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Thursday, 11 October 1973
Page: 1976

Mr HUNT (Gwydir) - I am very pleased to see that the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) and the Government have seen the sense and the wisdom of accepting an amendment which will in fact make the redistribution to be carried out in the Australian Capital Territory consistent with a policy that has obtained in Australia since Federation. It is all very well to talk in terms of one vote one value but this is a very hackneyed phrase. What does the phrase 'one vote one value' mean? We would reach a position of one vote one value only if a redistribution was made immediately after a census was taken and if we were able to ensure that no one moved in or out of an electorate.

Mr King - An election would have to be held at that time.

Mr HUNT - That is so. It would be impossible to achieve the objective of one vote one value unless an election was held on the day on which the census was taken. So this talk about one vote one value is a lot of nonsense and I am pleased to see that even those who were doubting-

Mr Enderby - It is the principle.

Mr HUNT - The Minister for Secondary Industry, who is also the Minister for the Northern Territory and the Minister for Supply says that it is the principle. But there is a great difference between a principle and what is practical. In real and practical terms it is not possible to achieve a practical situation of one vote one value.

We have argued this matter in the House on numerous occasions. I do not want to delay the House in going over old ground. But no one can say that the principle of one vote one value applies in respect of Senate representation. Under the Constitution each State is represented by 10 senators. Where is there any relevance of the principle of one vote one value in the Senate where the voters of Tasmania have the same number of representatives as the voters of New South Wales? So let us forget all this pie-in-the-sky theory. It is all very well to go out and tell the people that the present system - the system that has operated since Federation - is wrong.

Mr Hewson - Look at what was said by the Labor Premier of Western Australia.

Mr HUNT - That is quite true. The Labor Premier of Western Australia makes a lot of mistakes, but he is not a real idiot. He knows the practicalities of the game. There is not a country in the world that has achieved the principle of one vote one value or applied it in practice.

Mr Maisey - It is a pipe dream.

Mr HUNT - That is right. I want to pay a tribute to the Minister for Services and Property who is sitting at the table. Although he is very hard on the Australian Country Party from time to time he has shown wisdom that becomes him in accepting the amendment which now makes the number of representatives in the Australian Capital Territory consistent with that of the rest of Australia.

A redistribution is to take place in Western Australia. I am willing to wager a bet now that the next Federal election will not be undertaken on new electoral boundaries. I forecast that the next election will be undertaken on the 20 per cent margin that now applies. I do not regard myself as a great prophet, but I see the writing on the wall. It is true that a redistribution will take place in Western Australia and new boundaries will be drawn up in that State and also that another seat will be created in the Australian Capital

Territory. But no matter when the next election is held it will be carried out on the old boundaries under the old system.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported; report adopted.

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