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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1648


Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - I always listen with great interest to the remarks of the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), because he and I have something in common.


Mr Calder - Not much.


Mr ENDERBY - No, not much, but we have something in common. We represent the 2 mainland territories. The territories are different in many ways but they do give us a little in common. I am sure both of us realise how grossly under-represented the people of those territories are. I know the Northern Territory better since 1 became the Minister responsible for its administration than 1 did years ago. We know that about 90,000 people are in the Northern Territory and a third of them are Aborigines. There is local government in Darwin and Alice Springs, a Legislative Council with very limited and restricted powers of a legislative kind and no executive powers at all, and one member in this House.


Mr King - And a very good one, too.


Mr ENDERBY - Kindness on my part to the honourable member for the Northern Territory requires that I do not comment on that suggestion. Every member of this House knows that legislation affecting the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory has to go through both this House and the Senate. People who live in Gove, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Darwin or any other area of that great part of Australia - the Northern Territory - have no representation at all in the Senate. They have none at all. Measures can be taken in the Senate which vitally affect the people of the Northern Territory yet they have no representatives in the Senate. It can be inferred by the acts of the Country Party and the Liberal Party that the people of the Northern Territory should not have representation in the Senate. Some double dealing goes on - some very keen but not deeply hidden double dealing.

The Government recently decided to implement the recommendation of the previous Minister for the Interior, the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), made last year with regard to the resumption of some 32 square miles of land south of the city of Darwin. I imagine - for similar reasons that the honourable member for Gwydir accepted when he was the Minister for the Interior last year - that it was in the interests of the people of the Northern Territory that the land be resumed. It was never implemented by the previous Government for perhaps a variety of reasons which I do not need to explore. The honourable member for Gwydir said that the measure had his support. We accepted similar thinking when we assumed power. We tried to acquire that land but the resumption was set aside in the Senate, not in this House, on the votes of the Country Party. It was set aside in the Senate by the Country Party for cheap, narrow, nasty and shortsighted political reasons. I understand a similar move is to be made in the near future. That is one example of how the people of the Northern Territory can have their affairs vitally affected by one of the two Houses of this Parliament, the Senate, where they have no representation at all.

As I understand it, the honourable member for the Northern Territory says that he is not opposed to Senate representation. He will correct me if I am wrong. I entered the chamber after the honourable member had commenced his speech but I understood him to be purporting to say that he was not opposing Senate representation for the Northern Territory. Indeed, how could he? We know that the people of the Northern Territory are under-represented and yet his Party opposes in the Senate any legislation to give the people more representation. Is this not double dealing? Is this not an awareness on the part of the Country Party members in this House where they do not have the majority support, where they are little more than a rump and where, for political reasons, they have to allow the honourable member for the Northern Territory to say that he supports increased representation for the Northern Territory? They allow and encourage him to say so. The honourable member says 'I support the increased representation'. But in the Senate where the Country Party has power and can do something, what does it do? It opposes legislation to give more representation to the Northern Territory. They oppose it. I accuse them of sheer, rank hypocrisy and double dealing.


Mr Hunt - What did you call the Country Party - a rump?


Mr ENDERBY - In that case, yes. Their actions are sheer, rank hypocrisy. They come in here, mouth platitudes that suggest that they want increased representation for the Northern Territory, when they know that that is what they wish people to hear them saying. But in the place where the vote counts, in the Senate, the Country Party marshalls its votes, all 5 of them - I think it has 5 senators there - and by their vote they say: 'Not on your life'. The Country Party does this in the place where the honourable member for the Northern Territory cannot be blamed for the action that is taken. Yet, it is his Party which takes this action. Do members of the Country Party in this House seriously ask those people who are listening to the radio broadcast of this debate to believe that they do not meet as other political parties meet and decide what their course of action will be on various matters? Do they really expect the people to believe that? There is hypocrisy in that attitude. There is dishonesty in it. It is an example of double dealing. The wider this fact is known the better it will be. This fact bears repeating: Where the honourable member for the Northern Territory can be heard to say something that he believes to be popular, he says it. But does he say the same thing in his own Party room? I will wager not.


Mr Calder - It has been on my ticket since 1966.

MrDEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order!


Mr Calder - I take a point of order.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for the Northern Territory rises on a point of order.


Mr Calder - I claim to have been misrepresented.


Mr ENDERBY - Well, I have not finished speaking.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honourable member can speak to a personal explanation - Mr Calder - I take a point of order.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -If the honourable member desires to make a personal explanation, he may ask leave to do so when the Minister has concluded his speech.


Mr Calder - I take a point of order.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I will hear the honourable member for the Northern Territory on a point of order.


Mr Calder - The Minister for the Northern Territory is making wild aspersions about me and about my Party. They are without any foundation whatsoever.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! No point of order is involved. The honourable member's remarks sound more like a personal explanation. The honourable member may ask for leave to make a personal explanation, if he has been misrepresented, at the end of the Minister's speech.


Mr ENDERBY - It would be interesting to know how anyone could claim to be misrepresented or take a point of order unless that person was stung to fury by the truth of the charge. All I said was: Does the honourable member for the Northern Territory raise this matter in his Party room? I wager not. I repeat that.


Mr Corbett - You do not know what goes on in our Party.


Mr ENDERBY - Of course I do not know. I am not in your Party.


Mr Hunt - You would never get into our Party.


Mr ENDERBY - I would not want to be in your Party for anything. The truth of my statement is that the Country Party in the place where it counts votes against increased representation for the Northern Territory. It votes against the constituents of the honourable member for the Northern Territory. His Party, in the place where it counts, votes against his constituents. This fact must be rammed home.

I turn to the Australian Capital Territory, the Territory which I represent, and which together with the Northern Territory I try to administer as well as I can. The Australian Capital Territory too is grossly underrepresented. The population of the Australian Capital Territory is approaching 200,000. That population is growing at a rate of approximately 10 per cent a year. The population is likely to continue to increase at that rate, because of the advantages that flow to it from this good Government. But the Australian Capital Territory has one member in this House of Representatives. With 18-year-olds being granted the vote, the number of constituents in the electorate at the moment eligible to be on the roll if an election were to be held tomorrow would be between 90,000 and 95,000- nearly 100,000. The Australian Capital Territory has no representation in the Senate. In that respect it is the same situation as the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory has no local government. Its position in that respect is worse than that of the Northern Territory, yet the population of the Australian Capital Territory is double that of the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory has no State government or anything that resembles a State government. In that sense it is worse off than the Northern Territory which at least has its Legislative Council, with all its imperfections.

What has happened to create this situation? Where does opposition to additional representation for the Australian Capital Territory come from? This opposition to the idea that the people of the Australian Capital Territory, essentially the people of Canberra, should have some democratic representation in this Parliament comes from the Country Party, the

Liberal Party and also from that group called the Australian Democratic Labor Party; the members of those Parties are the people who oppose that democratic representation.

The population of Tasmania is approximately double the population of the Australian Capita] Territory. Let me outline the representation at various levels in Tasmania. The Tasmanian House of Assembly has 35 members. The Tasmanian Upper House has 19 members. Tasmania is represented in the Federal Parliament by 10 senators and 5 members of the House of Representatives. In addition, Tasmania has approximately 500 municipal councillors. In total, that State has approximately 700 full time and part time politicians.


Mr Hunt - There is no one vote one value there.


Mr ENDERBY - That is right. Tasmania has some 700 politicians. I repeat the numbers: It has 10 senators and 5 members of the House of Representatives, 35 full time members of the State Lower House, 19 members of the State Upper House, and 500-odd aldermen. Yet, the population of Tasmania is only double the population of the Australian Capital Territory. But the Australian Capital Territory has only one member in the whole of the Federal Parliament - and nothing else. How absurd that situation is.

When it was in Opposition, the Australian Labor Party tried to gain some increased representation for the Australian Capital Territory as it did for the Northern Territory. Whether the Labor Party wins, loses or draws in an election in those Territories does not matter. Who cares about such things? There is an inequity and an injustice in the representation of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory that we are trying to overcome. We have pushed consistently for years to overcome the present position. All we have ever received is opposition from members of the Country Party, because they do not care.

In this proposition, we have tried to achieve that end again. The Opposition comes forth predictably as usual. But think of the arguments that it puts forward. Honourable members opposite do not deny the injustice of the position in the Australian Capital Territory when it is compared with the numbers in Tasmania or in any electorate. I do not know whether I can recall the figures relating to the electorate represented by the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) in New South

Wales. I think I worked them out once to show that there were 30 or 40 representatives in that electorate.


Mr Hunt - What?


Mr ENDERBY - There were 30 or 40 full time or part time politicians who impinged on your area of Gwydir. I refer to members of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, the New South Wales Legislative Council and aldermen-


Mr Hunt - That is an exaggeration.


Mr ENDERBY - It may be. I am relying on my memory.


Mr Hunt - That is not right. I will work it out for you.


Mr ENDERBY - He will work it out for me. It is a very large number. The honourable member has the membership of the New South Wales Parliament, both in the Lower House and the Upper House, which impinges


Mr Hunt - It is six.


Mr ENDERBY - Do not forget the Upper House. Its members cover the whole of New South Wales.


Mr Hunt - It is six.


Mr ENDERBY - Sixty?


Mr Hunt - No, six.


Mr ENDERBY - Well, this is typical of you; yet, you oppose our proposal all the time. This measure surely has justice on its side. It has equity on its side. It has fairness on its side. Yet you people come along and oppose it again. All I can suggest is that either you do not believe that you can win the additional seats - and I do not think that that matters in the Northern Territory because I would think that the Country Party has a greater chance of winning the additional seat there than the Labor Party has-


Mr Calder - I would agree with you.


Mr ENDERBY - Of course. Look at the figures. This will test your honesty. The last election for the House of Representatives for the electorate of the Northern Territory returned Country Party support, not Labor Party support. The Country Party does not want to increase that support. It opposes such a step. We have no chance, or little chance or less chance than the Country Party has of winning that seat. Yet we try to do the right thing by the people of he Northern Territory. We have tried and we will continue to try. But the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Country Party should be exposed.

People argue that the Senate is the States House. What nonsense. Senators vote either as individuals or on Party lines. The Senate has never been the States House. I repeat that fact: The Senate has never been the States House. It was conceived as the States House by the people who worked on the Constitution in 1890. They thought that it might represent the interests of the States. But the members of the Senate have never voted on State lines, and honourable members know it. Never ever has the Senate done that - and honourable members know it. There are independents there who vote as independents because of particular political ideologies and the points of view that they have. Otherwise, members of the Senate vote on Party lines. Members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party vote as a party, whether they come from Tasmania or Queensland; they are Australians.

It is dishonest - and rank dishonesty - to start talking about this nonsense of the States' rights and of the Senate being the States House. Even if that claim were correct, is that any excuse to exclude representatives of these Territories from the House where very basic decisions are made that affect the Territories? Are honourable members opposite going to continue to exclude representatives of the 200,000 people living in Canberra at this time - that is half the population of Tasmania and the population here is growing rapidly - from their rightful place in the Senate? Are honourable members opposite to continue to exclude representatives of the Northern Territory from the Senate?

Every time that I make an ordinance or my Government introduces an ordinance that relates to the Australian Capital Territory, the attempt to disallow it comes from the Senate. Honourable members opposite do not waste their time here seeking to disallow such ordinances because they know that they are in the minority here at the moment. This is the same double standard as the honourable member for the Northern Territory demonstrates. He mouths platitudes here. But the attempt to disallow and to defeat this progressive legislation and these reforms is made in the Senate where honourable members opposite have the numbers. Yet they refuse to support legislation to give representation to the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory in the

Senate where it matters. The Opposition Parties say: 'Keep them out. We will decide what is best for them'. I quoted the example in regard to the 32 square miles of land, which was something that the honourable member for Gwydir approved of last year. The Government of the day did not get around to following that through for one reason or another. I will not go into that, but the honourable member approved of it when he was a Minister. It was in the Senate that the Opposition rejected it. .Yet that is the very place in which honourable members opposite refused to let people from the Northern Territory have representation in order to express themselves. The same applies in regard to the Australian Capital Territory. If an attack is made on an ordinance or it is disallowed the attack or disallowance occurs in the Senate, the one place where honourable members opposite say: 'We will not let the Canberra people be heard.' That is the one place in which they say: 'We will not let the Canberra people have their vote.' One could say that it is cowardice. One could say that it is the action of people who place political expediency above political principles. I think that has to be said.

I support the remarks of the Leader of the House on this question. I think it is a long overdue reform. I only hope that the people in the Senate do the right thing this time. There is no reason to suppose that they will - because of the reasons I have suggested. I do suggest that it is conspiracy, and that word is not too strong. It is nothing less than an agreement that goes against the public interest or has an illegal overtone. I suggest that it is a conspiracy within the Country Party to come into this place-


Mr Corbett - You are quite wrong.


Mr ENDERBY - I am not quite wrong.


Mr Corbett - Of course you are.


Mr ENDERBY - I am quite right. In the circumstances I have mentioned it is a conspiracy for the honourable member for the Northern Territory to come into this place and say whatever he likes because he thinks he is talking to his constituents. He can say: T did the right thing. Do not blame me'. But in the Northern Territory where he has the numbers, where he has the support and where his Party has-


Mr Corbett - He cannot dictate to the Party. He is only one.


Mr ENDERBY - He does not have to dictate to them.


Mr Corbett - He cannot dictate to them.


Mr ENDERBY - Has he ever talked to- you about it?


Mr Corbett - Yes he has.


Mr ENDERBY - Which way do you vote? Why do you not talk to your colleagues in the Senate?







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