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Thursday, 29 March 1973
Page: 911

Mr SPEAKER - Order! This is not a private conversation.

Mr BEAZLEY - The real reason for the objection to the 10 per cent has nothing really to do with 10 per cent as a concept of variation above and below a norm figure. The real objection is to the frequency of redistribution. I cited a lot of figures about the State of New South Wales. More than a quarter of the seats of New South Wales have a variation of 10 per cent above and below the norm. It is usual if more than a quarter of the seats in a State have that variation to have a redistribution. If we make the variation 20 per cent the redistributions will be infrequent. If we make it 10 per cent the redistributions will be more frequent. Should they be more frequent? The Leader of the Opposition said himself that most people do not know what electorate they live in now, as if that were an argument for perpetuating a vast, overgrown electorate. He seems to argue: 'Because people do not know what electorate they live in let us not have many redistributions, and if people stay in the one electorate for 10 years, even if it becomes 5 times as big as it was, they will end up knowing what electorate it is'. This is a wonderful argument for not having a redistribution! What should happen is that there should be constant, frequent redistributions - and they are necessary. The argument that the population is constantly changing, constantly moving and constantly enlarging in some areas in Australia today is not an argument against frequent redistribution, it is an argument for frequent redistributions to keep the electorates which we represent in this House relatively equal.

No points have been made against the Bill itself. There is no real argument against the 10 per cent variation. No real argument has been advanced as to why there should not be more frequent redistributions. The Leader of the Opposition's own seat of Bruce at one stage attained the size of 130,000 when it had originally been distributed at 45,000. That is a clear sign of the need for more frequent redistributions than are taking place today.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Ba!y) - by leave - agreed to:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Country Party speaking for a period not exceeding 30 minutes.

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