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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2577

Mr BEAZLEY (Special Minister of State)(12.30) —The Government will not support the five amendments which have been moved by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Wilson). Nevertheless I also indicate that we think that he has raised some important points that are worthy of consideration. The implications of passing them at this stage, in the form in which he has them, would probably mean a substantial number of other machinery amendments. These are matters which have been discussed at different points of time in the High Court of Australia. I think all honourable members are aware that there is always likely to be concern in that quarter about what precisely are the entitlements of the Territories. Under the Constitution as it exists at the moment, and as the honourable member for Sturt quite clearly recognises, to place that beyond doubt will probably require constitutional amendments. I suppose that is the reason why he very sensibly wishes to pursue the matter in at least one area, at the Constitutional Convention. In seeing those merits in the honourable member's arguments, I am impelled to undertake to him that I will raise with the Government the possibility of referring the matters that are in his amendments to the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform which brought down the original report and which contains suggestions for the legislation that we are now considering. I think that would be a very appropriate forum for the propositions that he is putting forward to be considered in detail.