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Monday, 1 October 1906

Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) . I think there need be very little doubt that the necessary publicity will be given, because the matter at issue will involve some principle. ' The electors will never dream of trying to analyze the machinery by which effect is proposed to be given to flic principle involved in the questions submitted to them. First of all, there will be a discussion in this Parliament. I have very little doubt, for instance, that there is no active elector in Australia at the present time who is not aware that we are discussing a proposed alteration of the Constitution, with a view to making it possible to hold the elections at a more convenient time. That is the principle, and that is what the electors will say "yes" or "no" to. It is reasonable to suppose that they will trust this Parliament to make effective the machinery to give effect to the principle. If this Parliament does not do so, it is obvious that it would bequite impossible for the electors over the whole ofthe Commonwealth to make it so. It is highly probable that there is no elector in Austra - lia who is not aware that we have been discussing an alteration of. the Constitution with a view to making it possible to take over the debts of the States under conditions which are not at present provided for.

Senator Drake - It is probable that the information has not yet reached some parts of mv constituency.

Senator TRENWITH - I am aware that the honorable senator's State is a very large one, and that it is difficult to communicate with some of the more remote portions of it. In the circumstances, it is probable that in some parts of the State what we are proposing to do is not yet known, but I am confident that before the elections take place there will be very few, if any, electors in the Commonwealth who will not know the principle involved in the questions to be submitted to them at the referendum. I suggest that if it is provided that an advertisement must be inserted in all the newspapers throughout the Commonwealth the bill will be a staggerer.

Senator Clemons - No one suggests that. The clause provides for publication in only: two newspapers in each State.

Senator TRENWITH - For the reason that in the cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and, I believe Launceston, or Launceston and Hobart, there are two great dailies published.

Senator Clemons - There are two newspapers in Launceston, and also two in Hobart.

Senator TRENWITH - I think that in some, at least, of the States capitals, two great dailies which circulate throughout the whole State are published. My experience in Victoria, for instance, is' that the Age and the Argus circulate in every locality more generally- than do any of the local papers.

Senator Drake - That does not apply to Queensland.

Senator TRENWITH - I speak subject to the limitation that I am not familiar with the conditions in all the States .I feel, however, that without some limitation we may open. the door to a great deal of undesirable patronage, and to much discontent. If the provision as to advertising be limited as at present, there can be no clamouring for a share of this Government patronage, such as will arise if the limitation be removed. I agree that in one or two of the States there may be some difficulty, but generally speaking - certainly in South Australia, New South

Wales and Victoria - there will be no trouble in deciding what are the two newspapers that have a circulation all over the State. There may be some difficulty in Western Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, of which I do not know, but I would urge, as the lesser of two evils, the passing of the clause as it stands.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 10 to 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 -

Each elector shall vote only once at the referendum.

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