page 612] clause in its present form. He may vote against a question, and when there is a tie the question passes in the negative.

Clause agreed to.

Part III.-The House of Representatives.

Clause 24. The house of representatives shall be composed of members chosen every three years by the people of the several states, according to their respective numbers; and until the parliament of the commonwealth otherwise provides, each state shall have one representative for every thirty thousand of its people.

Provided that in the case of any of the existing colonies of New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia, and the province of South Australia, until the number of the people is such as to entitle the state to four representatives, it shall have four representatives.

Mr. BAKER: Before this clause is decided I should like to ask the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, whether the attention of the committee was carefully directed to the provisions of the Constitution of Canada in reference to this matter? The committee has copied the provisions of the American Constitution, and they have still further copied the provisions of the American Constitution in clause 30, where they say:

The number of members of the house of representatives may be from time to time increased or diminished by the parliament of the commonwealth, but so that the proportionate representation of the several states, according to the number of their people-

I think it will be found that that cannot be worked out. Where you have a certain number of people entitled to a representation, you can never have proportionate representation, because in the states there will always be a fraction over, sometimes more, and sometimes less. That has been found to be the case in America, and great difficulties have arisen in that country in working out this problem. As a matter of fact, it is stated by all the writers on the subject that there never has been proportionate representation according to the number of the people in the respective states. The matter may not be a very important one now, when there is one representative for 30,000 people; but supposing that, by-and-by, as we all hope and believe will be the case, the inhabitants of the states increase largely in number, and we only give to each 150,000 people one representative. In that case the fraction which is unrepresented may be very great indeed. It seems to me that they have adopted a very much better provision in Canada, a provision which is self-acting, and which has another great advantage, namely,

that it has a tendency to curtail a too great number of representatives. They have, for instance, fixed that one of the provinces-Quebec-shall be entitled to a specified number of representatives, and that all the other provinces shall be entitled to the same proportion of representatives as their population bears to that of Quebec.

Mr. CLARK: That will not get rid of fractions!

Mr. BAKER: It does to a far greater extent than does the American Constitution, and it is self-acting, and it does not call for the interference of the federal parliament from time to time to alter the number of people who are entitled to a representative. I do not desire to move an amendment, but I wish to ask the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, whether the committee carefully considered the two systems, and what are the reasons why they have adopted the American system?

Mr. PLAYFORD: Because we could not get a good basis!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The answer is that no state in Australia at the present time corresponds to the position which was occupied by the province of Quebec at the time of the establishment of the Canadian Constitution. Quebec was a thoroughly well settled state, in which the population scarcely increased at all, [start page 613] excepting by the natural increase of births over deaths. There is no state in Australia which you may say is in that entirely settled condition. Supposing we had taken, for instance, the state of Victoria, which, being the smallest and the most densely populated so far as its area is concerned, may be said to be the most settled state. It is quite likely that Victoria may increase very largely. If you gave a fixed number of members to Victoria the result would be to reduce the number of members of any other state which did not increase so fast. If you can find a state which you are quite sure will increase most slowly you might adopt that principle; but whilst the matter is quite uncertain you would run the great risk of reducing the number of representatives for different states, which, I think, would be very unfortunate.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 25. The qualification of electors of members of the house of representatives shall be in each state that which is prescribed by the law of the state as the qualification for electors of the more numerous house of the parliament of the state.

Mr. DEAKIN: Do I understand that it is proposed to add to the powers of the federal parliament a provision enabling them to fix the qualification dealing with this question? The hon. and learned member, Mr. Clark, alluded to this question. At present the qualification of electors is left absolutely at the disposal of the different states, without any power of obtaining uniformity through the federal parliament, even if the federal parliament so desired. It is not necessary to interfere with the states in any way; but it would be as well to endow the federal parliament with authority, if so inclined, to adopt a uniform qualification for voters for the house of representatives.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The hon. gentleman says that it is not proposed to interfere with the powers of the state, but he suggests that we should give power to the federal parliament to do it.

Mr. DEAKIN: No; to fix this qualification!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That is interfering with the power of the states.

Mr. DEAKIN: Certainly not!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: It is a question as to which system should be adopted. The committee have adopted the American system, knowing that they were a democratic people, who did not fear to let the states fix their own electoral qualifications; in fact, we have adopted their words, "the qualification for electors of the more numerous house of the parliament of the state." I know there is a

good deal to be said on either side. I am not now contending for either view. I am only answering the hon. gentleman's question. We did consider the matter. The provision is clearly necessary at starting; and we thought that on the whole it would be safer to let the parliaments of the states continue to deal with the question for themselves. It would be very inconvenient, for instance, if the electors for the house of representatives were a different constituency from the electors for the houses of the states. It would mean two sets of revision courts and two sets of electoral rolls.

Mr. DEAKIN: I quite agree; but we ought to give them the power!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: It is a question whether it should be done now or by an amendment of the constitution. The matter was considered, and I indicate now, as briefly as I can, the reason.

Dr. COCKBURN: I think there are some matters which ought to be left to the states. On the other hand, there are certain definite lines regarding vital principles which should be laid down as part of the constitution. Therefore I move:

That the clause be amended by adding the words: "But no property qualification shall be [start page 614] necessary for electors of the said house, and each elector shall have a vote only for one electoral district."

I think this follows what we have already passed in clause 24, where it is laid down that the house of representatives is to be chosen by the people of the several states. I imagine that "the people of the several states" means without any restriction as to class interests.

Mr. MUNRO: Or as to sex!

Dr. COCKBURN: I do not think it is well to raise the question of sex at present; but I do think that, although the question of woman suffrage has not got far enough to be seriously debated in this Convention, the question of manhood suffrage has got far enough, and should, as a vital principle, be embodied in this constitution: otherwise we might have a diversity, one roll obtaining in one state and another in another state. In one state the will of the people might be supreme, and in another you might have a property qualification. I think that it is already recognised as one of the canons of the constitution, and need not be argued; and therefore I have moved that the principle of manhood suffrage, and also the principle of one man one vote, be embodied in the constitution.

Mr. MARMION: It seems to me that there is a certain amount of absurdity about this proposition, if the hon. member will pardon my making that observation, for it will be far easier and better to say at once, and in one clause, that the qualification of electors of the house shall be so and-so-that is to say, that they shall only exercise their right under manhood suffrage. That would settle the whole question, and would be virtually interfering with the right of the several states by saying that in cases where the states have not manhood suffrage, they must have it whether they like it or not.

An HON. MEMBER: No!

Mr. MARMION: The hon. gentleman says "No," but I should like him to explain. I understand him to mean that. If he does not, I should like to know what he does mean. Would it not be an absurdity again, if, in choosing members of the lesser House, they were to adopt a conservative principle, and in choosing members of the greater house, they were to adopt a more liberal one? The two things could not run together in one country. The hon. gentleman must see that at once, and if the hon. gentleman wishes to put the matter to a practical test, it would be better to say that the house shall be elected in a certain manner, and that would settle the question once and for all. Throughout the whole of the discussion the idea has prevailed that the rights of individual states should be preserved with regard to, their constitution.

Dr. COCKBURN: Except on any vital principle!

Mr. MARMION: Surely this is a vital principle in the election of the bodies politic.

Dr. COCKBURN: That is their look out this is the look out for all the colonies!

Mr. MARMION: Perhaps it is; but if, you interfere in the one case you might interfere in all. At the present time in the majority of the states of Australia manhood suffrage is the rule. However, one man one vote is not the rule throughout Australia, but only in one state at the present time; and why should the other states of Australia, because one state now adopts that principle, be compelled within the four corners of this bill to adopt it? I think the suggestion is far too radical a one for this assembly to carry out.

Dr. COCKBURN: Not too radical for Australia!

Mr. MUNRO: I confess, first of all, that I cannot agree with the hon. and learned member, Sir Samuel Griffith, that it will not be necessary to have a separate roll and registration for these elections. There must be, for this reason: that you [start page 615] have not in any colony right through the same principle as is proposed here. We only propose to give the electors one representative for every 30,000 people, and there is not one colony where the representatives number more than one to every 10,000 or 15,000 persons.

Mr. PLAYFORD: We could group the districts!

Mr. MUNRO: If you do that you must have a special roll for each.

Mr. PLAYFORD: No, use the rolls of two or three districts!

Mr. MUNRO: The hon. member knows that when you prepare a roll you say it is the electoral roll or the ratepayers’ roll for a certain electoral district, giving its title. If you group three districts together you must have a different title and say that it must be the electoral district of so-and-so. You must use the roll as you mix them together.

Mr. PLAYFORD: No!

Mr. MUNRO: The question that the hon. gentleman has raised now is that we are interfering with the right of the states if we say that an elector for the federal parliament shall have no property qualification. I say that we do not. We leave the elections for the local parliaments exactly as they are now, and in this bill it is provided that the people of the states are to be the electors. If the people of the states are to be the electors, surely we ought to give them power-

Mr. J. FORREST: Where is that said?

Mr. MUNRO: In this bill.

Dr. COCKBURN: It is implied!

Mr. MUNRO: If it is implied we ought to carry it out honestly.

Dr. COCKBURN: It follows on the other proposition!

Mr. MUNRO: If the people of the state are to elect the members of the house of representatives, and if you say that unless they have property they cannot vote, then it follows, of course, that the election is not by the people. Only those who have property can vote.

Mr. CLARK: How about women?

Mr. MUNRO: The sooner women are enfranchised the better for all concerned. If the hon. member is prepared to move that women shall be allowed to vote, I shall be quite willing to support him; but at the present time we are only dealing with the question of whether or not the electors of the house of representatives should have a property qualification. I say they ought not to have a property qualification, and that they ought not to have more than one vote. That is the true position to take up in a fair and proper system of representation.

Mr. MARMION: I do not think the hon. gentleman has rightly considered the question. I do not see how an elector could have more than one vote; because if the various electorates are treated as one, how can a man have a vote for more than one constituency?

Dr. COCKBURN: He can vote four or five times!

Mr. MARMION: That is, for various districts.

Mr. MUNRO: There will be various districts!

Mr. MARMION; The whole colony, I take it, will be one district.

Mr. MUNRO: No; the hon. gentleman is wrong!

Sir GEORGE GREY: This is the most important question probably that we have to consider in this bill. I think there can be no doubt whatever that a clear case can be made out for the absolute necessity of giving only one Vote to each man, and giving every man a right to vote on the question of returning representatives to the central parliament. If hon. gentlemen will reflect over the circumstances of the case, they will find that the original idea I believe in every one of these colonies [start page 616] was that there should only be one vote possessed by each man. That was the original conception. That undoubtedly was the conception in New Zealand. But it was soon found that the words used might possibly be so extended that a man could get a vote for each district. The first steps made in that direction were not contested, and people began by obtaining a qualification for a second district, and then a third district, and so it spread until what was really a great abuse came into existence. The colonies are all differently circumstanced. We had a hardy set of people to deal with in South Australia, who knew precisely what their rights were, and who were determined to get them; and they succeeded in obtaining, I believe, a more liberal constitution than is possessed by any other part of Australasia. That was the result. The other colonies are in various conditions. Some, like New Zealand, have one vote per man, but a nominee upper house. Then we have other colonies, like New South Wales, where plural voting prevails to a considerable extent, or the power of plural voting, and where also there is a nominated council. Then you have a colony like Victoria, where the right of plural voting exists also to a considerable extent. There they have an elective upper house; but burdened with a property qualification, which has altogether been abolished in Great Britain, and in almost every British country. That is the position of our representation here. I contend that it is absolutely necessary to comply with what I believe to be the desire of Great Britain. Every one of our constitutions was made by the Parliament of Great Britain, and frequently made either without the people being consulted, or even if they were consulted, some provisions were put in contrary to their wishes. In the British Parliament we had no representation whatever, and the result is that Great Britain has drifted into a difficulty with its colonies-that is, it does not know how to give the people liberty-full liberty, and the only way in which it could do it at first apparently is this: to pass an act to say that every one of the colonial constitutions should terminate from and after a certain date, that the act of parliament should prevail no longer than that time, and that the populations of the different countries must provide their own constitutions so as to be prepared to meet the difficulty when their existing constitutions die out. But in the case now of Australasia, with extraordinary generosity Great Britain virtually says to this country, "Make at once the constitution which best pleases yourselves. Send that home for our consideration." And in point of fact, there is that which amounts almost to a promise, or, at all events, to an understanding, that if we send home nothing extraordinary or wrong,

the desires of the people will be acceded to; and I have no doubt whatever that, looking to the present state of public feeling on the subject of representation, the general opinion in the minds of British statesmen is, that we shall establish a constitution in which one man will have one vote. Now, what do we propose to do in this bill? We propose to evade carrying out what really are the instructions from Great Britain-that is, the framing of a complete constitution for ourselves, by saying at once that we adopt the colonial constitutions as they exist, and that we give those constitutions to the states, and that they shall carry them out. And we are told then that they are to have the liberty of altering those as they like. But I say that we give them no fair opportunity of altering them as they like-none whatever.

Mr. CUTHBERT: Why?

Sir GEORGE GREY: On account of plural voting. The minority rule the majority.

Colonel SMITH: How? [start page 617] Sir GEORGE GREY: By plural voting; by the power of voting for several districts, so that while most of the voters of the country have but one vote, the favoured few have many votes, one in each district, and they exercise a corresponding influence in parliament, and that parliament so elected virtually chooses the upper house. The upper house is not fairly chosen in this colony, nor is it, to my mind, fairly chosen in Victoria. Therefore, it is proposed absolutely to cut off all freedom from us, and we are told it is to preserve the privileges of the states. What is the privilege? The privilege is that the minority should oppress the majority if they please. That is what it comes to, and that is the onus from which we ought to relieve them. Now an opportunity is given to us so to relieve them. We have only to put the provision proposed into this bill-one which I was so glad to hear one of the delegates from Victoria support. I never felt greater pleasure. I feared opposition, and to my great surprise and delight, I found that there was a voice given in favour of what I believe to be truly just and righteous. But I do hope that this Convention, rising to the occasion, will say to the people of Australasia, "We, having placed in our hands a noble gift for you, if we please to give it, or to diminish it, will say that we will not diminish it; we will take nothing from the great boon we have the power to bestow upon you, and we give you the right in your federated parliament of having your representatives elected under the system of one man one vote." Now, if that is done we may remedy almost everything, because everything depends really upon the central house, and I feel certain that if that is done then we shall feel it our duty to introduce a clause which will give to the states the power of starting with one man one vote. You will be told, hon. gentlemen, that this will be making an alteration in the constitution of the states, and taking from them a privilege. I say the only privilege taken away will be the right of the minority to oppress the majority. That certainly will be taken away; but if the people choose to have a constitution of that kind they can instantly restore it. It requires but one vote simply to say we shall have our old constitution back again; a single clause will do it, and they may go on then as they are going on now. But if the privilege for which we now contend be not granted, I feel sure that many years will in some cases elapse before that boon will be won and gained which now can be instantaneously given. I hope, therefore, that the Convention, rising to the present emergency, will relieve the parliament of Great Britain from the difficulty that it has, knowing the manner in which it has legislated for the colonies, sometimes without their knowledge, sometimes without their consent, sometimes in direct violation of what they asked for, as was the case in New Zealand, because one ministry-I forget the name of the premier at the time, but I believe it was Sir Robert Peel-promised that we should have an upper house elected by the councils of the provinces; but the new ministry which came in disapproved of that, and at the dictation of a single man-a member of the British ministry-altered it into a nominated house. Some of us have struggled for years to change that, and we have struggled in vain; we have not accomplished it. But give us this boon now; put us in the same position as South Australia is; give all the colonies the right of getting into that blessed haven of rest, as I may call it, that they have got, and then I see before the future of Australia a rapid advance in all that they can justly desire, and a future far brighter than what will be given to them if the bill, as it is proposed, is allowed to pass. I, therefore, earnestly press on hon. gentlemen that in justice to

Australasia, and in justice to [start page 618] Great Britain, the boon we now pray for on behalf of the people of Australasia should be accorded to those who are seeking to gain it.

Sir JOHN DOWNER: I entirely believe in the principle of one man one vote. The only colony in which it prevails is by no means one of the largest colonies in the dominion-

Sir GEORGE GREY: We have it in New Zealand!

Sir JOHN DOWNER: Whatever colonies may not have adopted it, the principle is a good one, and must in the end prevail. But the question we have to consider now is whether or not we shall have a federated Australia, whether or not we shall go into union, and whether it is expedient for the purpose of insisting on views which some of us may hold far in advance of our time to insist, as a condition of the federation of Australia, that the views of the smallest portions of the dominion should be adopted by the largest before any federation shall take place. That is what appears to me to be substantially the question. Admitting that one man one vote is a proper principle, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the infinitely larger part of Australia does not look at the principle in that way, and does not adopt that view at all. Under these circumstances is there any probability of any immediate federation taking place-and we all agree as to its immediate necessity-if the minority make as a condition precedent that the majority shall adopt certain views which happen to be at the time diametrically opposed to their own? That is not a sentimental difficulty, but it is a practical difficulty. If we insert in the bill this condition we shall postpone the federation of Australia, I hope not for very long, but at all events until such time as the majority are educated up to the elevation of the intelligent minority. Can anybody of us foretell when that time will be? Can anybody by any possibility name the day when that millennium will be reached? If so we shall have something to go upon. But what we are dealing with now is the immediate question, is it possible to unite the various colonies of Australia in one dominion, handing over to that dominion certain powers and privileges which each colony possesses; retaining as far as possible in each colony absolutely intact all the powers and authorities that they possess at the present time, and taking them away from them only to the extent necessary to create a beneficial and lasting dominion? Now, the United States of America were assuredly as democratic as we are. The one great democracy, the only lasting democracy that the world has known, so far from considering that there was a danger in preserving the autonomy of each state so far as the election of representatives to the national council was concerned, recognised that principle at once, and, as far as we know, without much difference of opinion. The object was to secure a body as the national congress that represented the views of each state. Which was the proper tribunal to decide how that body should be selected but each state? It might be that the mode of election of one state was, in the opinion of the other states, absolutely illogical, absolutely unphilosophical, absolutely wrong perhaps. But the very essence of the agreement was that it should be the state which should define how its representation should take place, and if that representation were unsatisfactory in its creation or in its working it would be the state that would have the responsibility of any mischief that happened, and would have the power to alter it. I have no doubt my hon. friend, Dr. Cockburn, is satisfied that one man one vote will be adopted in Australia before many years have passed. My hon. friend, Mr. Gillies, from Victoria, may entertain an entirely opposite view.

[start page 619] Mr. MUNRO: Oh, no! He is a one man-one-vote man!

Sir JOHN DOWNER: I have no doubt that many hon. gentlemen from Victoria entertain entirely opposite views, but which ever views are correct, we really have to deal with the practical question whether the minority of the colonies of Australia having adopted a certain view which they believe, and which I believe, to be entirely a correct one, are to insist that there shall be no federation of Australia until the larger colonies and the greater portion of the population adopt that particular view. I think it would defeat all federation if we endeavoured to impose any such limitations. I am sure it is against every principle of federation which has ever been successful, and we have before us the illustrious precedent of the one great democracy of the world, which thought itself safe in its creation

in adopting the method suggested here, and which has proved by its working that no injurious results can come from it.

Mr. BARTON: I would ask hon. members who support the amendment whether there may not be a better way of obtaining what they desire? If the principle of one man one vote is one that we should adopt, it will assert itself, as time goes on, throughout the continent, and if it does that, it will impress itself upon the parliament of the commonwealth. Is it not worth our while, therefore, to consider whether the proposition we are discussing should not be only a temporary one-that is to-say, whether the views of the states in prescribing the qualification of electors of members of the house of representatives should operate any further than the first election, and until the parliament of the commonwealth have otherwise provided? If the proposal be a good one the commonwealth may be relied upon to adopt it. I am in favour of it myself; I think the principle is a good one; and I have the utmost confidence that the parliament of the commonwealth will adopt it. But whether that be so or not, the decision should be left to that parliament. It is not for us to try to dominate matters in any way in a question of this sort. It is for us to give the parliament of the commonwealth, so far as we can do so, the widest power to execute all that is necessary, and if we do that we shall prescribe, merely what is convenient in regard to the first election-that is to say, we shall leave this clause as it is, subject to a slight amendment at the commencement, requiring that the clause shall operate for the first election, and until the parliament of the commonwealth otherwise provides.

Mr. GILLIES: Will the hon. member explain more precisely what he means?

Mr. BARTON: I mean that the provisions of the bill shall operate for the first election, until something else can be done; but that when the first election is secured, and when the parliament of the commonwealth meets, it shall be competent for it to take its own course as to this matter.

Mr. GILLIES: To declare who shall be its electors!

Mr. BARTON: Precisely-who shall be its electors.

Mr. GILLIES: And whether there shall be a high qualification or no qualification!

Mr. BARTON: To fix its own franchise. It does seem to me that if you are going to trust the parliament of the commonwealth at all, you must trust it to fix its own franchise.

Mr. GILLIES: But it will consist of the states!

Mr. BARTON: It cannot help consisting of the states and of the people of the states. But one house will consist of the states in certain proportions. I refer to the house which we are told is the nationally representative house. And surely the [start page 620] franchise upon which the whole body politic will send its representatives into that national house is a matter that should be fixed by the house itself, just as the electoral laws for the legislative assemblies or houses of representatives in the different colonies are fixed. We have these powers in our respective colonies; and I suppose we think we have used them well. Surely it is not contended that in the course of time it will not be a wise and necessary thing that the franchise of every citizen of Australia to the national house shall be an equal franchise?

Mr. GILLIES: That would be very desirable!

Mr. BARTON: It is very desirable indeed that there should be one national franchise, and that would be the inevitable result of leaving it to the parliament of the commonwealth to fix it. If there be any doubt upon the point, if the parliament of the commonwealth is not likely, to fix a uniform franchise, the only reason for that course would be a desire to leave things as they exist in the various states. If that were so, there would be no departure from the provision of the bill. But if there is to be a departure, it is desirable that it should be taken by the parliament of the commonwealth, because it is a

matter that belongs more properly to them. I suggest, therefore, that instead of our agreeing to import the principle of one man one vote here-although I myself quite agree with the principle-it is a matter which should be left to the parliament of the commonwealth itself. If room be made for me to do so-if I might venture to ask for an opportunity to do so, for I was not present a little while ago-I would test the sense of the Committee upon an amendment, inserting before the first word of the clause some such words as these: "For the first election, and until the parliament of the commonwealth otherwise provides."

Mr. DEAKIN: This involves the question raised by me in the first instance when the clause was brought forward, and I would point out now, in one sentence, to the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn, that in any case he must adopt some addition to his own amendment. It will be absolutely impossible to make provision for the first election of the house of representatives being held in certain of the colonies, under the restriction he proposes to add to the clause. To move the amendment without some addition would be to prevent the first election taking place in certain colonies, and to defeat federation.

Dr. COCKBURN: My hon. colleague, Sir John Downer, instanced what had been done in America. As far as I can read history, the several states sought out that which was best in the constitution of each state, and put it into their model constitution, and it was only because they did that, because they chose all that was best in the constitutions of the various states, that they were able to frame a document which has been the veneration of all people since its first enactment. The result is that the Constitution is looked upon as a model for other constitutions, and to make a mistake in this respect would be in my opinion, to make a fatal mistake at the very commencement of our federation. I cannot agree with those who say that the proposal that manhood suffrage should find a place in this constitution is in advance of the times, nor can I agree that to argue that the principle of one man one vote should find its place in this constitution is to argue in advance of the times. I think that those who hold other views have yet to come up to the line upon which the colony of South Australia stands. I think we should be making a great mistake if we allowed either the first election to the federal parliament, or indeed any election, to take place upon any other principle.

[start page 621] Mr. DEAKIN: The hon. member cannot help it!

Dr. COCKBURN: I do not agree with the hon. member. The different colonies will have to frame electoral machinery, they will have to divide their colonies up into electoral districts for the election of members of the house of representatives; and to abandon this amendment would be a distinct violation of the principle already affirmed-that the house of representatives shall be chosen by the people. It has been very well pointed out by an hon. member that we should not begin our constitution by putting into it an inconsistency. If we are going to frame a constitution which is to be a benefit to ourselves, and to posterity, we must be consistent to vital principles, and I feel that I cannot give way or accept a compromise.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Barton, comes before the hon. member's amendment!

Dr. COCKBURN: That may be; but so far as the principle of my amendment is concerned, I feel that I cannot give way. I take it that the house of representatives, even the first house, is to be of the people; that our government is to be of the people, and that being so, our house of representatives must not be chosen by any other than the people. To provide otherwise would be a contradiction in terms which would not be a credit to this Convention. The possessors of other constitutions have had to fight for their freedom. The freedom of the commonwealth of Australia should be simultaneous with its birth; it should be freeborn. I am of course willing to withdraw my amendment to enable the hon. member, Mr. Barton, to move his amendment.

Sir GEORGE GREY: Before the amendment is withdrawn, I think there are several arguments used by various hon. members which should be replied to. I understood the hon. member, Mr. Barton, to argue that we were not to dictate or rule, while he at the same time proposed to dictate and rule. What we have to do is to constitute a totally new legislature, and we have to call it into existence with all proper limbs, head, and body, to enable it to act, and act well and wisely. We have a perfect right to frame the best and most perfect machine that we can. When hon. members tell us that we are not authorised to dictate to Australasia, I reply that we are not the people who are dictating, but it is those who say this shall not be done who are dictating to us. Undoubtedly the people of Australasia have a right to start at once on the principle of one man one vote; and it is our business to allow them to enter into that right. The whole of the arguments used to the contrary are of no avail whatever. With those hon. gentlemen who argue against this, the argument always is, "We perfectly agree in the principle; but do not introduce it now. Let the states do it for themselves." To which I say: I do not want, as far as I am concerned, that the states should do it for me, or help me, or the state I am in, to do it

Mr. BAKER: Does New Zealand intend to join the federation?

Sir GEORGE GREY: New Zealand wishes the power to be retained to enter cheerfully into a combination of which it approves. This constitution is intended to take in all Australasia, and it should be so framed. We have no wish to have this done for us by other people, but our desire is to do it for ourselves. Why should the men who have so long kept us out of these rights still say, "Wait, wait a little longer; we will ultimately do it for you; you shall ultimately carry what you wish," when we can get what we wish now? That is our right; let us struggle for it, and ask this Convention to agree that that should be done. An hon. member said that Australia was not prepared for it and did not desire it.

[start page 622] Sir JOHN DOWNER: I said that many of the larger states were not prepared for it! Sir GEORGE GREY: I maintain that all the larger states are prepared and wish for it. I am sure I speak the universal wish of Australia when I say they do want it.

Sir JOHN DOWNER: Why have they not got it?

Sir GEORGE GREY: How could they? That is the very point. How long did it take us to get the single vote in New Zealand? For how many years was the bill on the order-paper in vain? For how many years have we desired to have an elected legislative council instead of a nominated one? Because we had no power to get it. Now we are asked to continue to deprive the people of the power of obtaining these things for some time longer. They say, "We will grant it to you." Who will grant it to us? Those who have kept it from us so long.

Mr. J. FORREST: Who are they?

Sir GEORGE GREY: Why evade the point by a question of that kind? Every one knows that they are the existing legislatures, in which the people have never been fairly represented. Who can deny that plural voting has existed and has exercised a very great influence? Who can deny that nominated councils prevented many things from being done? It is impossible to pass any bill without having to consider whether or not another house will approve of it. No statesman is certain of carrying in its integrity that which be desires. We wish now to be allowed to do for ourselves that which we think necessary for the good of the country. I feel satisfied that almost every man in Australia would say that that is his wish. On every ground I conceive that we are entitled to have this thing done. Not a single argument used on the other side has the least weight or potency, and I am certain that the arguments used against the proposal can be answered by many hon. members.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I apprehend that this Convention is not the arena in which a question of this importance should be thrashed out. We are not here to decide whether or not the principle of one man one vote should be adopted by the various legislatures. I am not favourable to that principle; but I do not intend to go into the arguments. My reason for supporting the clause as it stands is that in the first

place I regard it as an intrusion upon the domain of the rights of the various states for this Convention to dictate to them the principle on which the election of their representatives should be governed. In the next place, if we were unwise enough to do so, it would jeopardise very seriously the adoption of the measure which we hope to send to the states, because of the resentment which we should naturally give rise to if we were impudent enough to attempt to dictate to the states and tell them that we as representatives went entirely outside the mission we were charged with, by laying down a hard and fast rule that they were to elect their representatives on a principle which they had not yet seen fit to adopt. I cannot conceive how hon. gentlemen of the experience of Sir George Grey, and others who support him, can go in such a direction. We are all anxious to see some scheme of federation adopted. Surely we are not going to hamper that with difficulties by proposing what would have no chance of acceptance, and what would involve, as far as this Convention is concerned, a dispute which would very likely prevent our agreeing upon other and more important principles! If the states of Australia prefer to defer the adoption of this system, which may or may not be inevitable, surely it is not for us to hurry them forward. Their regard for their own interests will lead them to it in the fullness of time if it is for their interests. Why give them a fillip? Why urge them in a direction in which, [start page 623] surely, their democratic spirit is sufficiently advanced to enable them to travel without any spur of ours? I hope we shall not spend much more time on this discussion. Hon. members who have strong opinions on this subject have aired their opinions and, no doubt, have also done so on many occasions in their various colonies. They have satisfied the end for which, no doubt, this discussion has been raised. As a matter of principle, as a matter of prudence, as a matter of duty, I hold that we cannot adopt it. As a principle, we are not agreed upon it; and, if we were, it has nothing to do with federation. As a matter of prudence, I hold that it would endanger the whole scheme by giving rise to resentment in the various states at our having interfered in a matter which concerns them but which does not concern us, which is outside our commission, which we have no right to touch, and which, as a matter of legislation, is one of very doubtful expediency. I hold very strong opinions upon the subject; but I hold that it would be a wrong policy to give expression to those opinions now. I am not one of those to whom the hon. member, Sir George Grey, has alluded, who say, "I agree with it; but do not think this the time for it." I do not agree with it; and I think that this is not the time to deal with it.

Mr. BARTON: If the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn's amendment is withdrawn I intend to move mine, so as to give the parliament of the commonwealth power to legislate on the subject-a power similar to that which is given in clause 10. My amendment could be carried subject to any restriction which that of Dr. Cockburn might place upon it. If Dr. Cockburn's amendment should be negatived, my amendment would still pave the way to the adoption by the federal parliament of the principle of one man one vote.

Mr. PLAYFORD: It appears to me to be a matter of principle that we ought to adopt a uniform constituency for the election of our members. Whether we can adopt that uniform mode of election at first is another thing; but certainly it should be adopted in the long run. We said not long ago when it was proposed to give the various states the right to vary the mode of choice and the election of members of the senate, "We want uniformity throughout the various states with regard to these elections." I think we ought to carry that further, and say with regard to the house of representatives, "We want ultimate uniformity in the matter throughout the various colonies." Therefore, it appears to me that one of two courses are now open to us. Either the course suggested by the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton, or that proposed by Dr. Cockburn. One is that for the first election it shall be as provided by the clause now under consideration, but that afterwards the commonwealth parliament shall decide and make laws dealing with the subject, or we may take Dr. Cockburn's proposal to fix it at once, which, however, I think, we cannot very well give effect to. It would be very troublesome at all events, to have the constituencies and the electoral rolls ready to give effect at once to the principle of manhood suffrage and one man one vote. Of the two proposals I think that of the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton, is the best. We can very well say that until the federal parliament makes a uniform law dealing with the constituencies which shall elect the house of representatives we will act under this clause. That the federal parliament should have the power to make that uniform law ought to be admitted on all sides. It should certainly have the power to do it. It might be advisable for us to

do it even now, but that is doubtful. That the commonwealth parliament should have the power is, I think, advisable. Under the circumstances, I shall support the proposal of the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton.

[start page 624] Mr. DIBBS: I am in favour of the principle of one man one vote, and the sooner we establish that principle the better. I look upon the proposal of the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton, as being one purely of an experimental character.

Mr. BARTON: The hon. member does not understand it!

Mr. DIBBS: I understood the hon. member to say that for the first election the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn's principle should stand, and that it should be altered afterwards.

An HON. MEMBER: No; the other way!

Mr. DIBBS: Then I misunderstood the hon. and learned member. With regard to what was said by the hon. members, Mr. Fitzgerald and Sir John Downer, I may state that the principle of one man one vote has been affirmed in the legislature of New South Wales. In our last session it was affirmed in a bill to give effect to it. That bill was read a second time. But owing to the natural jealousy of the Government in regard to it the matter was shelved, the Government promising to bring in a now electoral bill in which the principle should be given effect to. If we are to establish federation at all, uniformity in regard to these elections ought to be one of the principles of that federation. From one of the clauses of this bill we find that there are some thirty-one matters which we are supposed to federate on for the purpose of obtaining uniformity, and why in regard to the house of representatives of the federal parliament we should not have uniformity of election I fail to understand. As I have not understood the remarks of the hon. and learned member, Mr. Barton, I will say no more in regard to his amendment at present. I wish to point out that the principle of one man one vote is already recognised in some of the colonies, and that in the largest of the states-New South Wales-the principle has been affirmed, and the present Government are pledged to introduce a measure during the ensuing session to carry it out, and no doubt the bill will be carried. Under the circumstances, why should we not now in starting this larger scheme affirm a principle which is a principle of democracy in its purest form?

Mr. GILLIES: I confess that now and again I have some difficulty in following the views of some hon. members. I imagined that we all understood in the formation of this federation that it was not such a federation as would be a complete legislative federation-federation as in the case of older states. It is only a partial federation. It is originated with the object of enabling the whole of the colonies on this continent to join together in a union for the purpose of accomplishing work which could not otherwise be properly accomplished by the states separately. We started with that idea, and we really did believe that on this continent the colonies of Australia would be able to do a large amount of good if they were able to join together in a federation of that kind. We are gradually getting beyond that idea, and we are forging ahead to such an extent that we propose to join together on a basis wholly different from that on which the people in the various states joined together amongst themselves for the purposes of carrying on legislation and government. I confess that the view submitted by the hon. gentleman sitting below me is not new to the public, or to the Convention, nor was it altogether new to the committee who considered the constitution; but as a proposal in practical politics in relation to this federation, I believe it is new. We are here, I presume, as practical men, to do practical business. The practical business which we are called upon to, perform, each delegate representing his individual state, is to lay a foundation [start page 625] and to prepare a bill for the purpose of carrying federation into effect-to draft a constitution. Lines were laid down for our consideration by our President when he submitted his resolutions to us, and the idea which they indicated was that so far as the constitution was concerned, it was to be framed on such lines as would bring the various states to join in this federation on grounds which we all pretty well understood. Now, what were some of the most important of these grounds? We believe that in drafting the

constitution, and obtaining persons to represent the states in the house of representatives and in the senate, in order to facilitate matters, it would be the wisest thing to take the legislative powers possessed by the several colonies in their constitutions, and we believe that the basis upon which we propose to frame these bodies is the most natural and simple possible. Take all the colonies-Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland-each of them have a representation based on a franchise to which in nearly all cases up to the present time has there been scarcely any serious objection. The one question conflicting with it is the "one man one vote" principle. I am not going to discuss the grounds upon which I believe that "one man one vote" would be more satisfactory to the people as a whole than the present franchise; but I say that the existing franchise here is marvellously liberal. It is scarcely exceeded in liberality in any country in the world. We possess under the respective constitutions of the several colonies the greatest possible liberty that one can conceive that a man might have under any constitution. What is the result? We can make our own laws and no difficulty has occurred, except in a few instances where an honest difference of opinion has existed between men holding opposite views, but who have been sufficiently liberal to prevent any serious trouble from arising in any of the states. But what is the proposal now? We are to depart from the constitutions in existence in the various states, enabling electors to vote for representatives in the popular house, and to place in the hands of the federal parliament the power to say, We shall completely subvert these constitutions. With what object? Is it with the object of having these states represented, or is it with the object of practically altering their constitutions altogether so far as their representation in the federal parliament is concerned? In my judgment that is altogether apart from the original object with which we started, namely, to have the states represented in the federal parliament practically as they are represented in their own.

Mr. FITZGERALD: And in the manner that they themselves think best!

Mr. GILLIES: With only this difference: that with respect to the senate the representation is to be of a different character, because the parliaments of the various states are asked to send representatives to the senate in order that that body may be representative of the states. But with respect to the popular branch of the federal parliament, namely, the house of representatives, that is to be based upon the representation given to each elector of the various states in the legislative assemblies of those states. And why? Because it is true that in each colony the popular branch of the legislature is representative of the great bulk of the people. If they conceive that for their own interest and welfare their suffrage is based exactly in the way that can best promote their prosperity, they will consider it an improper interference with their rights to be called upon to elect members to the house of representatives upon a franchise different from that upon which they elect their representatives to their own house of assembly. And are they not to be the judges? Who else are to be the judges, if they are not? As I said at the [start page 626] beginning if we were to have a complete legislative federation, and all the states were abolished except for merely municipal purposes, I could understand this body agreeing to a totally different franchise from that at present existing in any of the states. But may I, for a second, remind hon. gentlemen that only the other day we were told by some hon. members that they had it in contemplation to submit to their own houses of parliament a bill for the enfranchisement of women, and if the amendment be carried we may have the federal parliament passing a bill, not only based upon the most liberal franchise that exists in any of the states, but even introducing a new element altogether, the political effect of which, I venture to say, no man within these walls can foresee-namely, the enfranchisement of women.

Mr. PLAYFORD: Cannot the hon. member trust the federal parliament?

Mr. GILLIES: We are not speaking of trusting the federal parliament. We might as well say, "We need no provisions in the constitution that will limit their power or tie their hands in any way." What the hon. member practically contends for is that the federal parliament shall be given a constitution in blank, so that it can do what it likes, without any limitation whatever to its powers. That is the meaning of his interjection.

Mr. PLAYFORD: They will represent the people!

Mr. GILLIES: We will trust the federal parliament on the grounds and on the provisions contained in the constitution. What is the meaning of the words "state rights" if they do not mean that certain provisions are to be inserted in the constitution which will control the federal parliament, which the hon. gentleman would have us trust implicitly? His idea is that we should absolutely pass over to the federal parliament the rights of all the states individually, even of the smallest of them. If that were done, we could swamp them tomorrow simply because we had a majority. But this is not the object which we have in view in framing the constitution of the federal parliament. We desire to see that every individual state, whether it be large or small, shall be protected under the provisions of the constitution. It is in common justice to the states coming into the federation, that these provisions are inserted in the constitution. Are we to give them no rights; are we to give them no claims? If they come into the federation they will come in under certain conditions, and we have carefully provided that these conditions shall not be changed at the ipse dixit of a simple majority. We take care that the rights of each of the states, even the smallest of them, shall be preserved, and that when they have voluntarily come within the federation upon certain well known lines, those lines shall not be departed from unless they have an opportunity of protesting. We provide that a change shall only be made by an absolute majority of the federal parliament, and at the same time that their decision, whatever it may be, shall be referred to a convention of the electors in each state which must support the majority of the federal parliament. So that talking of submitting everything and leaving everything to the federal parliament, is not reasonable, That is the reason why I say that we are making a proposal which, I contend, is in contravention of the distinct understanding upon which gentlemen came here, representing the various colonies-what to do? To see that justice was done to all. Now there is a new departure. We are to submit new proposals to be embodied in the constitution which completely alter the representation of the most popular branches of the legislatures in the whole of the states. The suggestion has been made that the federal parliament, under this proposal, would be [start page 627] in a position to so completely change the franchise for the election of members to the federal parliament as to extend the franchise to women. I assert that, although I have paid great attention to the consideration of this question, I have not, up to the present hour, been able to learn from any one who has supported these proposals what the consequence of such a violent change would be in our political institutions. I am not going to say at this moment that I would condemn a proposal of that kind if I were convinced that it was one that would promote the interests of the whole community of men and women; but I say that up to the present hour not one solitary state on this continent has ever attempted to submit for legislative decision a proposition of that kind. I object to arbitrary power being given to the federal parliament to deal with the franchise of the whole of the people in the way to which I have referred. If we are to be practical men, if we honestly believe that it is our duty to carry a rational constitution for a federal parliament, we must, I say, abandon these fads. Fads they are, at any rate up to the present hour, and I say we must abandon them.

Dr. COCKBURN: Which fads?

Mr. GILLIES: The hon. gentleman's proposal is a fad.

Dr. COCKBURN: What! Manhood suffrage a fad!

Mr. GILLIES: No, it is not manhood suffrage; we have manhood suffrage, and we are prepared to stick to manhood suffrage. I claim for our Parliament, the Parliament of Victoria, the power to frame its laws as it thinks proper with reference to the right of electors, or any man in the community to vote.

Mr. PLAYFORD: Have you women's suffrage in Victoria?

Mr. GILLIES: The hon. gentleman cannot keep quiet; he is bound to speak. Interruption can do no good, because it is not argument. In the colony of Victoria we claim the right to frame our electoral laws as we think proper-to admit every person to the suffrage. We claim the right to frame our laws so that there shall be one man one vote. No doubt that principle may be delayed for a time; but I believe

that in all the colonies it will come by-and by. But why should we rush this question at the present hour? Why should we draw a herring across the track, and try to prevent-as I believe will be the case if a proposal of this kind is carried-the federal parliament making such laws as it thinks proper? I deny that right; I do not think it is desirable. I believe that if we are going to do real practical work, and to form a federation, we must be prepared for the present to abide by the laws on electoral subjects which are made in each of the colonies; that the colonies, in returning men to parliament, shall return those men elected on the popular basis to the popular branch of the legislature; and we must be prepared to abide by those laws so long as they exist. To say that we are to insist on the colony of Victoria, or the colony of New South Wales, or the colony of Queensland, or indeed any other colony, electing persons to the popular branch of the federal parliament under totally different laws and conditions to those appertaining to the individual colonies, has never before been contended; and I am sorry that the question has been raised at present, because I am confident we are raising difficulties in the path of federation which are wholly unnecessary. I venture to say that there are some matters contained in the bill now before us which, if persisted in, will raise new difficulties and new troubles. For what purpose-with what object? Surely not for the purpose of preventing federation! I say, however, that they will help to prevent federation. This proposal for federation will naturally encounter, in conse- [start page 628] quence of natural diversities of opinions in the various colonies, sufficient opposition, without our raising new difficulties which it is not necessary to raise. The man who raises new and unnecessary difficulties in our path at the present moment is not a man, in my opinion, who is truly favourable to federation.

Dr. COCKBURN: The arguments of the hon. member, Mr. Gillies, were so entirely directed against the proposal of the hon. member, Mr. Barton, and not against mine, that I think it is for the hon. member, Mr. Barton, to answer them, and not for me. I concur in almost the whole of the remarks made by the hon. gentleman who last spoke. I think that the greatest diversity should be left to the legislatures in everything but things essential. With the exception of the question of one man one vote I would leave all the remainder of the realm of diversities to the legislatures. I agree that it would be a mistake to cramp the individuality of the different states by passing a general law arranging the franchise in every detail. Just a word with regard to the statement that any one who advocates that manhood suffrage and the one man one vote principle should find a place in this constitution is standing in the way, to some extent, of early federation. I maintain that it is quite the opposite. Unless you do this, those colonies which already possess manhood suffrage and the one man one vote principle will have to think very seriously before they surrender their liberties and make a retrograde step. It is a well-known saying that in democracy, there is no step backward.

Mr. FITZGERALD: What addition will one man one vote give to the people? Why, it is a bagatelle?

Dr. COCKBURN: It gives a great deal in principle, and something in practice, and to ask those who for many years have enjoyed the principle of one man one vote to delegate any portion of the functions they now exercise to a body which is not founded on so fair a basis, would be to ask them to do something which I question very much whether they would willingly undertake. Instead of my proposal standing in the way of federation, I am inclined to think that it will stand in the way of federation if it is not carried. These communities are progressive, and they can easily advance; but it is very difficult for them to go back, and I do not think they ought to go back. I should be sorry to see any colony which possessed these privileges surrender them in any respect whatever. On the other hand, I should be very glad to see the other colonies standing in the back rank come up and take their places in the rank of freedom; and that is what they would do. I consider that those who are advocating the insertion of this fundamental principle of democracy in our constitution are smoothing the way to federation, and are not placing obstacles in the path.

Mr. BARTON: Is the hon. member prepared to withdraw his amendment, to make room for the other one to be discussed?

Dr. COCKBURN: I have already stated that I would allow my amendment to be withdraw in order that the hon. gentleman may introduce his amendment. I would point out that the hon. member's amendment introduces an entirely different principle, and that it will in no way qualify the addition of the words afterwards. As it does not really touch the question, I feel bound in courtesy to withdraw my amendment, in order that the hon. member may move his amendment first.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. BARTON: I move:

That the clause be amended by inserting at its commencement the following words:-"The parliament of the commonwealth may make laws prescribing a uniform qualification of electors of members of the house of representatives. Until the parliament of the commonwealth otherwise provides" [start page 629] As I said a little while ago, I have adopted some words parallel with those in clause 21, referring to the senate, so that the parliament may with reference to the house of representatives, as well as to the senate, leave the power of prescribing a uniform manner of choosing members. In dealing with this matter before, I did not make myself sufficiently clear to my hon. friend, Mr. Dibbs. What I mean by this amendment is this: The clause as printed in the bill prescribes the qualification of each state to be adopted as the qualification for electors of members of the house of representatives. To that I object, because, whatever opinion may be held from time to time by the majority in the commonwealth, I see no reason why the majority, as exercising their functions through the parliament of the commonwealth, should be deprived of the opportunity from time to time of expressing that opinion by prescribing the franchise. I believe that, although we are giving to the various states, in the first instance, the power of sending members to the house of representatives, elected upon the franchise for the time being of the more numerous house, still that is a power which ought never to be intended to be perpetuated in the constitution, because there can be nothing more desirable than that there should be a uniform basis of election for members of the house of representatives, and there certainly can be nothing more undesirable than that members of the house of representatives, being elected upon different suffrages in different states, should be met with the argument that they are either more conservative or more democratic in the manner of their election than those who represent other parts of the commonwealth. We have to recollect that, with respect to the house of the commonwealth-that which may be more accurately described as the main house of the commonwealth, the national assembly-we should endeavour to represent uniformly the nation. I use this word "nation" without in any sense implying that it is a nation independent of the British empire. Well, if it is a sensible thing that there should not be an opportunity left for argument between hon. members coming from one state and those from another as to the basis upon which they are elected by the people-if it is a desirable thing that the people of the whole commonwealth, being fellow citizens, and being equally fellow-citizens for that purpose, should vote equally then there can be no question, I take it, that the suffrage throughout the commonwealth should be uniform. It has been very stoutly and warmly argued by the hon. member, Mr. Gillies, that we should leave things as proposed in the bill; but I cannot see my way to assent to that, as anything but a temporary proposition, because I do not see how we can well say that we have constituted a free parliament for the commonwealth unless we give that parliament power to choose the franchise upon which the parliament shall be elected.

Mr. DONALDSON: And interfere with state rights!

Mr. BARTON: I do not see why the hon. gentleman should say "and interfere with state rights" unless this franchise is an uneven, and in that sense a rugged one. I do not see why the hon. member should assume that a parliament elected on a uniform basis as prescribed by the commonwealth would be more likely to interfere with the interests of the states than would one elected on a totally uneven basis. What is the reason for the fear?

Mr. DONALDSON: The states of America never insisted on this!

Mr. BARTON: What have I to do with that? Are we building an American constitution?

Mr. DONALDSON: We are taking a copy from it where advisable!

[start page 630] Mr. BARTON: We are taking a copy from it where advisable; but we are exercising our own judgment as to what is advisable. It is no argument to say that a certain provision is in the Constitution of the United States; but if I find that it is applicable to the condition of this country I have no hesitation in taking the form of words, if they are fit words, in which it is embodied in the Constitution of the United States. However, it is no argument to say that a certain principle or provision is in the constitution of one country or another. What we are concerned about is whether a provision is adapted to the needs of this country. Then there can be no harm in adopting the words if they are fit words. There is no plagiarism, as suggested, for if certain words have stood the test of time, and are adapted for carrying out our wishes, we should take them, unless we can find better ones. Our adopting those words does not imply any superiority in the constitution from which we adopt them, unless the idea contained in those words has first commended itself to our judgment.

Mr. J. FORREST: Why did not the hon. and learned gentleman do this in committee?

Mr. BARTON: I did express my views on this question in committee. From the beginning I have held the opinion that if we constitute a free parliament in a free country, we must give the house most directly responsible to the people the right of fixing the franchise. You must allow not only that house, for that is a mere form of words, but the people, to fix their franchise. We must therefore look to the people of the commonwealth to constitute a franchise upon which they shall be represented in the house of representatives. If we do not, we are not adding to the liberty of the states or people; but are taking something away. There is no inconsistency between this position and the strongest advocacy of state interests where they are concerned. There is another house-an elected one that is to directly represent the states, and it is a reasonable and consistent thing to give to the legislatures of the states, if they are adopted as the electoral body, the right of choosing their representatives in the senate in the manner they deem best. But that does not affect the argument as regards the house of representatives one bit. It is the house directly representing the people, directly representing the commonwealth itself, and is expected to work, as we hope it will, with the house which represents the federal principle.

Mr. GILLIES: And form one homogeneous state?

Mr. BARTON: Yes; and form one homogeneous state. He who says that they will not form one homogeneous state together might as well argue that, where there are two houses, one with manhood suffrage, and another with a property qualification, you cannot form a homogeneous state. There you have class representation; but here you have not; that is the difference.

Mr. GILLIES: But there are six or seven colonies to come in!

Mr. BARTON: What have I to do with the number of colonies? The principle, if good, is good for six or sixty. What certainly did not appear to me to be clear in an argument on my proposal, addressed to the Committee by one hon. member, is this: upon what form of reason it was contended that, although we might constitute a house of parliament directly representing the people elected on popular suffrage, and allow the people, as represented in that parliament, to make their laws, so far as the form of the constitution allows them, and to present them to the other house for concurrence, we should refuse them permission to make their own laws as to a franchise which shall be satisfactory to the whole people.

[start page 631] It seems to be suggested that any one who thinks that state interests should be preserved in the senate is also compelled to abandon any idea of equal democratic representation. That is not so, and I feel as strongly my principle in this matter as I feel strongly my principle with reference to election to

the senate, and I trust that this amendment will be adopted, and that we shall not seek to fetter the hands of the commonwealth in any way, that we shall not seek to take away from the parliament of the commonwealth the power of prescribing, as the representatives of the people, how the people shall elect members to that house. I have already said that this amendment, if adopted, will not interfere with the amendment of the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn. If the amendment is adopted, and the clause as it stands follows it, and then the amendment of Dr. Cockburn is proposed, the result will be this: the amendment of Dr. Cockburn, if adopted, will qualify the whole of the clause, and introduce the principle he wishes to introduce, whatever system of election ensues; if, on the contrary, the amendment of Dr. Cockburn is rejected, it will not prevent, and it ought not to prevent, the parliament of the commonwealth from legislating if it chooses in the direction of one man one vote, or in the direction of any other popular reform; and, therefore, instead of fettering the proposal of Dr. Cockburn, if he should chance to lose his amendment, the amendment which I suggest will leave a way by which that popular principle can be proposed and fought out in the commonwealth.

Amendment proposed.

Mr. BAKER: What is the good of raising unnecessary difficulties? We shall have quite enough difficulties to overcome without placing any unnecessary impediments in the road of federation. I wish to remind hon. members of what has taken place in Canada with reference to this matter. The clause in the Canadian Constitution which deals with this question is in somewhat similar words to those now proposed by the hon. member, Mr. Barton. And what has been the result? For a considerable time the Canadian Parliament did not exercise the power of instituting a uniform system of election, and as long as they so refrained everything went well, and the people were satisfied. But in an evil hour they exercised their power, and nothing else they have done has given rise to so much ill-feeling and so much friction. The people in the different provinces of Canada turned round and said, "Why should you deprive us of that system of election to which we are wedded, and to which we are accustomed? Why should you force upon us something we do not want? What has it got to do with you how we elect our representatives to the national assembly, if we elect them, and that election satisfies us?" I wish to point that out to hon. members, because, inevitably, when we go back to our different colonies and ask them to assent to this constitution, we shall meet enemies at all hands; and, undoubtedly, what has happened in Canada will be raked up against us, and it will be said, "See how the people in Canada have had their privileges and rights interfered with unnecessarily by a provision such as this; and now you ask us to give power to the federal parliament to enact such a law, which has worked so detrimentally in Canada." I think we ought to take warning by what has happened in that country.

Mr. WRIXON: I shall be unable to vote for the amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Barton. It seems to me that we are losing sight somewhat of the object we had in view. We are not now forming a unified nation. We are only forming an arrangement by which a number of states can come together for the accomplishment of certain objects that are common to all. [start page 632] I think the less we intrude into the arrangements which each state makes for being represented in the common parliament, the better. If it is right that we should so intrude, and should inquire how they arrange to be represented, then I think we have just as good a right to go to the upper house as to the lower house, and I do not see why we should not object in some cases to nominee upper houses. New South Wales, for instance, has a nominated upper house, of which my hon. friend, Mr. Barton, I believe, is a member. Well, if we want to scrutinise the machinery which each state provides for returning members to the federal parliament, we might raise an objection to colonies returning them through a nominee upper house, on the ground that many of us do not agree with such an institution. But we do not propose to interfere with any colony having a nominee upper house. We leave it full and equal power with the colony that has an elective upper house; and just in the same way, I think, we should leave it to each state to determine for itself by what electoral machinery it will return the men whom it chooses to represent it in the house of representatives of the federal legislature. I think there is truth in what the hon. member who preceded me said, namely, that Canada has got into difficulties by this very step, and by taking upon itself to interfere with the electoral machinery and arrangements of the

different provinces subject to the Dominion Government, and I have no doubt that we should give dissatisfaction if we took a similar step.

Mr. KINGSTON: I think it is rather a pity that some arguments which we have heard addressed to the Convention in connection with this clause were not advanced at the time when we were discussing the propriety of establishing a uniform system in connection with the election of senators, because I am satisfied that had they been put with the force with which they have now been put, the small minority who were found recording their votes in favour of allowing each state to settle the matter for itself as it thought best would have been converted into a large majority. I thought, and still think, that it is just as well to refrain from interfering with the states in the decision of these questions for themselves, and I cannot see my way to support the amendment moved by the hon. member, Mr. Barton, which would have the effect of giving the federal parliament power to remove the subject from the jurisdiction of the states. Of course there must be some, limitation as to the powers of the states in connection with the decision of the question. We are surely justified in laying down some rules for their guidance, and when the proper time comes I shall be found recording my vote in favour of the amendment indicated by my colleague, Dr. Cockburn. The two questions are, of course, involved in this amendment-the one as to the propriety of insisting upon a property qualification as portion of the electoral franchise for the national assembly, and the other the expediency of prohibiting any elector having more than one vote in connection with the return of a member to the lower branch of the federal parliament. These two propositions have been referred to in a variety of ways. One hon. delegate, who, I believe, will find one of the principles at least embodied in the legislation of the country of which he is a distinguished statesman, has referred to them as "fads." I do not propose to enter into a discussion of their merits, for I imagine that we all have preconceived ideas on the subject which we are not likely to alter during the short argument which can take place on the floor of this Convention. I have a strong belief in the propriety, when we are establishing a constituency for the return of [start page 633] members to a national assembly, of insisting on the right of each individual to one vote in virtue of his individuality, of recognising that right and conceding it to him on that ground, and denying it to him on all other grounds; and it is for that reason that I shall record my vote in favour of the amendment. But, subject to those qualifications which appear to me as sufficient to mark out the nature of the constituency which is to be intrusted with the privilege of returning members to the national assembly, I would leave the matter in the hands of the states themselves to settle as from time to time they think fit. At the same time, does it not strike those who have recorded their votes at a previous stage of this debate in favour of establishing a uniform system for the choice of senators, that it is rather inconsistent to lay down within the four corners of this bill a rule for establishing uniformity to the extent of depriving the people of all right of direct choice of senators to represent them in the upper house, and at the same time to refer to proposals to lay down a few broad lines on the subject of the nature of the qualifications to be possessed by the electors for the national assembly as an unwarrantable interference with state rights, and an impudent intrusion on the rights of each separate colony to settle the matter for itself? Surely if we had a right to interfere as regards senators, we have an equal right to interfere with reference to the other branch of the national parliament. I sympathise with the arguments which have been advanced against unnecessary interference, and I shall resist the amendment which proposes to put under the control of the federal parliament the power of the states to deal with these matters for themselves as from time to time they think fit. At the same time I think we shall be abundantly justified in laying down broad principles absolutely essential, it appears to me, to the establishment and maintenance of democratic government in connection with this federation. For these reasons I shall be found voting in favour of the embodiment within the four corners of the constitution of the principles which are contained in the amendment of which my hon. colleague has given notice.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I think, so far from there being any inconsistency in the bill as it is framed, it is perfectly consistent with respect to both houses. With respect to the senate, we have provided that the electors for the senate shall be the persons who are appointed by the constitution of the state to make laws for the state; and with respect to the house of representatives, we say that the constituency shall be the persons who are appointed by the constitution of the state to elect the law-makers for the state. The two principles are identically the same: there is no inconsistency. I rose,

however, to say that I had entertained a little doubt in listening to the arguments as to which is the sounder view. But there is one aspect of the question which I think has not been considered by the advocates of the amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Barton. If we give the parliament of the commonwealth power to fix a uniform qualification, who is to say that they may not limit the qualification instead of extending it? That is by no means an improbable contingency.

MR. PLAYFORD: That is very improbable!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Just suppose a sudden wave of fright passing over Australia in consequence of labour troubles or something of that kind, and the federal parliament saying that it would not allow itself to be elected by such people, and passing a law limiting the franchise. Such a law could not be got through the parliament of the states, but the smaller number of members coming from each state might be willing to take the responsibility of passing it in the federal parliament. It might [start page 634] happen such things have happened. At any rate, I think that danger is quite sufficient for us to say that the parliament of the commonwealth should not do it; but if it is to be done it should be done by a change in the constitution. These are the reasons which induce me to come to the conclusion to vote for the bill as it stands.

HON. MEMBERS: Question!

Mr. PLAYFORD: We have had enough of this!

Sir GEORGE GREY: Surely we may be heard! It seems to me that we have had to listen to many speeches to which some reply ought to be made. I wish first to say this: that the hon. member for Victoria used an argument which I have often heard used in similar debates when there was a struggle going on between two parties, and he warned us that those on his side were practical men and meant practical business. Now, we are practical men, and we mean practical business, and we are more likely to fight with some energy because the effort is to deprive us of rights which are dear to all men. The effort is to say this: that we who are in possession of power, and an unusual power; that we who enjoy plural voting; that we who enjoy legislative councils which are either based upon a property qualification or have absolute power; that we, possessing all these advantages, are determined that you shall not enter into all your rights as free men, the undoubted rights that you have. I say, therefore, we mean practical business also. Now what is the actual purport of the amendment which is now before the Committee. It is nothing more nor less than this: That it being probable, and exceedingly probable in point of fact, that you will gain a majority on this question, you propose then to establish a machinery made up of the existing machineries which will enable you to hold every one of the advantageous powers that you have now in your possession. I say it is our business to resist that attempt, and not to consent to the proposal which is now before us. We are told that it is meant for a temporary purpose. It is quite true that it has a temporary purpose; but what is created for a temporary purpose is the power of saddling a permanent thing upon Australia, and therefore I say that such an amendment ought not to be allowed to pass. I feel satisfied that our duty is not only to oppose the amend anent, but to adhere to the proposal which will then come before us: that is, a proposal which shall ensure a free vote to every citizen of Australia. For I contend that if we set up in perpetuity the same form of government which has gone on for so long a period of time we shall be doing harm to Australia to an extent which we can scarcely conceive. I say that the present form of government possessed by these great states has not given contentment to Australia, has not given peace to Australia, has not carried Australia forward to that pitch of advancement which it might under another system of government attain. I believe that if the Government had been in the hands of the people of Australia, instead of in the hands of wealth, which is the real position it now occupies, the troubles now existing in Australia would not have been heard of, and that the whole position of the population of the country and of its commerce would have been far more advantageous than it is at the present moment. I can see no reason whatever for continuing such a government when the Parliament of Great Britain has given us the power, in point of fact, to put the government of the country in the hands of the people to be administered by the people and for the people. It is for that we contend as practical men. Hon. members may, if they please, call this a fad, but I say that the real fad is that by

which a small proportion of the population are determined to maintain a power over their [start page 635] fellow-men greater than they ought to claim, or greater than they can justly carry on. I shall, therefore, oppose this particular amendment.

Sir PATRICK JENNINGS: I have only a word or two to say on this subject. I think it would be an unwise departure from the principles which we have sought to embody in this bill to insert the words proposed by the hon. member, Mr. Barton, or to agree to the proposal of the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn. I think nothing could be more disastrous than any gratuitous interference with the constitutions of these colonies with regard to their electoral laws. We have accepted the constitutions of the various parliaments so far as the election of the senate is concerned, and we may safely take the same course with regard to the house of representatives. It would be safer and easier in every way to initiate the working of this great scheme without dictating to the several colonies an alteration of their electoral laws. These laws have been made by the people of the several colonies, and the people can alter them from time to time so as to admit of the introduction of any new proposal such as that of one man one vote. It will make very little difference in the representation of New South Wales whether we here adopt the principle or not. I am not personally opposed to it; but I do not want to go back to the electors of the colony and tell them that they cannot join the federation until they have adopted it. I think it would be extremely unwise to hamper the bill in that way. And with regard to nominee houses, surely, if a state wishes to have a nominated upper house, it can have it. The ministers who nominate the members of that house are responsible to the people. They live by the breath of the people; they live by the will of the majority of the popular house. It has been admitted that one-half of the colonies of Australia, that is to say, four of them, still have nominee houses. Take the case as it stands. New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and New Zealand, that is, four out of the seven states, have nominated upper houses. It is their own affair in each state as to whether they will maintain or alter the system. I myself am in favour of an elective basis; but I cannot refrain from saying that when a great struggle took place in Victoria, one of its most democratic political leaders at that time thought he could do better with a nominated than with an elective upper house, because in point of fact, as those who object to nominated upper houses properly tell us, they are weaker than elective houses. But I will not argue that point. I go upon the broad facts of the case. You have in Australia four provinces out of seven with nominated upper houses, and there would be an inconsistency, since you do not alter the elective basis of the lower houses, in dictating to those colonies that they should not have nominated upper houses. I therefore regard this proposal as in some degree going beyond the work we have to do. It has been said that we can safely leave various things to the parliament of the commonwealth. Why not leave this particular matter to that parliament? Why should we tie their hands? Why should we prescribe what they shall do? I have no doubt that from time to time, as occasion arises, alterations will have to be made in the constitution, and I think we may safely pass this clause as it at present stands, leaving the parliament of the commonwealth quite unfettered and unhampered in regard to their future actions.

Mr. DIBBS: I was prepared in the first instance to vote for the amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Barton; but after hearing the various speeches which have been delivered, I think there would be some danger in giving to the senate of the federal parliament power to reduce the [start page 636] franchise, although no doubt if such an attempt as has been suggested were made, it would lead to revolution. It is our place to make the bill as clear as possible with regard to the powers of the federal parliament. While I propose to vote against the amendment of the hon. member, Mr. Barton, I hope the hon. member, Dr. Cockburn, will push his amendment to a vote.

Amendment negatived.

Dr. COCKBURN: I now move:

That there be added to the clause the following words:-"But no property qualification shall be necessary for electors of the house of representatives, and each elector shall have a vote for one electoral district only."

I do not think it is necessary for me to say anything further, except to express the hope that hon. members will see that this necessary provision is inserted in the constitution.

Sir HENRY PARKES: I shall give my vote against this amendment. One objection I have to such an amendment being submitted is that it places persons who entertain views such as I do in a false position. At a proper time I should be prepared to deal with the question embodied in the hon. member's amendment; but I say that this is not the proper time. All that we have to do in this constitution bill is to bring the federal parliament into existence, and that parliament will find the means of giving due shape to its own electoral system. I think it is almost presumptuous for us to declare what shall be a principle in that electoral system. When the federal parliament is in existence, it will, like other similar bodies, soon find out the proper system under which its members are to be elected. All that we have to do is to bring the parliament into existence. I have understood all through these discussions that one opinion concurred in by all sides was that there should be as little interference with individual states as possible. I have adopted that view, and have sought to carry it out in good faith throughout our proceedings, interfering in no way whatever, except in so far as it is necessary to do so, to bring into existence a federal constitution. When that is once in existence, it can cut any knot that it is necessary to cut, and can shape its own course, as every other political body in the world has done. I shall vote against the amendment; but I do not desire to be understood as in any way expressing my view as to its policy. That I will do at the proper time; but this, in my judgment, is not that time.

Dr. COCKBURN: It seems to me that the proper time to lay the foundation is before you erect the fabric, and no effort should be spared to make that foundation firm and secure. As for bringing the federation into existence being our only aim, I think our aim should also be to bring it into existence in such a way as shall secure for it a healthy life.

Sir HENRY PARKES: There is a principle in the hon. member's amendment which he does not appear to see: that is, the principle of prescribing what shall be the basis of the federal electoral system. If he is right in introducing this subject now, according to his view any other hon. gentleman would be right in introducing the principle that the qualification should be a property qualification for the electoral body. It would be just as consistent, just as logical, as the course he has taken.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Or that the system of voting should be proportionate!

Sir HENRY PARKES: Precisely. The course I take cannot be disputed; it is simply to bring the federal parliament into existence with the least possible disturbance of the several states, and then leave that parliament to shape its own course and to say what its electoral system shall be.

Mr. DIBBS: I believe that the people of New South Wales will be more alarmed by the speech just delivered by the hon. [start page 637] member, Sir Henry Parkes, than by anything which has yet occurred. The hon. member says that all that it is our duty to do is to bring the federal parliament into existence, and that it will cut the knot of all these difficulties. But before powers are given to the federal parliament by the people of New South Wales, they will want to know on what foundations the fabric is to be built. When this parliament is brought into existence every colony will have to make a concession of some of its liberties.

Mr. GILLIES: No concession of liberties!

Mr. DIBBS: We are asked to create a federal parliament that will do all the work afterwards. We have a right to lay the foundation first, otherwise we shall create a federal Frankenstein. Before the people of New South Wales consent to create such a parliament they will want to know on what terms it is to be constituted, and what powers are to be given it. If we carry out the views of the hon. member, Sir Henry Parkes, and other hon. members who have spoken, we shall call the parliament into existence, and then it can do what it likes with regard to the various states.

Mr. GILLIES: We do not say that; quite the contrary!

Mr. DIBBS: That is the drift of what was said.

Sir HENRY PARKES: I said exactly the contrary!

Mr. DIBBS: All our business, the hon. member said, is to call into existence a federal parliament which will do all that is required. I do not believe that New South Wales will be prepared to call a federal parliament into existence on such terms.

Question-That the words proposed to be added be so added-put. The Committee divided:

Ayes, 9; noes, 28; majority, 19.

AYES.

Atkinson, Sir Harry Grey, Sir George

Cockburn, Dr. Kingston, Mr.

Deakin, Mr. Munro, Mr.

Dibbs, Mr. Smith, Colonel

Gordon, Mr.

NOES.

Baker, Mr. Griffith, Sir Samuel

Bird, Mr. Hackett, Mr.

Bray, Sir John Jennings, Sir Patrick

Brown, Mr. Loton, Mr.

Clark, Mr. Macdonald-Paterson, Mr.

Cuthbert, Mr. Marmion, Mr.

Donaldson, Mr. Moore, Mr.

Douglas, Mr. Adye Parkes, Sir Henry

Downer, Sir John Playford, Mr.

Fitzgerald, Mr. Russell, Captain

Forrest, Mr. A. Rutledge, Mr.

Forrest, Mr. J. Suttor, Mr.

Fysh, Mr. Wright, Mr.

Gillies, Mr. Wrixon, Mr.

Question so resolved in the negative.

Clause, as read, agreed to.

Clause 26 (Provision for case of persons not allowed to vote).

Dr. COCKBURN: I think that some alteration is needed in this clause. As far as I can see, this clause, like clause 24, was framed with the idea that the house of representatives would be elected by the people, and that all the people, that is, those who are usually electors, should have a vote. The clause seems to have been framed with the idea of excluding only alien races, and it provides that a deduction shall be made in the number of representatives each state is to have on account of those races. It will be as well, therefore, to make a reduction on account of those of our own people who, by the negativing of my amendment in a former clause, will be precluded from exercising their votes. By negativing my amendment that each individual should have a vote in virtue of his manhood, we disfranchise a certain number of those who otherwise would have been electors. I ask the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, whether it would not be fair to make a deduction here, and to strike off the [start page 638] number of the disfranchised persons from the population entitling each state to a certain number of representatives?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: In reply to the hon. member, I was about to say that if a clause like that were put in, it would have the effect of compelling Western Australia at once to do away with its property qualification-a very good result. But we have already agreed to give them four members in any case, so that it would not have that effect. The hon. member is quite logical. In the American Constitution it is provided in words somewhat similar to these that when the right of any free man 21 years of age is denied he shall not be counted in the number of the population. I recommend the Committee to pass the clause as it stands.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 29 (Periodical reapportionment).

Captain RUSSELL: There is no time prescribed in this clause as to when the apportionment shall be made. I think it is necessary to prescribe the time in order to avoid confusion. The clause says after each census, but that would not suit the case, because there might be an election before the apportionment could be made. In New Zealand a date has been fixed when the apportionment shall take place.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: When it ought to be made is as soon as possible. It will probably be about a year. It might be six months. We might be able to make it in three months.

Captain RUSSELL: I think it is three months in New Zealand!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I am certain that the returns of the census could not be got in in Australia in three months.

Sir JOHN BRAY: Who is to make the apportionment?

Captain RUSSELL: We appoint commissioners in New Zealand!

Sir JOHN BRAY: I do not think it ought to be necessary to make a law to carry out these apportionments. It ought to be carried out in a simpler way than that.

Mr. CLARK: It would complicate the clause to do it!

Sir JOHN BRAY: We ought to do it. It may be that a whole session will pass before the apportionment takes place. I would ask the attention of the Constitutional Committee to this matter. We ought to provide that it shall be done as soon as possible after the census, and there ought to be some mode of doing it provided.

Mr. J. FORREST: There is no doubt that the smaller colonies will labour under a great disadvantage if they have to wait ten years before they get their proper representation. In the colony which I represent we shall have a larger representation in the beginning than we are entitled to. But if the colony progresses, as we believe it will, great dissatisfaction will be expressed if we have to wait ten years before we get our proper proportion of representation. It is not likely that there will be another census throughout the empire for another ten years, so that it is rather a hard and fast line to draw. If, however, members representing the other colonies are satisfied, I am not prepared to propose an amendment.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: With reference to the suggestion of the hon. member, Sir John Bray, as to the mode of declaring the result of the census, that will be merely a ministerial function. The census will be officially taken, and will be made public. I agree that there ought to be some official mode of declaring it, and I would suggest that these words be inserted, "and shall be declared by the governor-general after each census."

Mr. BAKER: There are a few words in the American Constitution which would get over the difficulty pointed out by Sir Samuel Griffith, namely, that "the Con- [start page 639] gress may by proper legislation provide" for the matter. I believe the insertion of some such words would be the best way to meet the case. Undoubtedly the federal parliament will have to pass a law dealing with the subject. It is one of the first things that they will have to deal with, I think we had better leave the clause as it is.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I will not move any amendment.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 32. The qualifications of a member of the house of representatives shall be as follows:-

(1.) He must be of the full age of twenty-one years, and must when elected be an elector entitled to vote in some state at the election of members of the house of representatives;

(2.) He must be either a natural born subject of the Queen, or a subject of the Queen naturalised by or under a law of the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland, or of the parliament of one of the said colonies, or of the parliament of the commonwealth or of a state.

Mr. DEAKIN: Although the majority this morning took a contrary view, it appears to me that we should be only consistent if we inserted in the qualifications of a member of the house of representatives a parallel qualification to that which was affirmed by a large majority of the Committee in the case of a member of the senate. I think we should insert in this clause the words "and must have been for three years at the least a resident within the limits of the commonwealth." In the case of a member of the senate, it was five years, but I fancy that three years would suffice in the case of a member of the house of representatives. I therefore move:

That in line 8, after the word "representatives," the following words be inserted: "and must have been for three years at least a resident within the limits of the commonwealth, as existing, at the time when he is elected."

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I hope this is not going to pass as a matter of course. Why should we limit the electors of the states in choosing their members in the federal parliament any more than in choosing their representatives in their own parliaments? What reason can be given for doing this

except that we choose to do it. I confess I cannot see any argument at all in favour of the amendment, and I should like to hear one. If no argument is given I hope the amendment will be negatived. We shall not live always, and why should we put our dead hand upon the rights of the electors of the states which will exist after we are dead and gone? Surely they can be allowed to choose the men whom they like best. They will choose the men whom they know, though I believe a case occurred in New Zealand lately where the electors were glad to avail themselves of the services of a gentleman of large experience in the English Parliament who had just arrived there. Why should not they be allowed to elect such a representative here if they choose?

Mr. J. FORREST: It seems to be thought by some hon. members that no one is eligible as a member of the federal parliament unless he has had large experience in Australia; but the matters that will come before the house of representatives, or that come before any parliament, are not all local questions requiring local knowledge. There are many other questions that have to be considered, and we often find that men who have had no experience in Australia are very valuable members of parliament; at least, that is my opinion as the result of my small parliamentary experience. Although they are deficient in matters requiring local knowledge, in other matters their knowledge and experience is very valuable indeed. It seems to me that there is a marked difference between admitting as a member of parliament one of our own race and admitting a foreigner. Therefore, I would not at all object to put a restriction upon [start page 640] those who become naturalised, and who wish to enter parliament. I should not object if they were forced to live a number of years in Australia before they became eligible to be members of parliament. But it seems to me unfair, and altogether improper, to place a restriction upon one of our own race who chooses this part of the world as his home, and to say that be must remain so many years in the colony before he can take part in the federal government. If we did so, we might find the strange anomaly that a man who was occupying a distinguished position in the legislature, of one of the states-it might be that of prime minister of one of them was ineligible to be a member of the house of representatives. I hope this narrow and selfish view, if I may call it so without giving offence to an one, will not find any place in the bill. It seems to me that since we are only a small number of people-not more than 4,000,000, and occupying 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 square miles of territory-we should not say to our fellow subjects in other parts of the world, "You can come to Australia; but, if you come here, you will be under disabilities, and you will not be able to take part in the government until you have resided here for five years if you wish to become a senator, or for three years if you wish to become a member of the house of representatives."

Question-That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted-put. The Committee divided:

Ayes, 20; noes, 18; majority, 2.

AYES.

Baker, Mr. Fysh, Mr.

Burgess, Mr. Hackett, Mr.

Clark, Mr. Loton, Mr.

Cockburn, Dr. Macdonald-Paterson, Mr.

Cuthbert, Mr. Moore, Mr.

Deakin, Mr. Munro, Mr.

Dibbs, Mr. Parkes, Sir Henry

Donaldson, Mr. Rutledge, Mr.

Fitzgerald, Mr. Smith, Colonel

Forrest, Mr. A. Wrixon, Mr.

NOES.

Atkinson, Sir Harry Grey, Sir George

Barton, Mr. Griffith, Sir Samuel

Bird, Mr. Jennings, Sir Patrick

Brown, Mr. Kingston, Mr.

Douglas, Mr. Adye Marmion, Mr.

Downer, Sir John Playford, Mr.

Forrest, Mr. J. Russell, Captain

Gillies, Mr. Suttor, Mr.

Gordon, Mr. Wright, Mr.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Mr. DEAKIN: There will naturally be a consequential amendment in the next part of the clause. My hon. colleague, Mr. Cuthbert, will move an amendment, in order that the provisions with regard to naturalised citizens may be the same as those with regard to other citizens.

Amendment (Mr. CUTHBERT) agreed to:

That the following words be added to the clause:-"at least three years before be is elected."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 37. The place of a member of the house of representatives shall become vacant if for one whole session of the parliament he, without permission of the house of representatives entered on its journals, fails to give his attendance in the house.

Mr. GORDON: I move as an amendment:

That the words "one whole," line 3, be omitted with a view to the insertion of the words "four consecutive weeks during a."

It appears to me that as members are to be paid £500 a year it is not right to allow a member the opportunity of nursing his seat during a whole session without the leave of the house, and in defiance, perhaps, of the wishes of his constituents.

Mr. DEAKIN: Surely four weeks is a little too short. A member who neglects his duties will certainly be brought to book by his constituents. I am in sympathy with the hon. member, but I would suggest that he should increase the period to eight or ten weeks.

Sir JOHN DOWNER: I entirely agree with the amendment. It appears to [start page 641] me that when a man is paid £500 a year he should not be absent from his duty for four weeks without giving some reason for it. Any reasonable explanation which he can give will always be accepted. That system has existed in the South Australian legislature for a long time.

Mr. FITZGERALD: This is really a very small matter. I hope the feeling which will actuate members of this highly responsible body will be such as to induce them not to be absent, and that consideration of pay will have no influence with them. I think the clause may be safely allowed to pass. We might very well trust that no member would be absent without good and sufficient reason. To tie a member down to two, three, or five weeks, appears to me to be a reflection upon the character of this future parliament which is unworthy of the Convention.

Mr. MUNRO: It appears to me that hon. members wish to make an exception in regard to members of one chamber, and not of another. Surely, if the representatives who have not to go to the trouble and expense of an election, are to be allowed to remain away a whole session, without being interfered with, it is not fair play to those who have to go to the trouble and expense of an election, to declare their seats vacant, if they are absent for a month.

Mr. GILLIES: It is state rights!

Mr. MUNRO: Well, it is personal wrongs.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I should like to know whether this provision is in force in any parliament in the world?

Mr. PLAYFORD: Yes, in South Australia!

Mr. GILLIES: That is the most exceptional country in the world!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I remember that a session of parliament was once called in Queensland. Two members were absent the whole of the session, and of course they lost their seats. They never heard of the session until after parliament had been prorogued, although they were in the country. That may happen in this instance. Who knows but that a session may be held, and a member may be away at the other end of the world, and who is to say that parliament will give him leave of absence? Let his constituents deal with him.

Sir HARRY ATKINSON: I shall vote for the limited time, but with the view of recommitting clause 19, and putting the same restriction in that.

Dr. COCKBURN: I shall vote for the excision of these words, for I think that a whole session is far too long a period for a member to be absent. On the other hand, in voting for the excision of these words, I do not bind myself to vote for four weeks, which I think is rather too short. I think that we might very well say two months. I hope that my hon. friend, Mr. Gordon, will accept this suggestion.

Mr. BAKER: Either eight or four weeks might be longer than a session. Parliament might be suddenly called together, and the session might not last a week, and as the hon. and learned member, Sir Samuel Griffith, pointed out, some members might never have heard of it.

Amendment negatived; clause, as read, agreed to.

Clause 38. Upon the happening of a vacancy in the house of representatives, the speaker shall, upon a resolution of the house, issue his writ for the election of a new member.

In the case of a vacancy by death or resignation happening when the parliament is not in session, or during an adjournment of the house for a period of which a part longer than seven days is

unexpired, the speaker, or if there is no speaker, or he is absent from the commonwealth, the governor-general shall issue, or cause to be issued, a writ without such resolution.

Dr. COCKBURN: I would ask the hon. and learned member, Sir Samuel Griffith, what is the meaning of the words "upon a resolution of the house"? It seems to me that that is unnecessary. I think the fact of a vacancy occurring [start page 642] should, without any intervention of a distinct resolution, cause the speaker or the president, as the case might be, to issue a writ for a fresh election. I think that any delay in this matter might be very serious to the smaller states, who have only a small number of representatives, and, without liking to suggest that party considerations or state rights considerations might interfere so as to delay a resolution, I would suggest that it would be better to strike out those words, and, as I know is the case in South Australia, and, I believe elsewhere, let the speaker, directly a vacancy occurs, proclaim it, and issue a writ for a fresh election. I do not think it is well that any unnecessary delay should occur even in regard to our state legislatures; and it is all the more necessary that no delay should occur in the case of members of the house of representatives, who would have a double duty to perform-to look after not only the people of Australia as a whole, but also to a certain extent the special privileges and rights of the states they represent. I move:

That the clause be amended by the omission of the words "upon a resolution of the house," line 3.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I would point out to my hon. friend that he has omitted to consider that vacancies in the house might occur by a great many means, and that there must be some judge as to whether the vacancies have occurred. It is provided, for instance, in clause 44:

If any question arises respecting the qualification of a member, or a vacancy in the house of representatives, the same shall be heard and determined by the house of representatives.

If those words were left out the speaker would be the judge. Some one might come and tell him, "So-and-so has become insolvent"; that might or might not be true. Some one might tell him, " So-and-so has become a government contractor." How is the speaker to know whether that in-true or not?

Mr. FYSH: That would be a very awkward question for the house to decide!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: If a member had either taken the oath of allegiance to a foreign power or had been convicted of a crime, how would the speaker know that?

Mr. GILLIES: What is the meaning of the words, "upon the happening of a vacancy"?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Whenever the seat of a member becomes vacant.

Mr. GILLIES: Who is to determine it?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The house.

Mr. MUNRO: That would not do!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Is the hon. member aware that every constitution provides for it? The stereotyped words are, "Upon a resolution of the house declaring such vacancy." When a member of the house becomes either a government contractor or a bankrupt, does the speaker exercise the power of declaring that member's seat vacant? I have known instances where serious questions have arisen as to whether the writ should or should not be issued-in cases of bankruptcy, for instance. Suppose a man is adjudged a bankrupt, and lodges an appeal against the adjudication, would not the house, under those circumstances, decline to issue the writ until it knew the result of the appeal? Of course it would. Some one must exercise that discretion, and it cannot be left to the speaker. In every parliament of which I know this is the practice.

Dr. COCKBURN: The exceptional cases that the hon. and learned member mentions-such as members becoming government contractors-are already provided for in clause 48, where it is laid down that in those cases either the senate or the house of representatives are to be the judges. I take it that this clause applies more to vacancies such as those caused by death.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No!

[start page 643] Dr. COCKBURN: In clause 44 it is laid down that where the question respecting the qualification of a member, or a vacancy in the house of representatives, is debatable at all, it is to be determined by the house of representatives. I think that in all cases where the fact of a vacancy can be called in question there should be an adjudication either by some tribunal of justice or by some resolution of the house. But in the case of a vacancy occurring in consequence of death it is not necessary to declare the vacancy by a resolution. I am speaking of the time when the house is in session, and legislation is in active operation.

Mr. FITZGERALD: No harm, then!

Dr. COCKBURN: There might be harm. One vote might make all the difference; and there might be a certainty that when the vacancy was filled up it would be known on which side the vote would be given; and that might make all the difference in the-world. I say, leave it to the speaker to act on his own motion, and not on a resolution which might be brought forward for party purposes; and we know very often that party feeling does run very high.

Mr. FITZGERALD: How would it be when the facts were disputed?

Dr. COCKBURN: Where there is any dispute, it would be governed by clause 44. I think it is a mistake to retain the words to which I object; but, if the feeling of hon. members is against me, I do not wish to occupy their time. I think the words are superfluous; and it would be better if they were left out. But, although I have moved that they be struck out, I will not divide the Committee on the question.

Mr. DONALDSON: I think there is a great deal of force in the contention of the hon. gentleman. There will be large constituencies represented in the federal parliament, and it will take a considerable time before a member can be returned, and several more days might elapse before he could attend in his place in parliament, and during that time very important questions might be hanging in the balance. I do not believe in any state being practically disfranchised through not having an opportunity of returning a member in a case where be would lose his seat through insolvency, or perhaps through treason, or through being convicted of an infamous crime. All these disqualifications are provided for in clause 44, and I do not think there can be the slightest objection to provide for them in this clause; in fact, I think there can be no doubt that words should be added to the clause to provide for a case in which a man is convicted of either treason or an infamous crime. I can understand that when a man either resigns or dies the speaker has power to issue a writ to have the vacancy filled; but I know that in Queensland, in a case of insolvency, a vacancy once existed for some time after the meeting of the House. It was reported to the House early in the session, of course, but before the writ was issued and returned some three or four weeks elapsed, and I believe that a longer period than that will be required in connection with the federal parliament. I have no strong feeling on the point, but I believe we would be acting fairly by inserting these other provisions in the clause.

Amendment negatived; clause, as read, agreed to.

Clause 4l. Every house of representatives shall continue for three years from the day appointed for the return of the writs for choosing the house and no longer, subject nevertheless to be sooner dissolved by the governor-general.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I would ask Sir Samuel Griffith if he has considered the practice in the different colonies at the present time in regard to the duration of parliaments? In South Australia the practice is that the house shall last three years from the date of its first meeting.

[start page 644] Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The committee considered the matter carefully!

Sir JOHN BRAY: I am not going to propose an amendment, if the matter was fairly considered by the committee; but it seems to me that it might be rather inconvenient to fix the period of three years from the date of the return of the writs.

Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON: There might be three or four batches of writs!

Sir JOHN BRAY: Exactly. The writs are not necessarily all returned on the same day. The electoral laws of the different colonies will remain in force, and in some instances there is a difference of three or four weeks in the return of the writs.

Mr. DONALDSON: That is so in Queensland!

Sir JOHN BRAY: It would, therefore, be absurd to fix the date as that appointed for the return of the writs. I think it should be three years from the first meeting of the parliament, and in order to test the feeling of the Convention on the question, I beg to move, as an amendment:

That after the words "for the," line 3, the words "first meeting" be inserted with the view of striking out other words.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The hon. gentleman asked whether the committee considered this question. They did consider it, and they thought that if they adopted the suggestion just made the effect would be, in very many instances, to give members of parliament a longer life than three years. We considered that a member of parliament should be a member of parliament as soon as he was elected; he must then, or very soon afterwards, make his arrangements for the meeting of parliament.

Mr. MUNRO: Does this bill provide that he shall be paid from the day of his election?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: It means that as it stands. If we provide that the three years shall date from the meeting of parliament, and parliament does not meet for a considerable time after the election-and a month or possibly three months might intervene-we shall practically be giving the members a longer life than three years, and we did not desire to frame a bill which would enable a man to be a member of parliament for more than three years. As to this particular phrase, it was taken from the English Constitution. The practice in England has been that when the House of Commons is dissolved, the Gazette which contains the proclamation, or one issued concurrently, also contains a proclamation summoning a parliament to meet on a given day, and all the writs are appointed to be returned on that day.

Mr. DONALDSON: That has not been done in Queensland!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: It has not until lately been the practice in Queensland; but it has been the custom in England. The time required there is very short, and probably it would not make very much difference; but the meeting of parliament might be postponed beyond the day for which it was first summoned. I have known that to happen before now, and it may happen frequently again. Taking all these matters into consideration, we thought it best to adopt the proposal in this clause, and in doing so we followed the old established form, the meaning of which has been ascertained by long practice, and one advantage of which is that it always secures a dissolution before the last day. There being some doubt in the matter, we thought it wiser to adhere to the old form.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I am very glad to hear that the committee considered the point, although I think they arrived at a very unwise decision. The hon. gentleman who last spoke is mistaken in what I take to be the drift of all parliaments. No parliament lives out the full term of its existence. It is always dissolved before it actually expires, and so it would be in this [start page 645] case. The practice almost invariably is for the house to be dissolved, and a new house elected, before the expiration of the three years, the object being that there shall always be a parliament in existence. The intention is not that the members shall be elected for three years, but that they shall absolutely serve for three years, and the three years ought for the sake of convenience to date from the first meeting of parliament. At any rate, we ought to ensure that all the members shall be elected for the same term, and that one member's time shall not expire three or four weeks before the term of another member, as might be the case under this clause.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No!

Sir JOHN BRAY: I think so, because the date appointed for the return of the writs is not necessarily the same in every district.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: The clause does not say that each member shall sit for three years, but that the house shall endure for that time!

Sir JOHN BRAY: But the house consists of members. At any rate, the operation of the clause is not very clear, and I would ask hon. members to agree to the amendment I have proposed.

Mr. BAKER: The hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, says that this clause is not intended to fix the term for which members of the house shall hold office, but to fix the duration of the house itself; but there can be no house without members. If the writs are returned at different dates, members of parliament will hold office for different periods.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No!

Mr. BAKER: That is how it strikes me. If the writ of one member is returned three weeks before that of another, the first man will be a member of parliament for three weeks longer than the other.

Mr. BARTON: The writs are appointed to be returned on the one day!

Mr. WRIXON: I must say that the amendment of the hon. member, Sir John Bray, commends itself to my mind. Until parliament meets, and the members present themselves, you do not really know who is a member of parliament and who is not. Up to that time a man is only returned to serve in parliament, and it may be that he will not take the oath when he presents himself at the table, or it may be that he is disqualified, and, therefore, until the house meets, and the members take the oath, and qualify themselves, you do not know who are members of parliament and who are not. It seems to me, therefore, that you have one uniform date at which you know those who really are members of parliament when you start from the first meeting of parliament. But if the day of the return of the writs is uncertain, you will not know who are members of parliament until they are actually sworn in.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I apprehend that all candidates who are returned are members of parliament, and are entitled to all the privileges of the position. If they refuse to take the oath or commit any act which deprives them of the right of membership, they divest themselves of those privileges quite as much as they would by resignation; but until that happens they are members. But the point is that no period is mentioned within which parliament must be summoned after the date of the return of writs. According to the clause the governor, acting under the advice of his executive council, may take no action for nine months, and persons may be members of parliament for nine, or possibly ten months before parliament is convened. I submit to the consideration of the Convention whether some limit should not be provided in the clause within which it should be compulsory to call parliament together,

even if it were only to have an adjournment immediately afterwards. In that case the roll would be [start page 646] called, members would take their seats, and it would be known who were the members. I intended, if the amendment of the hon. member, Sir John Bray, had been adopted, to ask the Convention to assent to the insertion of these words, "The meeting of parliament which shall be summoned within a period of not longer than two months from the date of the return of such writs." I do not know whether this point was considered by the Constitutional Committee, but if it was, perhaps the hon, member, Sir Samuel Griffith, will be kind enough to give us some reasons why no reference is made to it at all in the clause?

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I shall endeavour, if I can make myself heard, to answer my hon. friend's question. I have in my hand the Constitution of New South Wales. It originally provided that

every legislative assembly of the said colony hereafter to be summoned and chosen shall continue for five years from the day of the return of the writs for choosing the same and no longer subject nevertheless to be sooner prorogued or dissolved by the governor of the said colony.

That provision was amended by what is called the Triennial Parliaments Act, which uses exactly the same language:

shall continue for three years from the day of the return of the writs.

And the Electoral Act-a later act-contains this provision:

The day to be fixed for the meeting of parliament after the return of writs for general election shall not be later than the seventh clear day after the date on which such writs shall have been made returnable.

It is assumed, it will be observed in the clause, that the English practice is observed, that all the writs are returnable on one day.

Sir JOHN BRAY: That is not the practice in all the colonies!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No, because we have drifted, unfortunately, into another practice, and the return of the writs has been treated in many of the colonies in Queensland for a long time until lately-as something quite different from the meeting of parliament. The theory is that the writs are all returned to the Queen at Westminster on the same day, the members bringing them themselves, and that parliament is then constituted. That practice has been departed from in the colonies, and I think several make the writs returnable as soon as possible after the elections. It is simply an accident arising from want of sufficient familiarity with the Constitution they were following. I agree with the, hon. member, Mr. Fitzgerald, that a day ought to be fixed for the meeting of parliament. I would suggest the adoption of the provision in the New South Wales Electoral Act.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Seven days might be too short!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: Whatever time it is, it ought not to be long.

Mr. FITZGERALD: I should suggest thirty days!

The CHAIRMAN: I would ask hon. members to dispose of one amendment before, they suggest another.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I was addressing myself to the amendment before the Committee, and giving reasons why it is more convenient to pass the clause as it is, agreeing that a subsequent provision be put in to the effect suggested by the hon. member, Mr. Fitzgerald.

Mr. GILLIES: I would like to draw attention to the fact that it may be very inconvenient for a government to be tied down to meet parliament within a certain period after the election. We have known cases in which that would have been extremely inconvenient. We have known, I suppose, in all the colonies, that it has been advisable to allow some time to elapse after the election has taken place.

Colonel SMITH: We want to stop that!

Mr. GILLIES: It is provided in every colony that parliament shall be elected for [start page 647] a certain period, and shall expire at a certain period. Let me give an illustration, which is not solitary to Victoria. The Parliament of Victoria will expire next February, the election will take place very shortly after the dissolution, probably in March, and if you are going to insist that it shall meet within thirty or forty days, Parliament will be called together in April.

Colonel SMITH: The hon. member did that himself after the last election!

Mr. GILLIES: It might be extremely inadvisable to meet at that time, and it might be advisable that the meeting should be postponed. It has not up to the present time been determined that parliament shall be absolutely called upon to meet at any particular period, except on the determination of the governor-in-council, who will call parliament together, and who will be responsible. With reference to the determination of the question as to when the duration of parliament should begin, it has been set out in numerous cases as the time when parliament is called together. The provision in our act runs in this way:

The present and every future legislative assembly shall exist, and continue for three years from the day of the first meeting thereof, and no longer, subject, nevertheless, to be sooner dissolved by the Governor.

I believe that provision is also contained in the Constitution of New South Wales.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: No; I read the provision in the New South Wales Constitution!

Sir JOHN BRAY: It is in the South Australian Constitution!

Mr. GILLIES: Of course, in the different colonies, the return of writs has been sometimes settled differently. The return of writs in cities is generally shorter than anywhere else. The return of writs for towns, and portions of surrounding districts, is a little longer, and then the return of writs for very large agricultural areas is longer still.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: That is because people blunder!

Mr. GILLIES: That is an assumption on the part of the hon. member which I think is wholly unwarranted. We are speaking of the experience of legislation for the last thirty years, and to say that it, is a blunder is in my judgment quite an error.

Sir HENRY PARKES: The practice in New South Wales at a general election is to make all the writs returnable on the same day!

Mr. GILLIES: That is not the case in some of the other colonies. What we are considering now is the question whether it is desirable to fix the term of three years for which the parliament will exist from the time at which it meets? That is the question. The writs may be returned in one month and parliament may not meet until three months afterwards. Under the provisions contained in some of our constitutions a time is fixed for the meeting of parliament.

Sir HENRY PARKES: In New South Wales the writs are returnable in case of a general election on one day, and Parliament must be convened within seven days.

Mr. GILLIES: That is very true; but that provision is not made in a number of local acts.

Sir HENRY PARKES: It is made in the New South Wales Electoral Act!

Mr. GILLIES: What we have to consider is the most convenient way. The principle is that parliament is to exist for three years. Does parliament in reality exist for three years if it be elected on say, the 1st March, if return of writs be due at the end of March, and it meets seven days afterwards? As I have pointed out it is frequently not advisable for parliament to be called together within seven days of the return of writs. As a matter of fact, several of the colonies do not have [start page 648] their parliaments meeting at that time, and it appears to me that the proper time from which to date is when the governor-in-council requires parliament to meet that is, that the term of the existence of the parliament should be three years from the day of meeting, not earlier. The parliament would then exist three years from the commencement of business, and that appears to me to be a fair and correct way of looking at the question. I think the Convention would do well to adopt that view. If parliament is to exist for three years, it is in reality called upon to exist for three years from the time of its meeting.

Sir JOHN DOWNER: I think the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, and the hon. member, Sir John Bray, are aiming at one and the same thing, although each hon. member has a different way of putting the matter. As the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, pointed out, really the writs are returnable on the day parliament meets, and members are expected themselves to return them. We, however, have got into a different usage. We preserve the constitutional words in some cases, but we have departed from the constitutional usage. In South Australia we have used words not to meet the old constitutional principle, but to meet the modern usage, and it is proposed now to return to the old words, which admit of a different interpretation. Surely the shorter way would be to put the clause in the form suggested-from the day of meeting. The hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, has shown that strictly and constitutionally the day of meeting and the day of return of writ mean the same thing. If they mean and should be the same thing, why not say so?

Dr. COCKBURN: I think it is a bad thing to give to a parliament power to prolong its own life, and yet if we adopted the suggestion of the hon. member, Mr. Gillies, and made the parliament exist for three years from the date of its first meeting, we should practically give it that power. A ministry might find it extremely inadvisable to call parliament together soon after a general election. They might, representing a majority of the lower house, postpone the day of meeting for almost a year. They could not go beyond that time, because the constitution provides that no more than twelve months shall elapse between the first day of a session and the last day of the preceding session. A ministry, however, would have it in its power to prolong the life of a parliament considerably.

Mr. FITZGERALD: And the ministry might, after a general election, be in a minority!

Dr. COCKBURN: That would be still worse than the case I have already put. In any case, it would be a bad course to give the ministry such a power. I think some provision should be made that the writs be returned within a certain time after a general election.

Mr. FITZGERALD: Or that parliament should meet-that is the point!

Dr. COCKBURN: It does not matter much which-it comes to the same thing.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I suggest that it would be convenient to at once settle the question whether the day appointed for the return of writs should be the date, or whether the day of meeting should be the date. To leave the question vague and uncertain as to when parliament should meet is, I admit, a most dangerous thing. The period of the existence of the parliament becomes uncertain if it is to date from the date of the meeting. The object of the hon. member, Sir John Bray, is to fix the period

from which the three years is to date. I want not only to fix that, but to make the period not more than three years. The hon. member secures one part of the object, and makes the term [start page 649] absolutely definite from which to count the three years, but he leaves the actual duration uncertain and indefinite. The hon. member is definite in form, but not in substance.

Sir HENRY PARKES: I think that unless some definite provision is made we shall leave matters in a somewhat dangerous position. I think I am quite justified in stating a case that occurred in this colony, and which led to the present restriction in the electoral law. A government in former years in New South Wales dissolved parliament. In the general election it was decisively defeated, but it nevertheless kept parliament from meeting, if I remember aright, for a period of six weeks, and just before it met tendered its own resignation, so that after the defeat had actually taken place at the polls, this particular government to which I now allude actually kept the new parliament from meeting for a long period. That is the circumstance which led to the provision in our present electoral law-that parliament must be convened within seven days from the return of the writs. It seems to me that it would be possible for men to do exactly the same thing in the federal parliament if the provision stands as now proposed, and I should think it would be better to fix a period for the final return of the writs, and to insert a provision similar to that in our electoral law-at all events, it can do no harm-that the government must call parliament together within seven days of their return. In our case the provision has been found to work extremely well.

Mr. PLAYFORD: If that provision be inserted it does not matter whether we fix the date of the commencement of the life of the parliament at the return of the writs or at the meeting of parliament, because both must take place within seven days of each other. All we want to do is to fix a date at which the life of parliament shall commence. I think if we adopt the proposal of the hon. member, Sir Henry Parkes, it will meet the case. It is immaterial, however, whether we make the date that of the return of the writ or that of the day of meeting, if only seven days can elapse between the two things.

Mr. GILLIES: Can all the writs be returned at the same time?

Mr. PLAYFORD: I think a time can be fixed at which the writs can be returned from all parts of the colonies, because the date of return, if fixed intelligently, would be some considerable time after the actual election. Some hon. members seem to have confused the date of the election and of the return of the writs as if they occurred at the same time. They do nothing of the sort. The return of the writs may be subsequent to it, and may vary in time and date. In our colony we have the writs returned at different dates. In other colonies they have them returned on one day. The old constitutional form in England is to have them all returned on one day; and it was intended by the committee that they should be returned on one day. This does not refer to the mere election of members. Therefore there will be plenty of time on the return of the writs for members to be present, and a date should be fixed for parliament to meet after the return of the writs. For the reasons given by Sir Henry Parkes, I think we should adopt the words which are contained in the New South Wales Electoral Act.

Mr. MUNRO: The difficulty is the difference between the territory of New South Wales or any other colony and the very large area of territory which this bill has to deal with. If there had been a contested election in East Kimberley, the member for that district could not have been present at the meeting of parliament within seven days after the return of the [start page 650] writ. The question is, what time should be fixed? Are we, going to fix the time for the expiration of parliament at three years after the date of the return of the writs? I assume that all the colonies will come into the confederation in the course of time. Just imagine what might happen if parliament had to meet seven days after the return of the writs from New Zealand! A steamer might break down, or there might be a storm, and the government might be turned out of office owing to the non-arrival of their supporters from New Zealand. We must fix some time from which the three years are to begin; and I think the proper time is the meeting of parliament.

Colonel SMITH: We will fix a time for the return of the writs!

Mr. MUNRO: The hon. member is only thinking of Victoria, where all the writs could be returned in forty-eight hours; but for the whole territory of Australia we must allow a reasonable time.

An HON. MEMBER: What is reasonable time?

Mr. MUNRO: It is for those who have to travel over the territory to say. I think that the proper time to fix for counting the three years would be the date of the meeting of parliament.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: There is evidently some confusion still in the minds of hon. members. For instance, the hon. member, Mr. Munro, says it will take a long time for members to come from the different places to the parliament; but surely the members can come as fast as the writs can come. The question is not of the actual return of the writs, but the date on which the writs are directed to be returned. When, parliament is dissolved the day is named. An hon. member has been talking of the day appointed for the return of the writs as if it was the day on which the pieces of paper were actually received. It is nothing of the kind. When parliament is dissolved, and the writs are issued, a day is fixed on which the writs are to be in, and if we adhere to the English practice it will be the day already named for the meeting of parliament. According to the English practice there is always a parliament either summoned or prorogued. Coincident with the dissolution of the old parliament is the proclamation calling the new parliament.

An HON. MEMBER: We have departed from that!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I know; but is every departure that is made from the English Constitution to be regarded as the English Constitution? In the minds of some hon. gentlemen every departure made in their own colony, perhaps by inadvertence, from the English Constitution is regarded as the essence of the Constitution.

An HON. MEMBER: It is an improvement!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: How is it an improvement? Some hon. members have spoken as if the date for the return of the writs was the date of the physical receipt by post. That is not the case. There is no difficulty whatever. A date must be fixed in the first instance before the writs are issued. It must be one day, and that is the day from which the three years count. That is fixed at the date of the dissolution.

Sir JOHN BRAY: I do not see why, when we have a practice in vogue in several of the colonies which we understand, by which the term of the parliament is fixed from the first meeting of parliament, we should go back to a practice fixed 200 years ago in England. If we have a practice that works well, we should adhere to it. It seems to me that we should have a fixed time for the meeting of parliament, and the idea is that the house of representatives shall not continue to exercise its [start page 651] powers for more than three years. If we adopt the amendment I suggest, fixing three years from the time of meeting, the parliament cannot do anything after that term. They cannot exercise any legislative powers before they meet.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: They can draw their salaries!

Sir JOHN BRAY: I think it is quite right that they should; but I think it is right, as the hon. member, Mr. Fitzgerald, says, that no government should be allowed to put off indefinitely the meeting of parliament. Seven days would be too short a limit, and we might make it thirty days. I would ask the Committee to say what we mean. Let us have a fixed time from which the house of representatives shall count its three years, and let that time be the date of its first meeting. It is all very well to say that the date fixed for the return of the writs is not the date; but let us say what we mean. The date for the return of writs might be put off indefinitely by some ministry. I ask the Convention to say plainly that parliament shall not exercise its powers for more than three years, and after a

parliament has met on a certain day, unless it is sooner dissolved, it should cease to exist three years after that day, and parliament should be called together within a certain time after the last writ has been returned.

Sir HENRY PARKES: I am very unwilling to refer to anything done in the colony which I represent, and I only do so now because what I am about to refer to seems to me singularly in point. In the Electoral Act under which we now live, for which I am personally responsible, there are several restrictions. First of all, it is provided that for a general election the writs shall be issued within two days. That restriction arose from an abuse of the law, that is, from an unnecessary delay in the issue of the writs. Our present Electoral Act provides that such writs shall in every case be made returnable on a day not later than the thirty-fifth clear day after the date of the issue thereof. In the first place, it is rendered impossible for the government for the time-being to delay the issue of the writs, and, in the second place, it is rendered impossible to delay the fixing of the date of the return of the writs beyond a reasonable term. Then it is distinctly provided that the date fixed for the meeting of Parliament after the return of the writs shall not be later than the seventh clear day after the date of such return, so, that under our law it would be utterly impossible for the government in office to tamper in any way with the Parliament. They must issue the writs; they must make the writs returnable within a given time, and they must convene Parliament within seven days. All these restrictions arose out of actual abuse of the law, that is, delay in issuing the writs, delay in making them returnable, and delay amounting to a long time in calling Parliament together. It appears to me that Sir John Bray's amendment would leave this power in the hands of the executive government still; they could delay calling parliament together unless we had some provision that they should call parliament together not within seven days, but within fourteen or twenty-one days, or whatever may be deemed a sufficient time for the larger constituency. I think we shall make a great mistake if we do not fix the law so definitely as not to leave anything in the hands of the executive for the time-being, which can be so manipulated as to delay the convening of the new parliament.

Question-That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted-put. The Committee divided:

Ayes, 18; noes, 17; majority, 1.

[start page 652]

AYES.

Atkinson, Sir Harry Kingston, Mr.

Bray, Sir John. Marmion, Mr.

Brown, Mr. Moore, Mr.

Burgess, Mr. Munro, Mr.

Donaldson, Mr. Russell, Captain

Fitzgerald, Mr. Rutledge, Mr.

Forrest, Mr. J. Smith, Colonel

Gillies, Mr. Wright, Mr.

Grey, Sir George Wrixon, Mr.

NOES.

Baker, Mr. Forrest, Mr. A.

Barton, Mr. Fysh, Mr.

Bird, Mr. Griffith, Sir Samuel

Clark, Mr. Jennings, Sir Patrick

Cockburn, Dr. Loton, Mr.

Deakin, Mr. Parkes, Sir Henry

Dibbs, Mr. Playford, Mr.

Douglas, Mr. Adye Suttor, Mr.

Downer, Sir John

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment (Sir JOHN BRAY) agreed to;

That the words "return of the writs for choosing" be omitted,

Amendment (by Sir JOHN BRAY) proposed:

That the following words be added to the clause:-"The Parliament shall be called together not later than thirty days after the day appointed for the return of the writs for a general election."

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I would suggest to my hon. friend that thirty days is too long a time. He still seems to think that the duration of the parliament dates from the time when the writs come in, instead of from the time at which the writs are returnable. This you may make as distant as you like.

Sir HENRY PARKES: Thirty days is too long!

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I believe seven days is enough.

Dr. COCKBURN: The clause has now really returned to its original form-that is to say, the time of the return of the writs is still practically the date from which the duration of the parliament is to be reckoned, and we are far from the position pointed out by the President, of taking out of the hands of the government the power to prolong the life of the parliament by delaying the return of the writs, As the hon. member, Sir Samuel Griffith, has said, the writs may be made returnable at as distant a day as you like. Parliament is to meet within thirty days from that time, and the life of the parliament is to date from its first meeting, so that we have not yet attained the object at which we are driving. I would ask the hon. member to amend his amendment by striking out the words "for the return of the writs."

Mr. PLAXFORD: I think that as far as this matter is concerned we need not try to frame an electoral law. No doubt the commonwealth parliament will do that, and will meet the contingency pointed out by the President. All that we want to do is to fix the date at which the federal parliament will begin its work, and having done that the parliament will no doubt make all the necessary provisions with regard to the electoral laws very shortly after they meet. We are simply wasting our time now.

Amendment agreed to; clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 43 (Continuance of existing election laws until the parliament otherwise provides).

Mr. BARTON: I think there is too much verbiage in this clause. It reads:

The manner of conducting elections for the more numerous house of the parliament, the proceedings at such elections, the oaths to be taken by voters, the returning officers, their powers and duties, the periods during which elections may be continued, the execution of new writs in case of places vacated otherwise than by dissolution, and offences against the laws regulating such elections . . . .

I think the words "Elections for the more numerous house of the parliament" would be quite sufficient. We need not go into the proceedings at elections and so forth because if we use the word "elections" it covers all that.

[start page 653] Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: If the hon. member's suggestion were adopted the whole of the existing electoral laws would be incorporated. The clause is intended to be a selection of the provisions of the electoral laws which might fairly be incorporated, that is, as to the manner of conducting elections, the proceedings at them, the oaths to be taken by voters, the powers and duties of the returning officer, the periods during which elections may be continued, the execution of new writs in cases of places vacated otherwise than by dissolution, and offences against the laws regulating such elections. If the hon. member's suggestion were adopted, however, the clause ought as well read, "The laws in force in the several states regulating" such elections shall apply. I know that the matters referred to in the clause must be provided for; but what else there may be in the several electoral laws I do not know.

Mr. WRIXON: I venture to suggest that it will be better to refer these mere drafting points to the hon. member in charge of the bill. The whole time of hon. members who are kept here away from their business is taken up in considering points of drafting. Only one man can properly draft a bill, and I know that it is a most risky thing to consider amendments in the verbiage at the table. I think these suggestions should be sent to the hon. member in charge of the bill, as otherwise we shall be kept here interminably.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I do not at all agree with the hon. member, Mr. Wrixon, that this is a matter of drafting; it is a substantial provision.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 45. Each member of the senate and house of representatives shall receive an annual allowance for his services, the amount of which shall be fixed by the parliament from time to time. Until other provision is made in that behalf by the parliament the amount of such annual allowance shall be five hundred pounds.

Mr. WRIXON: I am not going to violate my own rule, and raise a point on the drafting here, except to suggest to the hon. member in charge of the bill that the wording is not, I think, the best that could be adopted. I think that to describe the payment mentioned in the clause as an allowance for services is a misdescription. It is really an allowance for the reimbursement of expenses.

Mr. CLARK: We argued that out in committee!

Mr. WRIXON: I should prefer to see the wording which is used in some of the statutes of those colonies which have adopted payment of members, namely, that it should be put as the reimbursement of expenses, because otherwise you get into the public mind the idea that members of parliament are actually paid a salary for their work, which they are not.

Mr. MARMION: I do not see why these words "for their services" should be included at all. Why not say that each member of the senate, and of the house of representatives, shall receive an annual allowance? I move as an amendment:

That the words "for his services," line 3, be omitted.

Mr. GILLIES: I beg to move:

That the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again to-morrow.

If hon. members will take the opportunity of looking at the laws in the several colonies, with reference to the payment of members, they will find that a series of provisions ought to be inserted in the bill which are not inserted. If they look at the New South Wales act, they will find provisions which take into consideration the salaries that are paid to ministers, to officials, and so on. Some provision is required in order to guard against officials being paid double. When a member of parliament becomes a minister of the [start page 654] Crown, the amount he was previously paid as member of parliament lapses. There is no provision of that kind in the clauses of this bill. It is not at present contemplated in this bill to make any other provision than the bald provision already made. Surely it is not contemplated that in the event of a member of parliament who was being paid £500 a year accepting office, he is to receive his salary as a minister of the Crown plus his salary as a member of parliament. We have to consider these questions in a rational manner; and to settle a matter of this kind without consideration is not likely to commend it to our own judgment, and certainly not to the judgment of the public.

Sir SAMUEL GRIFFITH: I certainly think that we have done as much work as we are likely to do well to-day, and I doubt very much whether the Committee is prepared to give proper attention to further work to-night. I should like to say a word or two in reference to what the hon. member, Mr. Gillies, has stated in regard to the absence of provision on matters of detail. The omission was intentional so far as the drafting committee was concerned, because we thought it was not our business to encumber the constitution with matters of detail. One of the first things to be done by the parliament of the commonwealth in its first session would be to settle the salaries of ministers, and a great number of other matters of that kind. We have, therefore, given them power to deal with this subject. We did not think it necessary to make this in an sense a payment of members bill. We lay down, however, the principle that they, are to receive an annual allowance for their services, and we thought that it should start in the first instance at £500.

Motion agreed to; progress reported.

Convention adjourned at 6.33 p.m.