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Wednesday, 15 October 1947

Senator COOPER (Queensland) - by leave. - I have to announce that at a meeting of Opposition members I was re-elected1 Leader of the Opposition in this chamber ; Senator O'sullivan was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and Senator Annabelle Rankin was elected Opposition Whip. History has been made to-day in the election of Senator Annabelle Rankin as Whip, because I believe that I am right in saying that she is the first woman to hold office in this Parliament. The representation of political parties in the Senate to-day reminds me of an almost similar position in September, 1935, except that the numbers have been reversed. On that earlier occasion there were 33 supporters of a non-Labour government, with three members of the Labour party in opposition. It may interest honorable senators, particularly yourself, Mr. President, and Senator Collings, if I make a short quotation from page 5 of volume 147 of Hansard of the 23rd September, 1935. On that occasion Senator Collings announced, by leave, that he had been elected Leader of the Opposition in this chamber. The Hansard .report of his remarks is as follows : -

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?

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