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Wednesday, 1 November 1967

Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) - by leave - I welcome the announcement that the Government has finally recognised the growing importance of the Northern Territory by granting its member - currently myself - full voting rights after the next election. 1 have continuously pressed for this provision ever since my entry into this House. 1 have spoken about it on numerous occasions. I have made personal representations to Ministers. These have been editorials printed in newspapers. I have lead protest marches. I have presented a petition in this House. The Northern Territory citizens have been right with me in my efforts. The United Church in Central Australia asked me to press for this provision. Members of the Northern Territory Legislative Council have, for years, sought this provision and when they were in Canberra some months ago I joined them in their personal representations. The Country Party in the Northern Territory has continually backed my endeavours. I stressed the importance of this matter very strongly in my maiden speech which I made on 28th February this year. The next day the Leader of the Opposition, as a political gimmick, put a question on the notice paper. That was fair enough. But after 17 years of representations, the Government has given the member for the Northern Territory full voting rights. The members who are screaming on my Tight did not succeed in getting this right in the 17 or 20 years that a Labor Party member for the Northern Territory was here. This is something which the Government has achieved. Although full voting rights will not operate until after the next election, and while my constituents and I consider that full voting rights should have been granted long ago, by the same token the announcement indicates the growing knowledge of and confidence in the Northern Territory. It is certainly going ahead at a great rate. I am very thankful that this right to vote will be granted at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Daly - I ask for leave to make a short statement on this momentous occasion.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is leave granted? Government Supporters - No.

Mr SPEAKER - Leave is not granted. The honourable member will resume his seat.

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