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Friday, 1 November 1912

Senator PEARCE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Defence) - I have received the following statement from the Minister of Home Affairs : -

The Minister of Home Affairs of the Commonwealth and the Solicitor-General of New South Wales conferred with the Statistician of the Commonwealth and those of the States of New South Wales and Victoria, and it was agreed that some improvement should take place in the counting of the Inter-State migration by railway, the change being that urged some time ago by the Prime Minister on the State Premiers.

It is understood that the Statisticians of New South Wales and Victoria are conferring regarding the alleged error in the figures previously supplied by the New South Wales Government to the Commonwealth Statistician for the purpose of the migration count. Until their report has been received by the Commonwealth Statistician it is not possible to form any opinion as to the accuracy or otherwise of the Electoral Statistics.

A general discussion of this question would be premature until that report has been received.

Senator MILLEN - Will the Minister of Defence be good enough to convey to his colleagues a suggestion that, in view of the importance of having the electoral difficulty settled at once - a difficulty with which we shall be confronted next week - he should do all that he can to expedite the preparation and receipt of that report?

Senator PEARCE - The Minister of Home Affairs is, I am sorry to say unwell, but I shall see that the honorable senator's suggestion is conveyed to the Department and personally urge that it should be complied with.

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