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Wednesday, 16 February 1977
Page: 103

Mr WILSON (STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Mr Speaker,I address my question to you. By way of preamble I state that it is my view that the Territories should, like the States, be entitled to have members in this House in proportion to their populations. Mr Speaker, has your attention been drawn to the High Court judgment in MacKellar's case? Is it a fact that the power conferred on Parliament by the Constitution to allow representation of a Territory in either House of Parliament does not enable Parliament to make the representatives members of this House or the Senate? If they are here as representatives of the Territories and not as members of this House, do you propose to permit the representatives of the Territories to vote in divisions, to perform your duties in your absence, to be included in the number of members to constitute a quorum or to be treated in any other way as members of this House rather than as mere representatives of the Territories?

Mr SPEAKER -I have had my attention drawn to the decision in MacKellar's case. I am not aware from a reading that the court has held definitively that there can be representatives from the Territories but that they cannot be members of the chambers. There may be some basis from some of the statements made by judges for some people to draw that conclusion but I am not able to do so at this stage.

In the third part of his question the honourable member asked whether some things would happen if Territory representatives were not members. The honourable member has asked a hypothetical question and I am tempted not to answer it. But as the honourable member's question is specific perhaps I ought to put aside any doubt as to my actions. Members from the Territories will be able to carry on exactly as they do now. They will be able to vote, to perform my duties as Deputy Speakers and to be counted in quorums. They will be treated as members of the House unless and until there is an alteration in the law by legislative process or any alteration of the Standing Orders.

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