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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3447


Senator WALTERS(9.47) —I thank the Attorney-General for his advice. I foreshadow my amendment. I agree entirely with Senator Harradine's proposition. Because I agreed entirely with the proposition 'at the same time' I included those words, as honourable senators will see, in the amendment that I distributed recently. I changed the wording from 'to ensure that the elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives are always held on the same day, and to adjust the terms of Senators accordingly' to what I believe is a more accurate description for simultaneous elections. 'Simultaneous elections' will not ensure that the elections of the Senate and the House of Representatives are held at the same time. My wording gives the government of the day the power-this is the emphasis that I would put on that description-to call half Senate elections at the same time as elections for the House of Representatives and to adjust the terms of senators accordingly. I believe that the emphasis on giving the Government the power to take the Senate out, as the Prime Minister of the day already has the power to take out the House of Representatives, is crucial to the description of simultaneous elections. At the moment the Government of the day has the power to take the House of Representatives to the people only when the Prime Minister thinks fit. Under the simultaneous elections proposal, that power is changed. If the proposal is passed it will give to the Prime Minister of the day the power to take out half the Senate at the same time as he takes out the House of Representatives. So I agree entirely with Senator Harradine's amendment and, as I say, I have incorporated it in mine. I would like to hear whether Senator Harradine has an opinion on that point.