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Friday, 15 June 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - I move -

That the Senate approves of the distribution of the State of Western Australia into Electoral Divisions, as proposed by Mr. M. A. C. Fraser, the Commissioner for the purpose of distributing the said State into Divisions, in his report laid before Parliament on the /lh day of June, 1906.

The circumstances which brought about a. redistribution in the case of Western Australia are unlike those which brought about a redistribution in the case of the States with which we have dealt. In this case there was little deviation from the allowable number, except in the case of one division. The preceding Government had taken steps to have Western Australia as well as the other States redistributed, and although, so far as we could see, there was no electoral necessity, still we, in superseding the Commission, issued a similar Commission to the former Commissioner, Mr. Eraser, who, I understand, is a very capable officer and has applied himself to the work with a great measure of success. He occupies the position of Statistician and RegistrarGeneral of the State. Under existing circumstances, with a total electoral population of 116,199, to elect live representatives the quota is 23,240, the margin of allowance 4,648, the maximum 27,888, and the mintmum 18,592. In the case of Coolgardie, Fremantle, Kalgoorlie, and Swan, the number of electors enrolled within each division was within the margin of allowance , but in- the case of Perth it was above the maximum, the enrolment for that division as supplied to the Commissioner being 28,224- That was the most populous division in the Western State so far as electors were concerned, while Coolgardie was the least populous, having an electoral population of 19,031. The new redistribution is, of course, based on the same quota of 23,240, the same maximum, minimum, and margin of allowance as the existing distribution. Coolgardie, instead of having 19,031 electors, will have 22,624, which is 616 below the quota; Fremantle will have 22,924 electors, which is 316 below the quota, and Kalgoorlie will have 22,173 electors, which is 1,067 below the quota. On the other hand, Perth will have 24,523 electors, which is 1.283 above the quota, and Swan 23,955 electors, which is 715 above the quota. Honorable senators will see that so far as the different States are concerned something more approaching to equality of electoral population is preserved under the proposed redistribution, while at the same time there is no verv considerable deviation even from the quota itself in any particular instance.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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