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Thursday, 6 May 1920

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member's reference to the Senate is not in order.

Mr LAZZARINI - Under the" Constitution, each State- returns six members to another place, so that the representation of a small State is equal to that of a State which has three or four times its population. The voting power of a small State thus works out as being worth three or four times that of a large State. Another principle for which we stand, and which, I think, every honorable member who desires to have responsible and democratic government in Australia must support, is the repeal of that provision in the Constitution which requires that a proposed amendment of the Constitution, in order to become law, must be carried by a majority of the voters in a majority of the States. That provision means that in the three most populous States of the Commonwealth New SouthWales, Victoria, and Queensland - an overwhelming majority might approve of a proposed alteration of the Constitution, yet because in the three smaller States - Tasmania, Western Australia, and South Australia - small majorities were recorded against the amendment, it would be defeated. It would be quite possible for a proposed amendment of the Constitution to be accepted by a majority of at least 100,000 of the voters of the Commonwealth, and yet because of this requirement to fail.

Mr Austin Chapman - We must trust the people.

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