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Thursday, 31 May 1928

Mr PERKINS (Eden) (Monaro) . - I have much pleasure in supporting the motion of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton). It is not creditable to honorable members to try to consolidate their positions by such means as this. I had to resign my seat in the New South Wales Parliament to contest an election for a Federal constituency. Any member of a State Parliament who resigns to contest a Federal seat suffers a big monetary loss. The period during which I was without a seat w'as two months, and I lost in salary about £200. Any person who occupies a position in the pastoral, the agricultural, or the business world, is not called upon to make sacrifices of that nature. Every member of a State House has a vote for the Federal Parliament. If we can trust them with the franchise, surely we should also give them the right to contest a Federal seat without resigning from their present position.

Mr Thompson - A State member ought to be prepared to resign his seat and take the risk.

Mr PERKINS - Before I resigned my seat I made a careful examination of the position, and saw that I was not taking too big a risk. Should a State member fail in his endeavour to win a Federal seat, he stands a good chance of losing also the seat which he formerly held', because his constituents would not like to think that they had been deserted for another sphere.

Mr Parkhill - Is that why the honorable member is in favour of the motion ?

Mr PERKINS - I am not affected one . iota by that consideration. I have taken the plunge, and, being in deep water, am ready to swim. My concern is for others who might not be so fortunate as 1 have been. Australia should have the widest possible choice of its representatives. By making these positions a close preserve for ourselves we are not acting fairly by Australia.

Mr Thompson - We are not doing that. - Mr. PERKINS.- We shall be, if we allow this provision to remain in the act. We would gain in importance in the eyes of the community if we showed our readiness to allow the selection to be as wide as possible.

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