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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 2968

Senator DURACK(10.39) —When I was speaking earlier I mentioned a textbook entitled `The International Bill of Rights' and referred to a discussion on page 242. In fact the relevant part is contained on page 240 and the discussion goes from page 238 to page 241. Some useful footnotes should also be referred to. I point out to Senator Evans that I sought in no way to mislead the Committee. I told the Committee that I was referring to a view expressed by the Human Rights Commission in relation to a complaint from the Proportional Representation Society. Of course, it was not dealing with a specific opinion of whether the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights requires a system of one vote one value as against one person one vote.

The meaning of the phrase `equal suffrage' applies equally by analogical argument familiar to lawyers to the argument on the issue of one vote one value. It is equally strong against that interpretation. It is a normal piece of legal reasoning to quote the reasoning on one issue where it is clearly logical and reasonable that it should be applied to another issue. I turn to the textbook and the notes and to the careful material prepared in that letter from the Secretary to the Human Rights Commission. One can see the high relevance of that reasoning to the solution to the question of whether the Covenant requires one vote one value. All reasoning we have indicates that it does not. That is the basis of the argument that the Opposition has been advancing. I wanted to make that point quite clear to Senator Gareth Evans.