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Friday, 22 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) .- The provision in the Constitution for the re-distribution of seats according to the census figuresoperates automatically, but I believe we suspended its operations during the war, although the population figures had altered, because so manyof our men were away. The census has since been taken; but although various statements have appeared in the press as to the population figures, the Electoral Department cannot act until it receives figures which are officially certified to be correct. The initial preparations are now being made, but the Department cannot act, because it has not received the figures officially certified by the head of the Census Branch.Immediately the Department is ready, arrangements will be made for the appointment of Commissioners to re-allot the seats according to the proportional figures under- the Electoral Act. We aim at equal electorates; but there is always a margin allowed on each side, in order to enable the Commissioners to consider what is known as community of interest.

Senator Wilson - Is that likely to be completed before the election ?

Senator RUSSELL - Yes. It is compulsory under the Constitution, and no undue delay will take place. I cannot fix the date, but if the honorable senator will ask a question a little later, I shall endeavour to obtain full information for him.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it the intention of the Government to go right on?

Senator RUSSELL - Yes. I do not think the Government have any option.

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