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Tuesday, 31 October 1905

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) - It would be a very extraordinary thing to take from Parliament so important a work as that of deciding ultimately the division of a State into electorates. It is a proper thing to provide for the best men obtainable in a State being employed to report on that issue. It is a. certainty that in ninety-nine cases out of one hundred his report would receive the assent of Parliament ; but it is possible that a report might be presented which would be so incongruous or corrupt as1 to involve a degree of gerrymandering that would be extremely baneful to the whole people. In the event of such a case occurring, the Parliament should have the power to reject the scheme of distribution. Senator Clemons has suggested the case of the presentation of "a report against which there might be no objection except that it did not suit the interests . of some members or some party in Parliament. Even that, I regret to say, is possible, but that could only happen in the full light of public scrutiny, and retribution would be sure to follow the offenders. It is much less dangerous to trust the Parliament with the final decision than to leave it in the hands of the best persons outside of Parliament who could be got for the performance of this duty. I, therefore, hope that the amendment will not be carried.

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