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Wednesday, 29 August 1973
Page: 587

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property) - I do not wish to detain the House for long.

Mr Sinclair - Well, sit down.

Mr DALY - Well, I would but if that happened the debate might go over and I would hate to deprive my friends opposite of the opportunity to speak in this debate. So, do not tempt me too much. It was interesting to hear members opposite, criticise the greatest Budget in 24 years. Nobody is crying more than members of the Australian Country Party. They have bled the nation with bounties and subsidies and uneconomic proposals for a generation or more because, when in government, they dictated what the Treasurer of the day should do. But today, they do not matter a damn to members of the Liberal Party or to the nation. They cannot propound their policies and hold the Government to ransom. A government which really believes in the welfare of Australia is distributing the income of the nation in the places where it should be distributed. It is going to the poor and the needy and the people who want it.

Honourable members opposite know that pensioners and people who depend upon social welfare schemes in the country and the city and everywhere else today are receiving the benefits they were denied for so long by those who sit opposite. I heard the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Lionel Bowen) say one day in this House that a telephone was connected to a man's farm in the country and it would have been cheaper to buy the farm than to connect the phone to the farm. This is the kind of incompetence with which the previous Government put up in these areas. Never have I seen a more angry collection of people than members of the Country Party debating this Budget. They have attacked the PostmasterGeneral, they have attacked the Treasurer (Mr Crean) and they have attacked everybody else because all the Country Party has ever stood for was handouts. Members of the Liberal Party opposite who kowtowed to the Country Party, who were bludgeoned into submission and who bowed and scraped every time the Country Party demanded something today do not matter in the big scheme of things; they are getting the rewards which they deserve.

The Country Party is so desperate for political power that it is trying to marry that dear old girl, the Democratic Labor Party. I will tell honourable member something: It will find that 'the old grey mare ain't what she used to be many long years ago'. Members of the Country Party are really desperate when they look for support from that area. To think that the Country Party has shunned the lady that it knew so well - the dear old Liberal Party. To think that it has turned its back on the Liberal Party. The Country Party is walking away from the Liberal Party and yet the Liberal Party is vying for the favours of the Country Party because even today in another place the Liberal Party was bludgeoned into supporting the Country Party's policy on redistribution of electoral boundaries. I take this opportunity to tell honourable members opposite that this Party believes in one vote one value. In another place today members of the Opposition defeated legislation passed by this Parliament. But let me state for the nation to hear: Ere this Parliament is out there will be a redistribution of electoral boundaries throughout the length and breadth of Australia and it will be a case of one vote one value. That legislation will be introduced in order to give effect to equality of voting because, this Government stands against the loading of electorates which allows people like those in possum paddock, if I might use the expression with 50 per cent fewer electors that I have in my electorate, to receive the same vote as people who represent a majority of the votes in Australia.

Is it not shocking to think that a person in the country, no matter what his position might be, has twice the voting capacity of, say, a brain surgeon in Macquarie Street, Sydney, or a professor simply because the latter group of people happen to live in a Sydney or Melbourne metropolitan electorate. In other words, members of the Country Party want loaded votes and, to tell you the truth, having a good look at the Country Party, how could they win except under an undemocratic political system? Notwithstanding the Democratic Labor Party, the Country Party and the toadies who sit opposite and call themselves Liberals, we will introduce legislation that will produce equality of voting. In the United States of America the courts have the right to intervene in electoral matters where injustice has been created. It is only because the Liberal Party is afraid of the Country Party that the people of this country have foisted upon them a system that must be the worst in the world in regard to inequality of voting.

Does anybody believe that someone who lives in, say, Canowindra should have twice the voting capacity as a person who lives in

Sydney or Melbourne? Do honourable members opposite really believe in that policy? Members of the Liberal Party say they believe in one vote one value, but those who sit beside them say they do not believe in it. This is the unity of the Opposition. Just where does the Opposition stand on this great fundamental issue? Do not think that a temporary reverse from the backwoodsmen who sit in another place has put us off. Ere another year is out you will face a redistribution of Federal electoral boundaries. I ask honourable members opposite whether they will reject a redistribution in Western Australia where 10 seats must be created before the next election is held, knowing full well that if a Federal election is held only 9 seats are contested in that State, it can be challenged constitutionally. Will these weak kneed Liberals who sit opposite give effect to a policy that will deny Western Australia the extra seat? They will get the chance to do that ere very long. They believe in electoral justice. The electorate of the Australian Capital Territory is to be divided into 2 electorates.

That great small '1' liberal, the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), believes in some electorates having 50 per cent fewer voters than have other electorates. This is the small T liberal who is the chosen man of the Liberal Party to lead it into the sublime in the future. Does he really believe that at the next election Diamond Valley should have 95,000 voters while Mallee, which sent to this Parliament the man who sits among the incompetent members of the Country Party should have 45,000 or 50,000 electors. Of course he believes in that for the simple reason that he does not believe in electoral justice.

I see the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) slumbering quietly on the front bench. If I might say so, he is unmoved by my eloquence. He is on record in this Parliament as voting for a 10 per cent variation from the quota in electorates. Even in his slumbers I think he is dreaming about the tomorrow and thinking how things would be under a fair redistribution in this country. As honourable members opposite know, the Country Party for some reason or other has the Liberals scared. Does anyone believe that the Country Party could scare anybody? The honourable member for McMillan (Mr Hewson) is a real democrat. He was elected on 17 per cent of the primary vote. I repeat what I said the other night: He was very lucky to get it. He believes in the present system of voting. This is the pattern of thinking of those who sit opposite.

My time is limited. I do not wish to detain the House, but, instead of issuing a statement to the Press, tonight I make this official announcement: Ere this Parliament is ended there will be a redistribution of electoral boundaries throughout the length and breadth of Australia. It will be done because we do not believe in one electorate having 100,000 electors and another having 60,000 or 50,000. We believe in the principle of one vote one value. We believe in equality of voting. We believe that a man's vote in this country should be equal no matter where he lives. The geographical selection of candidates and members is something which the Labor Party opposes. Whilst honourable members opposite might temporarily frustrate us, history shows that ultimately that kind of expediency brings the reward that it deserves. People will ultimately awaken to the fact that we must have equality of yoting in any country if we are to have a democratic system. Why would not the Country Party want some loaded system of voting when under such a system it gets only 9 per cent of the vote of the Australian people but exercises 20 per cent of the control of the Parliament when in government? That is the kind of system under which the Country Party exists. From memory, not one member of the Country Party has ever won more than 50 per cent of the primary votes before being elected to this Parliament. Of course they get more than 50 per cent after the distribution of preferences, but not one Country Party member has ever gained a majority on the first count. The honourable member for Moore (Mr Maisey) is a good friend of mine. A couple of years ago he was elected on 27 per cent of the primary vote. I could mention all the members of the Country Party. I wish I had the figures; I would make them blush, if that was possible. The Country Party is the minority Party. It is living on rigged electoral boundaries, on undemocratic proposals. To his eternal discredit the small T liberal, the honourable member for Kooyong, supports this situation because the Liberal Party is frightened of the Country Party, and that is like running away from a mouse. I do not want to continue my remarks at this stage. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later hour and suggest that the debate be now adjourned.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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