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Thursday, 15 October 1964


Mr ANTHONY - I have not had a chance to read the " Sydney Morning Herald " this morning. There has been, in the Commonwealth Electoral Act, just about since Federation, provision to allow for variations of the quota of constituents in an electorate to 20 per cent, above or 20 per cent. below the quota. The Prime Minister did state in his policy speech, and it also was stated in the Governor-General's Speech, that there would be slight amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act to make clearer to the Distribution Commissioners the reasons for provision for variations of 20 per cent, either above or below the quota. The provision has existed since 1904, I might say, and the Australian Labour Party when in office has found just as much occasion to use it as has the conservative side of the House. I think that when people say there should not be variations, members of the Opposition ought to consider some of the Opposition members who have enormous electorates, for example, the honorable members for Kalgoorlie, Kennedy and Darling. Last week I was fortunate enough to be in the electorate of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. I found that many people there believed that he should have an electorate with fewer people in it than are in the electorate of a member representing a metropolitan division. In his electorate he has 860,000 square miles to try to cover. Now, I fail to see how the honorable member can give the same value of representation to his constituents as an honorable member in a small electorate can give to his constituents. In reply to the second part of the question of the honorable member for Bradfield, relating to a recent case in America -


Mr Whitlam - Several recent cases.


Mr ANTHONY - 1 will comment on that. This started with the Carr v. Baker case in the U.S. Supreme Court. There have been several amplifications of this case. The case related to representation within the States of America and has no bearing on the U.S. House of Representatives.


Mr Whitlam - Yes it does.


Mr ANTHONY - It does not have any bearing on the House of Representatives. It relates only to the various States. It should be of interest to this House to know that in the U.S. House of Representatives there can be a variation of from 70,000 to 440,000 in the number of constituents who elect a representative.







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