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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) - The real question which we are asked to consider now is whether the Senate had a right to dictate to the House of Representatives in this matter ?

Senator Dobson - That is taking very low ground.

Senator DE LARGIE - I take higher ground in dealing with this question than does SenatorDobson because the honorable senator supports a proposal to hand over our constitutional rights as members of the Federal Parliament to a Commission, over which we will have no control. The amendment agreed to by the Senate left the important question of the distribution of the States into electorates in the hands of a Commission, and declared that the Federal Parliament had nothing whatever to do with it.

Senator Dobson - What about objections to the return of a member ? To whom do we leave the settlement of those questions ?

Senator DE LARGIE - Let us deal with one thing at a time. We have no right to hand over our constitutional rights to an outside Commission.Why should we give outside Commissioners the right to distribute the seats, and say : " We shall not review your work, no matter how ridiculously you perform it." I hold that Parliament should always retain the power to revise the work that it intrusts to Commissioners. I hope that the Committee will not, in this matter, attempt to dictate to the House of Representatives. The amendment which was carried on the Bill, as introduced involves, in my opinion, dictation of a very offensive kind to honorable members in another place. The right thing for us to do is to comply with their wishes, and reverse the decision to which we came when we last dealt with this matter.

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