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Monday, 1 October 1906

Senator DRAKE (Queensland) .- To me, there seems to be a very clear reason why the method pursued in connexion with elections for the House of Representatives should be adopted in taking the proposed referendum. An election for the House of Representatives is entirely under Federal control. It is in the hands of this Parliament, and the writs are issued by the Governor-General, whereas elections for the Senate are, to a great extent, under the control of the States Parliaments. The latter may make laws in respect of them which the Federal Parliament may not make. For instance, the States Parliaments may fix the time for holding the elections. Further, the writs are issued by the Governors of the States. Of the two methods open to us, it seems to me we should adopt that which relates to elections which are purely Federal elections. The legislative provisions in respect of elections for the two Houses are almost similar, but, in case there should be any. difference, it is quite right that in taking a referendum we should adopt the method that is followed in connexion with elections forthe other Chamber.

Senator Keating - The State may modify our law in regard to a Senate election ?

Senator DRAKE - A State may legislate where we have not legislated. The Constitution makes the elections of senators to a very great extent a State matter, whereas the election of the House of Representatives is always a purely Federal matter. It is right that' we should have regard to our laws for the elections for the House of Representatives when we are enacting analogous laws for the taking of a referendum. I should like the Minister to explain why the scrutineers are to be appointed by the Governors of the States. Why should the scrutineers not be appointed by the Governor-General?

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