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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2849


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I wish to oppose the amendment moved by the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) just as I oppose clause 6 of the Bill. The words that I uttered in this House last night and the words that have been spoken by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) and other members on this side of the House are such as to suggest that it does not matter what term the Government proposes for a Northern Territory senator or an Australian Capital Territory senator. We believe that the entire concept is wrong. The reason why these strange terms are being introduced is simply to accommodate the Government's intention to increase the size of Senate so that in accord with the Constitution it can increase the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

I set out last night my view that rightly or wrongly in a referendum in late 1967 or early 1968 the Australian people had rejected our proposal that we should break the nexus. All that this Bill proposes to do is to get around the difficulty in another way so that gently and surely the Government can increase the number of representatives in this House. I do not believe that our founding fathers - and no doubt some of the people who originally went to the early Constitution conferences were members of the Labor Party - would have believed that a Labor Government today, after wandering in the wilderness for 2 decades, would within its first 6 months of office try to upset the entire concept of federalism. The Senate is a States House. The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are not States and therefore, like other honourable members of this Parliament, I can have nothing but contempt for the Bill and for this clause.







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