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Friday, 27 October 1905

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - It will be remembered that in the earlier portion of this sitting I indicated my intention to submit an amendment to remedy what I regard as a grave defect in the Bill. Down to clause 8 the machinery of the Bill clearly indicates that it shall be the duty of the Chief Electoral Officer to ascertain on certain days the number of people in the Commonwealth and in the several States, and to issue his certificate as to the numbers. The next clause, adopting the words of the Constitution, indicates the manner in which the quota shall be ascertained, but gives no direction as to when or by whom it shall be ascertained. I propose to throw upon the Chief Electoral Officer the duty of working out the simple sum in arithmetic which is therein set out. Therefore I move -

That the following new clause be inserted : - "8a. The Chief Electoral Officer shall immediately after the issue of the certificate determine the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the several States in the following manner."

That manner is of course set out in clause 9. If that amendment be adopted I shall propose an amendment, to follow clause 9, to the effect that the Chief Electoral Officer, after having determined the number of members to which each State is entitled, shall issue his certificate accordingly, just as in clause 6 he is required to issue a certificate as to the number of the population in the several States. This morning the Minister admitted that it would "

Senator KEATING(Tasmania- Honorary Minister). - I have no objection to the insertion of this amendment. As I interjected when Senator Millen was discussing the second reading of the Bill this morning, it certainly will be the function of the Chief Electoral Officer to determine, in accordance with the Bill, the representation to be accorded to the several States, and if it will make the matter more certain than it otherwise would be, I see no objection to the insertion of this new clause, or, so far as I can see now, to the insertion of the subsequent amendment which the honorable senator has indicated.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Clause 9 (Determination of representation of the States).

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