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Tuesday, 28 August 1906

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! I must ask honorable members not to carry on conversations across the Chamber. I have had frequent occasions to call attention to the transgressions of honorable members in that respect.

Mr WILKS - As I have said, the eyes of the Government are attracted to the nine seats in Victoria which would be affected by the adoption of the proposed new system.

Mr Groom - And to the twenty-seven seats in New South Wales, too.

Mr WILKS - I have shown that none of the seats in that State would be affected, but that the measure would be effective mainly in Victoria. If the Government would only admit that their object was as I have indicated, we 'could more, readily understand the change of front on the part of .their principal press supporter, which, upon a former occasion, whipped with scorpions a much better proposal. I have endeavoured to show that the new system would play into the hands of well organised political bodies, and although I hope to see the day when the polls at election time will be larger than at present, and when majority; rule will obtain, I cannot support the measure now before us. I have no desire, as has been suggested, to sand-bag the Bill, but I have given unreasons, which, I think, are sufficiently cogent, for desiring that it should be set aside, and that a thoroughly scientific and up-to-date proposal should be submitted next session.

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