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Tuesday, 31 October 1905

Senator STYLES (Victoria) - It is rather a novel principle which Senator Millen advocates - that the majority in Parliament should not be trusted in this matter.

Senator Millen - Why did we create a Court of Disputed Returns? Why did we not trust Parliament then?

Senator STYLES - The cases are not parallel. Three Commissioners of the description which has been given may not be available to divide a State. It is not right to intrust any: Government with this power. If a Government were to goout of its way to appoint three men who were not responsible to any one but themselves, and they were to do any gerrymandering, there would be no possibility of appeal.

Senator Millen - What appeal had New South Wales when the scheme of distribution was rejected last time?

Senator STYLES - To public opinion.. The honorable senator must admit' that underhis amendment three nobodies might be pitchforked into the position.

Senator Clemons - We have already granted power to the three nobodies to do this important work.

Senator STYLES - Yes, and we are now considering whether their work shall be subject to the approval of Parliament. I cannot indorse Senator Clemons' opinion, that in this instance the majority in Parliament is likely to do any wrong. I do not believe that the majority in either House would do any wrong. I have that confidence in the people's representatives that I am prepared to accept their decision. I do not know of any case where either House has done a deliberate wrong. I do not wonder at persons reflecting upon this Parliament when its members set them an example, by doubting whether the two Chambers would act rightly.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator can exclude the Senate, because it would Rave no opportunity of discussing a scheme when the other House objected.

Senator STYLES - Neither House would have the opportunity of reviewing, the scheme if the amendment were carried. The Public Service Commissioner makes mistakes, but he is in a responsible position. We have no guarantee that men of his type would be appointed as Electoral Commissioners. I think that the High Court or Parliament should be the final court of appeal in this matter.

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