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Thursday, 15 October 1964

Mr TURNER (BRADFIELD, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior and is related to a newspaper statement regarding proposed amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act. Has the honorable gentleman noted the studiously worded terms of a report in today's " Sydney Morning Herald " implying, first, that the Prime Minister has foreshadowed an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act allowing for 20 per cent, fewer voters in rural than in city seats and, secondly, that this has always been the law but that Distribution Commissioners have failed to interpret it correctly? Apart from the completely unjustified interpretation of the Prime Minister's policy speech and the reflection on Distribution Commissioners over the past half century, does this mean that there is an intention to give votes to cows and sheep as well as to people? Does the honorable gentleman know that in the United States of America within recent months the Supreme Court has ruled against cows and sheep and in favour of people as constitutents? Does the honorable gentleman think that when the measure comes before the House members are going to behave like sheep or goats, or perhaps in some cases like cows? Finally, would he agree that this slanted report bears all the hallmarks of a handout by some person who with too much partisan zeal and too little prudence has brashly provoked inevitable reactions at this time?

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