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Monday, 23 September 1935

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - by leave - I have to announce that at a meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour party held in April last I was elected Leader of the Opposition in this chamber as from the 1st July last. All that I desire to say at this juncture is that I shall endeavour to carry out the duties which devolve upon me to the best of my ability, and that any criticism I may offer will be honest and sincere. Although the Opposition in this chamber is small in numbers, it represents 46 per cent. of the electors who cast their votes at the election held on the 15th September, 1934. The duty devolves upon us therefore to see that justice is done to that section of the people which voted for Labour representation.

Senator Hardy - Is the honorable senator referring only to Queensland?

Senator COLLINGS - I am speaking of Australia generally. It must be realized that there is something wrong with the system of electing the members of this chamber since 46 per cent. of the electors obtained no representation at all, the other 54 per cent. receiving the whole of the representation. Those are the official figures. My object in referring to this matter now is not to grieve about the result, but to meet in advance the satirical remarks which will, no doubt, be heard in this chamber later, if not this afternoon, concerning our depleted numbers, and our ineffectiveness as an Opposition.

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