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Wednesday, 16 February 1977
Page: 102

Mr E G WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services. Now that the High Court has declared for the second time that certain sections of the Representation Act are null and void and that the original sections of the Constitution still apply, and since there are no proposed referendums to alter those sections, what steps has the Government taken to determine the number of members in this House to which each State is entitled and to undertake the redistribution of electorates which the High Court has declared must take place in the lifetime of this Parliament?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -The Minister for Administrative Services will be making known very shortly the Government's decisions on this matter. The Leader of the Opposition, I know, has been pressing in these matters in recent days. He will not have to curb his impatience for a great deal longer.

Mr E G WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Will the statement be made here too?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER -A statement can be made in this House. If legislation is introduced, I should have thought that its introduction and the second reading speech of the appropriate Minister would provide an adequate forum for an expression of view on what has to be done.

Mr E G WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If a statement is made in the other place, it should be made here, too. If a Bill is introduced, that is another matter.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - I should have thought that the honourable gentleman would understand that legislation is necessary to overcome these matters.

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