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Friday, 12 September 1969

Mr McLEAY (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is a sound thought. To take that thought a little further, and to be perfectly serious, there is no reason why family names cannot be used, because it will be found often that a series of people in a particular family have rendered outstanding service. In Appendix E to the Committee's report we find the suggestion that Boothby was named after William Robert Boothby who was the returning officer for the first election in 1901. 1 have done some research on this and I am quite convinced that the report is incorrect in this regard.

There were three members of the Boothby family who were well and very favourably known in South Australia in the years before federation. The first was Benjamin Boothby who was a judge. His son, William Boothby, was the ene whom the Select Committee believed that the electorate had been named after. There was a grandson, Guy Boothby, of whom we can dispose of very quickly because he was a novelist. The one after whom the Committee believed the electorate had been named was the electoral officer in South Australia who ultimately became the Deputy Sheriff and then the Sheriff. But the Boothby whom I believe to be the one after whom this Division was named was a judge of the Supreme Court. Benjamin Boothby was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1853. He had a reputation as a fighter, if I may use that word in the legal sense, in the interests of the colony of South Australia.

He frequently clashed with the Colonial Secretary in London on local matters. In the later years of his career as a judge he declared the Constitution Act 1856 together with all laws enacted under its provisions, to be invalid, and he postponed the trial of many prisoners who bad been arraigned before him on charges under those laws. He was a colourful and highly regarded figure in South Australia.

In my view the Select Committee mistakenly assumed that the Division was named after William Robinson Boothby. His stature in the then South Australian colony was minor compared with that of his father, Benjamin Boothby. William Robert Boothby's contributions to the community were important and significant - I have mentioned that he was the electoral officer and a dedicated public servant - but the important point is that he was still living at the time of the general election in 1901 and it is even possible that he could have been the returning officer in the election in 1903, although he died in that year. I. hope the Minister will check on these figures which may be found in the 'Australian Encyclopedia'.

I think there is no doubt that the Division could not have been named after William Robinson Boothby but must have been named after his father, who was an identity in those early days. What is even more significant is that Benjamin Boothby was a contemporary of every one of the other famous persons I have just mentioned and whose names are recalled in the Parliament today. Sir George Grey died in 1898; Sir John Hindmarsh died in 1860; Sir George Kingston died in 1880; Charles Sturt died in 1869; E. G. Wakefield died in 1862; and George Fife Angas died in 1879. Mr Justice Boothby, the one who, I believe, has claim to this recognition, died in 1868, which was in the same period. So I submit that the name Boothby should continue to be honoured in this Parliament.

I think it is important to have these facts recorded, in this Parliament and particularly in this chamber. I hope to have the honour to represent the electors of Boothby for many more years, but no matter who is the elected representative I trust that he will ensure that the name Boothby is retained and that the records of the Select Committee are put straight on this point. I believe also that the name Hawker should be retained. Unfortunately I have not had time to carry out the appropriate amount of research on this name, nor do I have time to talk about it in this debate. Hawker is the name of an electorate which will be involved in an election for the first time on 25 th October, yet the Committee has indicated (hat it thinks that the name Hawker should be abandoned. Like the Boothby family, not one, but several members of the Hawker family have rendered outstanding service to Australia over an incredible number of years. One of the members of the Hawker family was a member of this place. So I ask the Minister: What is wrong with using the names of distinguished families? In the case of the Hawker family, community service rendered by C. A. Hawker, M. S. Hawker, G. C. Hawker and E. W. Hawker totalled well in excess of 100. Surely Hawker is a satisfactory name to use for this electorate.

In the short time left to me, I shall say something concerning the one vote, one value proposal put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). I should like to recommend to future distribution commissioners, future Ministers and future parliaments that anything put forward by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to redistribution proposals should be very carefully examined. Honourable members will remember the long speech made by the Leader of the Opposition last year when he advocated the use of the one vote, one value principle, and went so far as to define the meaning of the word 'gerrymander'. There is no need for me to go through that, because there is not sufficient time. Obviously the Leader of the Opposition is a man of high principles, but occasionally he finds these principles something of a nuisance and an embarrassment. Honourable members will recall that during the course of the deliberations on redistribution proposals last year, the Leader of the Opposition spent a lot of time attacking the Government Parties and accusing them of creating a gerrymander in New South Wales. In a letter which he wrote to the distribution commissioners on 19th August he submitted that an area of the division of Prospect containing an estimated 4,000 voters be transferred from Prospect to Reid. This would have made the electorate of Reid the largest in New South Wales. He rationalised this inconsistency by expressing concern for the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) whose home would otherwise have been placed in the electorate of Prospect.

I should like to quote briefly from the journal 'Focus' which was distributed at about this time. In the issue of 1st October 1968, under the heading 'Whitlam Again Strikes Trouble', the journal explained what had happened concerning the Leader of the Opposition's submission to the distribution commissioners, and it went on to say:

Hisaim was undoubtedly to prevent the majority of A'LP members resident in West Guildford from voting in the forthcoming pre-selection ballot to be contested by his son, Mr Anthony Whitlam.

This is the man of high principles who talks about gerrymandering. I know there is not sufficient time to build this case up to any significant proportions, but, as I have said, the next time redistribution proposals are introduced, we ought to look very carefully at propositions advanced by the Leader of the Opposition. I suggest to members of his Party that they should do the same. I should like to quote what the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) said about his leader at the time of the leadership struggle, because it is important that we know the mentality of a man who is making submissions upon which future electorates may be subdivided. The honourable member for Yarra said:

Hisresignation and conduct have endangered our Party because they brought completely into the public arena matters which should have been settled elsewhere . . . They have raised the question just how far can Mr Whitlam go in defying majority decisions of the Party . . .

Although they are not my words, Mr Deputy Chairman, they are my thoughts. The honourable member for Yarra went on to say:

I do not think Mr Whitlam has proved himself a stable leader and an unstable leader means an unstable party. Such a leader should be the last man to be given greater power.

The honourable member went on to accuse the Leader of the Opposition of intellectual arrogance. We saw evidence of that only today. The honourable member for Yarra completed his letter to members of the Federal Labor Caucus by saying:

It would be disastrous for the Party if Mr Whitiam could claim a mandate to continue what was this week called 'his war against the Party'. The only effective restraint against this is the election of a new leader.

I believe that future electoral commissioners and future Parliaments should look very carefully at any submissions put forward by the Leader of the Opposition on the one vote one value principle. I hope the electorate will have a good look at any submissions he puts forward during his election campaign.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Hon. Sir William Haworth) - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

Proposed expenditures agreed to.

Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

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