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Tuesday, 19 August 1902

Mr HIGGINS - I do not see why a State member should be compelled to resign. By insisting upon this provision we shall be eliminating from the list of candidates our most likely opponents.

Sir Langdon Bonython - How is that possible, seeing that any man can become a candidate by resigning his seat?

Mr HIGGINS - I do not see why he should resign ; it is a powerful deterrent against becoming a candidate.

Sir William Lyne - The honorable and learned member thinks that a man should be able to hold both positions up to a certain stage.

Mr HIGGINS - No; what I say is that the moment a candidate is elected to this Parliament he ceases to, be a member of the State Legislature. In the Victorian Parliament I went so far as to vote for a proposal that during the first few years following the accomplishment of federation a man should be eligible to sit in both the Federal and State Legislatures, for the reason that at such a critical time of change it was exceedingly important that the country in both Parliaments should have the benefit of the services of the most experienced members. There is no doubt that a serious gap has been made in State politics by reason of ex-Premiers and ex-Ministers relinquishing the State House and entering the federal arena. But the only question which is now at issue is whether we shall compel a man to resign his seat in the State Parliament, when he is in a position to render good service there, before he can become a candidate for this Parliament. I have much pleasure in supporting the proposal of the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. V. L. Solomon, for recommittal ; but it seems to me that such a proviso as he suggests is unconstitutional. I do not think that we can enact one electoral law for a particular State and another for other States. At the same time

I am glad to have an opportunity to enter my protest against the provision imposing the disqualification to which I have referred.

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