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Wednesday, 18 June 1902

Mr PAGE - If Parliament cannot make a better fist of it than did the three New South Wales commissioners, God help us ! Only to-night the honorable member for Bland declared that gerrymandering had occurred in several New South Wales electorates, and there was no alternative but for the State Parliament to accept the recommendations of the three commissioners, as otherwise members would have had to face an election with the whole State voting as a single constituency. In Queensland an attempt was also made at gerrymandering in some of the electorates, but when the distribution came before Parliament, the whole thing was exposed, and the electorates were referred for final revision to the chief draftsman of that State. If one man can accomplish what has been done in Queensland and Victoria, surely to goodness the same results can be achieved in the future ? I am satisfied that, under the proposal of the honorable member for Gippsland, we shall secure a very good distribution without unnecessary expense. The Government practically ask us to take a leap in the dark by appointing three commissioners, who will have a retinue of servants, for which the Commonwealth will have to pay. I do not believe in government by commission. I hope that - the amendment will not be withdrawn.

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