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Wednesday, 13 June 1928

Mr A GREEN (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) . - If the Government is prepared to introduce a bill to grant representation to the residents of the Federal Capital Territory I am prepared to vote for it; but if it considers that until the population increases considerably the needs of the case will be met by attaching the Territory, for parliamentary purposes, to an adjoining division, that would satisfy me, and also, I think, the residents. The difficulties which the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Perkins) fears if that should be done, are, I think, more imaginary than real ; though I know how reluctant a member is to. agree to anything that may affect his constituency. I hardly think that the addition to the honorable member's division of a comparatively large number of public servants will adversely affect him; though I assure him that at the' next election the Labour party will give him a good run for the seat. I do not regard the case of the Federal Capital Territory as analogous with that of the Northern Territory. The latter Territory is remote from the seat of government, and honorable members of Parliament have few opportunities of informing themselves at first hand of its needs, whereas we are all in close contact with the residents of this Territory and to . some extent understand their needs. Since the Northern Territory has had direct representation its needs have been given much more effective consideration by this Parliament. A point has been made of the fact that representation has not been given to the people of the federal capital territory of the United States of America, for the reason, mainly, so we have been informed, that 40 per cent, of its population are negroes. But the honorable member who has advanced that argument appears to forget that the negroes in other parts of the United States are not disfranchised. If those in one part of the country have the vote those in other parts of it should also be enfranchised. Still, that is a matter for the American people and not for us. We have in our Federal Capital Territory a large body of intelligent citizens who are entitled to representation' in some form. The Prime Minister has suggested that if this Territory were attached to an adjoining federal division in New South Wales, the people here may not develop that Australian-wide outlook which is desired. My reply is that the outlook of the people of New South Wales is as Australian-wide as that of any other people. Seeing that we deny the franchise only to mentallyincapacitated persons, imprisoned persons, and persons without specified residential qualifications, we should not deny it to qualified residents of the Federal Capital

Territory. We need not fear that the granting of the franchise will cause them to develop revolutionary tendencies.

Debate interrupted under Standing Order119.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.30 p.m.

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