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Tuesday, 19 August 1902


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member for Bland has given his case away when he says that as the proportionate vote, as originally proposed, is not in existence, he is in favour of resorting to the practice of plumping. I think the committee is desirous of securing the very best representation of the people possible. We ought to have the widest range of selection, and the best way of securing that end is for the elector to be asked to pick out the three best men amongst the candidates, and vote for them. There ought always to be a sufficient number of candidates at an election, and it would be a bad look out for the Commonwealth if an elector could not find three in each State for whom he was willing to vote. The electors should have no difficulty whatever in selecting the full number of candidates who represent their views, and, having selected them, the majority should rule.


Sir William Lyne - The honorable member would not give the minority any power whatever.


Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The principle of minority representation was struck out of the Bill, but it is now sought by a side issue to secure minority rule. The principle of democracy is that the majority should rule, and if some members believe in minority representation, let them bring in a bill especially to provide for it.

The principle of democracy is that the majority shall rule, or, as the honorable member for Kalgoorlie put it, "one vote, one value." It was applied to the first referendum, and adopted in Victoria by the Legislative Assembly by '23 votes to 6, and it was lost here the other evening by 19 votes to 16. In nearly all the State Legislatures the principle has been adopted by large majorities. In the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales a proposal, by Mr. Meagher, to introduce the principle into a Bill was rejected. In the Legislative Council, however, the provision was inserted, and when the Bill was returned, my honorable friend, Sir William Lyne, proposed the acceptance of the amendment, and it was acceptedby a majority of 44 to 16 as a compromise. I am only desirous of testing the feeling of the committee on a principle which underlies all democracy - one vote, one value.







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