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Tuesday, 30 April 1968

Dr PATTERSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) - The Minister for Immigration is quite right when he says that this was one of Labor's propositions. Under Labor it would have been in the original Bill. Nevertheless, we support the amendment and agree with it.

I take this opportunity to reply to the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman), who raised an important point with regard to the Constitution and the Northern Territory having a senator. His remarks were relevant to this amendment. I suggest to the honourable member for Deakin that he should read section 122 of the Constitution which states quite clearly:

The Parliament may make laws for the government of any Territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any Territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such Territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.

The term 'either House of the Parliament' includes the Senate. So there is nothing in the Constitution to stop the Government making provision for 1 senator, 2 senators or 50 senators. The statement by the honourable member for Deakin that an amendment to the Constitution would be required because of a reference in the Constitution to ten senators is quite wrong. I suggest to the honourable member that he should read section 122.

The Opposition wholeheartedly agrees with the principal subject of the amendment but deplores the fact that it was not included in the original Bill. It is quite obvious that this is another example of ineptitude and inefficiency on the part of the Government.

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