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Friday, 15 June 1906

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I would like to point out that the whole of the difference between the number of electors represented by a Victorian representative in this House and a New South Wales representative, is not accounted for by the provisions of the Constitution. I had occasion to look into this matter some time ago, and - speaking from memory - I found that the number of adults registered as electors proportionately decreased in the larger States, where the population was of a more scattered and nomadic character. A considerable portion of the difference to which I have referred is due to the fact that the registration of electors is less effective in the larger States, where the population is scattered, than it is in the smaller ones, where population is more concentrated.

Mr Skene - How does the honorable member arrive at that conclusion?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is not necessary for me to enter into a discussion of the system at present in vogue. The statistics are gathered1 by the Statisticians of the various States from year to year. They arrive at an annual estimate of the population based upon the census. Speaking from memory, I found that,, in the case of Victoria and Tasmania, all but 3 per cent, of the adult population was accounted for upon the electoral rolls. But in New South Wales 8 per cent, of the adult elec- < tors - and a larger proportion in Queensland and Western Australia - was unaccounted for upon the rolls of those States. It appears, therefore, that a very considerable proportion of the difference to which attention has been drawn by the honorable member for Grampians is not due to the provisions of the Constitution, but rather to the greater difficulty which is experienced in enrolling the names of electors in the larger States, where population: is more scattered.

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