Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 13 June 1928

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) . - I thank the honorable member for Herbert for having brought forward this matter, and I am pleased with the assurance of the Prime Minister that a measure will be introduced by the Government to give the citizens of Canberra direct representation on the Federal Capital Commission. The honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) is honored in having as one of his Christian names that of the greatest orator who ever sat in the American presidential chair, and he naturally keeps himself conversant with the politics of the United States of America. "With much of what the honorable member has said I agree; but there is a marked difference between the circumstances of "Washington and those of Canberra. The mentality of the citizens of our Federal Capital is at least equal to that of the residents of any other part of Australia. But the population of "Washington is mixed. "When Bell, the inventor of the telephone, honored Australia by visiting it, I asked him why he, a resident of Washington, could not vote in the presidential election; and he explained that because of the large black population of Washington the votes became so venal that the franchise was withdrawn from the residents of that city. Honorable members will see, therefore, that there is no similarity between the population of Canberra and that of Washington. No one respects more than I do the good qualities of the American people, but it is well to remember that Australia was the first continent to make adult suffrage universal. It is an infamy that the people in Canberra should be mere helots and have no voice in municipal or parliamentary affairs. That they suffer many injustices every honorable member knows; the questions upon the notice-paper are conclusive proof of that. I regret that I was not able to attend the recent public meeting at which the community's resentment of the stigma placed upon it was feelingly expressed. I urge the residents of Canberra to continue their agitation until they get at least that measure of justice which the Prime Minister has promised. There is precedent for giving even the small population of Canberra representation in Parliament. I know of no island under the British flag that is so blessed by nature as is Tasmania; yet it cannot retain its young men. Perhaps the reason is that the mainland presents greater opportunities to youth. In 1921 the population of Tasmania was 213,000; last year it was estimated to be only 208,000. The population of New South Wales in 1921 was 2,100,371; and last year it had increased to 2,370,623. Despite the discrepancy between the populations of the two States, Tasmania has the same representation in the Senate as has New South Wales. If one State can elect as many senators as another State with 2,000,000 more people, that is a good precedent for giving representation to Canberra. I quite appreciate the desire of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that the Federal Capital Territory should not be added to his constituency. The residents of the Territory suffer so many injustices that the ventilation of them would add unduly to the work of the representative of any other constituency. I should be proud to have such a body of people as the residents of Canberra attached to my division, for I suppose that this is, on the average, the most intelligent community in Australia. I trust that before long the representative of the Northern Territory will have the power to vote in this chamber. That the Government of the United States of America should have 'granted the residents of the Philippines the power to elect representatives to Congress in Washington without voting power is no reason why we should follow their example in regard to either the Northern Territory or the Federal Capital Territory. Mr. Stamford Smith, the best Administrator the Northern Territory has ever had, informed the Government of the day which offered him that appointment that he would not accept it unless parliamentary representation was granted to the people. But representation without voting power is only half representation. I trust that the Prime Minister will find a way to give the people here satisfactory representation in Parliament, and also representation on that abortive body known as the Federal Capital Commission.

Suggest corrections