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Thursday, 19 November 1959


Mr J R FRASER . - This is a piddling little bill and should not occupy much of the time of the Parliament. The original enactment of 1948 gave to the member for the Australian Capital Territory the right to vote on a motion for the disallowance of an ordinance. An enactment of the Parliament earlier this year increased the right and gave him the power to vote on a motion for the disallowance of a regulation, in addition to the right to vote on any motion relating solely to the Australian Capital Territory. The present measure simply gives the member for the Australian Capital Territory the right to vote on a motion for the disallowance of part of an ordinance or part of a regulation. The word [ used earlier means trifling, insignificant and paltry. If the Government wishes to introduce trifling measures of this kind, we say, " It is your bill and we leave it to you ".


Mr Timson - Would you rather not have it?


Mr J R FRASER - I suppose even a minor improvement can be made. The Opposition has stated its position quite clearly. It believes that no restriction should be placed on the voting rights of the member for the Australian Capital Territory. Other members of the Opposition and I have sought on a number of occasions to persuade the Government to amend the act so as to remove all restrictions. Last year, the Opposition introduced a bill to remove all restriction on the voting rights of the member for the Australian Capital Territory. It was taken to the first-reading stage, but the Government did not find opportunity for it to be debated. Earlier this year, when the Government introduced a measure to amend the act in the way that I have mentioned, I, on behalf of the Opposition, moved an amendment which would have removed all restrictions on the voting rights of the member. But Government members lined themselves up to vote against that amendment, reaffirming the view of the Government that the member for the Australian Capital Territory, representing more than 22,000 electors, should not have voting rights equal to those of every other member of the Parliament.

Now, this bill comes before the House to grant a trifling improvement. If there should be a motion for the disallowance of part of an ordinance or part of a regulation, the member for the Australian Capital Territory pro tern shall have the right to vote on such a piddling little matter. This is a trifling bill, an insignificant bill and a paltry bill. We do not oppose it. We will not vote on the motion for the second reading of it. We leave it to you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Bill - by leave - read a third time.







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