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Tuesday, 28 August 1906

Mr STORRER (Bass) . - Many charges have been levelled against the Government in regard to the motive which has actuated them in bringing forward this Bill, and I should like to explain my reasons for supporting it. For many years I have been in favour of the preferential system of voting, or of the Hare system, which was formerly in operation in Tasmania. The Government are evidently gaining wisdom by experience, and they have introduced this measure to insure that honorable members shall represent a majority of the electors who choose to exercise the franchise.

Mr Johnson - Does the Bill provide for the same system of voting as that which operated in Tasmania?

Mr STORRER - Not exactly; but it gives effect to the same principle. I do not think that the Bill', if passed, would benefit one political party more than it would another, but it would certainly afford the majority of the electors an opportunity to indicate the order of their preference in respect of the various candidates seeking their suffrages.

Mr Thomas - Does the honorable member say that the same system should apply to elections for the Senate?

Mr STORRER - I do. I certainly think that the representation of Tasmania in the Senate during the first Parliament was the best that it was possible to secure. The first election, it will be remembered, was conducted under the Hare system, and as a result the protectionists secured the return of their representative, the freetraders elected their candidate, the Labour Party secured the return of one of its members, the commercial community elected another, and those who took a great interest in defence matters were also represented.

Mr Johnson - Why was the Hare system abandoned in Tasmania?

Mr STORRER - I cannot tell. I know that a meeting was called at Launceston, and that, after a discussion extending over two hours, a resolution condemning that system was rejected. Thereupon

I submitted a motion approving of the Hare system, and it was carried by an overwhelming majority.

Mr Wilks - The State elections of Tasmania are not conducted under that system ?

Mr STORRER - No. I think that is because a number of members of the Legislative Council, who are very old, and who do not take the trouble to study it, are opposed to it.

Mr Poynton - The honorable member does not call the system which is embodied in the Bill the Hare system?

Mr STORRER - No. If the Bill reaches Committee we can make it apply to the elections for the Senate. Personally, I intend to support the measure.

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