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Thursday, 26 October 1911


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I understood the honorable senator to refuse to name the person who had made this suggestion, and to say that it was made by members of the Labour party.


Senator Vardon - I beg your pardon. Here is the newspaper report, which the honorable senator can read for himself.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I accept the assurance of the honorable senator. I am dealing with the statement which he made, and not with a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.


Senator Vardon - I quoted the report.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Proportional representation was put forward by the honorable senator for the purpose of improving the basis of representation in the Senate. He spoke of it in the light of a democratic proposal ; but he had not very far to go to-day to find that he is not prepared, as I should be very willingly, to support a proposal of that sort, provided that it applied to the constituency of Australia rather than to the States.


Senator Vardon - And for both Houses ?


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I shall deal with that point in a moment. That would be giving representation to the people rather than the basis of equal representation which we have to-day, and which, of course, I accept. The honorable senator claims that it would be democratic to introduce proportional representation within the States, but he is not prepared to establish a general Democracy throughout Australia! I want to state why neither the honorable senator - nor, I take it, any other representative of a small State - will advocate this system. I want them to refrain from using terms in support of a proposal which is anything but democratic.


Senator de Largie - And in which they do not believe.


Senator Vardon - That is not the only false statement which you have made.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Yes ; but it is a very good cry if they can get anybody to listen to it.


Senator de Largie - Mr. President, I draw your attention to an interjection by Senator Vardon that I have made a false statement, and ask you to request a withdrawal of it.







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