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Thursday, 23 August 1984
Page: 322


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(10.27) —The short point is, I think, that we are drafting a Constitution here rather than a piece of legislation, and since there is likely to be some trickiness involved in producing the kind of provision which is able to distinguish between the order in which people are elected by reference to the order in which they achieve quotas as distinct from their order of success in terms of the number of primary votes they receive-and that is the basic distinction I think one has to juggle- the view that was taken was: Let us just get the principle there that it is not at large to determine the order in which people are appointed in the short or long term as the case may be, it has to be by reference to relative success; let us leave the complexities of defining what is relative success to either legislation or resolutions of the House as the case may be. That is not a course that it is appropriate to adopt when one is talking about legislation but a perfectly appropriate course to adopt when one is talking about a constitution which just sets the general principles rather than arguably the very detailed rules. I think the drafting problem would prove rather quickly to be that it was necessary to have some very complicated drafting to put this matter absolutely beyond doubt in such a way as to enshrine it and lock it up.


Senator Haines —That is why we have always left it.


Senator GARETH EVANS —That is why we have left it to the Senate or, as the case may be, to legislation as is now proposed. I really do suggest that that is the only question before us, given that this is not an ordinary piece of legislation . It is a constitutional change we are talking about. We ought not to fuss about this and just satisfy ourselves whether we want to go down the track of leaving it to the Senate or to legislation which is something about which I feel fairly relaxed and I think the Government feels fairly relaxed and vote on it on that basis rather than try to embark up on a drafing exercise at this late stage-not this late hour but this late stage of the proceedings.