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SENATE--PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Senator Spindler, pursuant to notice, moved the following motions

together by leave:

No. 1--That the Senate--

(a) rejects the claim of Government members that this chamber was

conceived solely as a State's house and should be abolished or

weakened because it no longer performs that role;

(b) recognises that, contrary to this rewriting of history, the

framers of the Constitution envisaged that this chamber would

also be a house of review, with many favouring proportional

representation to strengthen that role;

(c) notes that:

(i) this is confirmed by statements made by Mr Edmund

Barton and Mr Alfred Deakin who voiced strong support

for proportional representation in Senate elections,

and

(ii) the first bill to establish Parliament'selectoral

system, introduced in 1902, provided for proportional

representation in this chamber;

(d) emphasises that the 1902 bill was rejected against the view of

the Government of the day which argued that proportional

representation was the only way to prevent this chamber from

becoming a clone of the House of Representatives; and

(e) calls on the Keating Government to show the same mature

commitment to democracy, and acknowledge the importance of an

independenthouse of review elected by the present system of

proportional representation.

No. 2, at the request of Senator Lees--That the Senate--

(a) notes that:

(i) proportional representation for Senate elections was

introduced by the Labor Government of Mr Ben Chifley in

1948, and

(ii) the minister responsible for the legislation was none

other than Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, to whom Senator

Evans' Blue Book is dedicated;

(b) recognises that, notwithstanding the self-interest behind

Labor's 1948 legislation, it attracted bi-partisan support

because it strengthened and stabilised this chamber's house of

review function;

(c) strongly believes that, by contrast, the self-interest behind

the Keating Government's proposal for single member Senate

electorates is a power grab which is not redeemed by any

principle or higher purpose; and

(d) supports this chamber's proportional representation system,

which for 46 years has ensured that party representation in this

chamber reflects national voter support much more accurately

than in the House of Representatives, notwithstanding the

different sizes of the States.

Debate ensued.

Senator Kemp moved the following amendment to motion no. 1:

At end of paragraph (e), add "based on equal representation for each

State within the Federation".

Debate ensued.

Question--That the amendment to motion no. 1 be agreed to--put and

passed.

Question--That motion no. 1, as amended, be agreed to--put.

The Senate divided--

AYES, 36

Abetz Baume Bell Boswell Bourne Brownhill Campbell Chamarette Crichton-Browne Ellison Ferguson Gibson Herron Kemp Kernot Knowles Lees Macdonald, Ian Macdonald, Sandy MacGibbon McGauran Margetts Newman O'Chee Panizza (Teller) Parer Patterson Spindler Tambling Teague Tierney Troeth Vanstone Watson Woodley Woods

NOES, 22

Bolkus Burns (Teller) Carr Childs Coates Collins Colston Cook Crowley Denman Devereux Evans, Gareth Jones Loosley McKiernan Neal Ray Reynolds Schacht Sherry West Zakharov

Question agreed to.

Question--That motion no. 2 be agreed to--put.

The Senate divided--

AYES, 36

Abetz Baume Bell Boswell Bourne Brownhill Campbell Chamarette Crichton-Browne Ellison Ferguson Gibson Herron Kemp Kernot Knowles Lees Macdonald, Ian Macdonald, Sandy MacGibbon McGauran Margetts Newman O'Chee Panizza (Teller) Parer Patterson Spindler Tambling Teague Tierney Troeth Vanstone Watson Woodley Woods

NOES, 22

Bolkus Burns (Teller) Carr Childs Coates Collins Colston Cook Crowley Denman Devereux Evans, Gareth Jones Loosley McKiernan Neal Ray Reynolds Schacht Sherry West Zakharov

Question agreed to.

General Business concluded.