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Friday, 29 May 1903

Mr WILKS (Dalley) - I desire to bring under the notice of the Government, particularly the Minister for Home Affairs, a matter of some importance to the electors of New South Wales. From a paragraph in the press to-day it appears that the Minister for Home Affairs has discovered a discrepancy between the census returns and the electoral rolls of New South Wales ; that that discrepancy represents 80,000 voters, and that he is placed in a much perplexed position. It has also placed the electors of New South Wales in a much perplexed position, and the discovery of this discrepancy requires some explanation. Of course the census returns and the electoral rolls were in the possession of the officers appointed to redistribute the electorates, and they should have been aware of this discrepancy before they plotted out the districts. The districts have been plotted out, and suddenly the Minister states that heis in great trouble and perplexity by reason of the discovery of this discrepancy. If it is not explained, and explained early, it will throw some suspicion on the motives of the Minister. I do not think that he can be accused of gerrymandering.. I understand that he has applied to Sir John See for further information in regard to electoral matters. Why was notsuch information asked for before the plotting took place! If this matter is allowed to pass without an explanation he cannot be surprised at the public thinking that the Ministry are scheming to undo what has been done. I do not think that that is the case. I should like the Prime Minister if he can to make an explanation,and if he is not in a position to explain I trust that the Minister for Home Affairs will be able to give a full and clear explanation to the House next week.

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