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Thursday, 28 April 1932

Mr SPEAKER (Hon G H Mackay (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The point raised by the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Holman) is one of considerable importance/ I was rather surprised when the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) proceeded to read the reply to a question that he had asked. These replies are handed to the Clerk of the House, without being read, so that the Chair has no knowledge of. them at the time. However, I assume that the Minister has investigated, the matter, and if he believes ' that he is strictly within his rights in replying to the honorable member, for Richmond, I am not prepared to rule that he is out of order.

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL - 1 have no doubt as to the correctness of the course that I' am pursuing. This -matter comes under the administration of the Department of the Interior, and I am of the opinion that \the honorable member for Richmond is entitled to ask a question concerning the administration of that department, particularly in regard to the machinery by which Parliament is elected. To continue, the election took place accordingly, and the writ was duly returned. It is contended that the proper procedure was adopted. There is no provision in the Constitution for the withdrawal of the writ and the creation of a set of circumstances that would have permitted an election to take place for the vacancy that resulted from Senator Duncan's resignation. Even if a new writ had been issued for the Senate elections, an expenditure of something like £30,000 would have been involved. In view of the discussion that has arisen, the Government intends to ask the Crown Law authorities to examine the matter more closely.

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