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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 3631

Mr McMAHON (Lowe) - During the second reading debate I and other honourable members on the Opposition said that the critically important factor for us when considering the first proposal in relation to paragraph (a) of clause 2 was to ensure that the residents of the Territories - that is the Australian Capital Territory, including Jervis Bay, and the Northern Territory - should have a vote if they are qualified under the law. We have no hesi tation in repeating now in emphatic words, that we want those people to get a vote. I pointed out that there are 264,000 citizens in the 2 Territories and of those 130,700 are entitled to vote.

I have looked at the amendment that has been prepared and submitted by my colleague, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), during the time I have been sitting at the table waiting to commence the Committee discussions. I do not believe that in present circumstances it adds enough to the Bill to justify a change in the proposal and could, in fact, in the future create some difficulties.

For that reason the Opposition does not press Mr Wentworth's amendment. Provided it is ensured that the 130,700 people qualified to vote will be entitled to vote, we as an official Opposition, will be prepared to support paragraph (a) of clause 2.

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