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Tuesday, 11 September 1984
Page: 1081

(Question No. 1770)

Mr Howard asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 10 September 1984:

(1) Has he directly, or indirectly, requested the Australian Electoral Commission to expedite its inquiry into the redistribution proposals in New South Wales.

(2) If so, is this request aimed at enabling the Government to call an election even earlier than 1 December 1984 in order to prevent the report of Commissioner Costigan being presented to the Parliament before its dissolution for an early election.

(3) Why has the Electoral Commission gone to the lengths of hearing objections in Sydney to 20 proposed electoral divisions on Monday, 10 September 1984, and a further 14 on Tuesday, 11 September 1984, both being days on which the Parliament is sitting in Canberra.

(4) Did he play any role in encouraging the Commission to hold its hearings on Parliamentary sitting days, even though it is not required to report before 5 October 1984.

Mr Young —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) In light of (1), question does not arise.

(3) The question of the timing of meetings of an augmented Electoral Commission to hear objections against proposed redistributions is, as provided for by sections 71 and 72 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, a matter for the Chairman of the Electoral Commission to determine.

(4) No.