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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator HENTY (Tasmania) (Minister for Civil Aviation) . - The grant in question, which is to be made to the University of Tasmania, is for research by that University into Senate electoral matters. The man who is undertaking this work is a Fulbright scholar. He is Mr. George Howatt, M.A. This man has interested himself over a number of years in all kinds of political research. I am sorry that Senator McKenna should have thought that the Senate was being bypassed in relation to this item of expenditure. Sometimes it is not a bad idea to have an independent man to conduct such research. Sometimes those who are close to the position are not the best to undertake the research desired. It may be well that this research is being undertaken by a scholar such as Mr. Howatt. Having spent three years on research into elections back to the early days of Federation, he will be able to make his information available.

It may well be that a Senate select committee could then be set up to investigate the whole matter against this background of research. A Senate select committee would not be able to undertake such work in the limited time that normally would be available to it. Honorable senators should not feel that they have been bypassed. If, after this man had completed his researches a select committee were appointed, that committee would have a better basis upon which to work than would otherwise be the case. This item should be agreed to; the expenditure will be well worth while.

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