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Friday, 25 February 1977


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) - I wish to speak upon this subject but I regret that, due to the closure that has been imposed on honourable senators without notice, I will be interrupted in one and a half minutes. I was a member of the Constitutional Review Committee which considered this subject in 1959 and reported unanimously that no formulation of words could be devised by draftsmen in the 3 years of the Committee's consulations to give effect to this principle without invading fundamental principles which we have always held. The first is that proportional representation is not part of the Constitution. It is an Act of Parliament and its permanency depends upon this Parliament and may be altered at any time. The proper way to give representation to a successor of a vacant seat under proportional representation is to recount the votes because the votes at a single election must be represented in the proportion in which the people then voted. An empirical decision subsequent to an election for the fulfilment of a vacancy, unless guided by the recount of votes of a candidate who has already been before the people, will be invading the very fundamental principles of proportional representation.

Mr President,you are rising; I must cease my remarks.







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