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Wednesday, 2 July 1941

Ministry's Choice Defeated - Senator Lynch Re-appointed.

Senator P.J. Lynch, United Australia party, Senator for Western Australia, was re-elected President of the Senate ata meeting of United Australia party senators this morning. Hit election is a tribute tohis popularity with individual members, as he retained the Presidency in face of opposition from Senator Foll, of Queensland, who was the Ministry s choice.

The vote was close, the preferences of the other five candidates. Senators Millen (Tasmania), Foll (Queensland). Crawford (Queensland), Plain (Victoria) and Payne (Tasmania) being distributed before the count turnedin favour of Senator Lynch.

Features of the election were the large number of candidates and the hasty return from England by air-mail 'plane of Senator Foll, who was a member of the parliamentary delegation which attended the King's Jubilee celebrations.

On that occasion, the pre-selection was by exhaustive ballot, and not by ordinary preferential voting, as indicated by that report, which would be perfectly correct if the contest had been conducted under donkeyrace conditions, when the first is last and the last is first. It is rather surprising that the candidate who was the second to be eliminated in the exhaustive ballot is reported to have been the runner-up. The report which appeared in the Queensland newspapers was quite different. It stated that the election was carried out by exhaustive ballot, but, in my opinion, there was one very serious mistake in what was alleged to have taken place at the party meeting, because the Minister for the Interior (Senator Foll) took my place, which was higher, and I was given his. I shall not go into the many details of that matter, nor shall I give an account of every instance of hostility shown to me during the six year* under review, but I should like to draw attention to the fact that in June, 1938, the Queensland press was deluged with telegrams from Canberra to the effect that on the 1st July, when Sir George Pearce and ex-Senator Lynch retired, the Minister for the Interior would become the father of the House.

Inever thought of publishing anything like that, although I had an equal claim to do so, having been returned at the same time as Senator Foll. I did not think it necessary to telegraph to every newspaper in Queensland. I believe that a correct report appeared in a Queensland Sunday newspaper in which the original statement had not been published. Apparently a. way of retreat was left. The statement appeared in three issues of the Brisbane Courier and in four issues of the Brisbane Telegraph. 1 do not say that the Minister was responsible for that propaganda, but he was the only one who could have profited by it, if there was any profit in it. I know that in similar circumstances, had I been the one apparently profiting, 3 should have taken it upon myself, as a man, ' to contradict such incorrect publicity. I shall pass on now to the last federal elections, about which I shall say very little except to mention, incidentally, that a colleague of mine for three years was working most assiduously to secure the substitution of a Country party candidate in my place, but he failed, and both organizations unanimously endorsed my selection. As honorable senators are aware, there was a drastic change in the form of ballot-paper used at the last general elections - ia horizontal ballotpaper was used - and it was the luck of the government candidates to be placed in the first column. At the previous election, the government candidates were at the bottom of a vertical ballot-paper, and she instruction given to voters by government supporters on " how to vote " cards, was to begin at the bottom and vote up. A great many people in Queensland did that at the last elections, and as a consequence, the Minister for the Interior received quite a number of primary votes, and so did I, although my nairne was in the middle of the list. When the count was about half completed, the honorable senator's publicity agents managed to get the following report published in one of the Brisbane newspapers- : -

A striking feature of the Senate poll is the high personal vote for Senator- Foll. Although he was placed third on the list of the government team, Senator Foll has polled more than 1 0,000 votes, more than two and a half times as many as the No. 2 candidate, Senator Crawford.

Senator Keane - What is wrong with that?

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