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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3450

Senator WALTERS(10.6) — Might I just reply to Senator Harradine's criticism of the amendment. Senator Harradine said that my amendment was right, that 90 per cent of the time I am right and 10 per cent of the time the Government is. The simultaneous elections proposal does not change the three- year constitutional right, it only changes the 90 per cent of the time that the Attorney-General is admitting that I am right. It does not interfere at all with the time that expires if the House of Representatives goes its full three years and the Senate is due to go to the polls. But the new simultaneous elections legislation that is being proposed does now give the power to the government of the day to call half the Senate out whenever it calls the House of Representatives out.

Senator Harradine —That is what they want this for.

Senator WALTERS —Yes, of course it is. Therefore, a true description of the Bill is that it will give the power to the government of the day to call half the Senate to an election at the same time as the House of Representatives and to adjust the term of the Senate accordingly. It does not interfere with the normal constitutional provision that at the expiration of the three years of the Senate the House of Representatives can join in elections.