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Tuesday, 10 April 1973
Page: 1282

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr BEAZLEY - Yes, I claim that I was misrepresented by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland). On 4th April 1973 in the course of the debate on the Commonwealth Electoral Bill (No. 2) the honourable member for Curtin said that the .Minister - that was myself - was comparing the number of electors on the roll of an upper House seat with the number of electors on the roll of 8 lower House seats under the distribution for the upper House agreed to without dissent by the Australian Labor Party. In the course of my speech I specifically said things which differentiated between the upper and lower

Houses in their distribution in Western Australia. I said the vote in a metropolitan seat in the lower House there had a value of one; a country seat had a value of 3; and a north west seat had a value of 6. In the Western Australian upper House a metroplitan seat had a value of one; a country seat had a value of 3; and north west seat had a value of 12. The upper House seats have multiple members. I did not say there was that distribution in the House. I said it could arise that a person representing an electorate of 80,000 had 8 members representing much fewer. Small country upper House electorates of 9,000 could have 3 members for each seat and in 3 country seats there could be 9 members -I said 8 - representing fewer people than a person from one of the large metropolitan seats.

The honourable member for Curtin suggested that I was misrepresenting the situation when I said that at the last State election in Western Australia the Liberal Party won 29.3 per cent of the vote and the Australian Country Party won 5 per cent of the vote, and with 34.3 per cent of the vote between them they lost the election by only one seat. He said that this was misrepresentation because it was a coalition and where a Liberal Minister stood a Country Party member did not oppose him, and vice versa. But the aggregate of their votes adding up to 34.3 per cent does not invalidate my argument. Presumably where there was no Country Party candidate the Country Party voter voted for the Liberal candidate and where there was no Liberal Party candidate the Liberal Party voter voted tor the Country Party candidate. However the honourable member should take the trouble to look at The 1968 Federal Redistribution' by Malcolm Mackerras, he will see that he uses the Dauer-Kelsay index of representativeness. The Dauer-Kelsay index of representativeness points out that a party could win government in Western Australia with 33.1 per cent of the vote at the election that took place on that occasion. So, even if. as the honourable member suggested, there were certain seats that the Liberal Party did not contest, it does not invalidate my argument and I did not misrepresent the situation. In fact if the Liberal Party left a Labor seat unopposed it would not be calling out on polling day a very large Labor vote in a safe Labor seat, and that in fact would be a reinforcement of my argument. But quite apart from that particular accidental vote of that election, the Dauer-Kelsay index pointed out that one could govern Western Australia on 33.1 per cent of the vote in the Lower House of that State. I was not misrepresenting the situation.

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