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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1356

Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - I think I am entitled to make a very brief comment in relation to the amendment. I have already responded to what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) has put forward. As this is an amendment I think that in fairness I should give the view of the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) whom I represent. I do not have the initiative in this matter. I understand that the Australian Democratic Labor Party amendment has been truncated by having portions 2 to 6 ruled out of order. Therefore what we are talking to is the amendment as expressed in portion 1. f believe that is the position. I have been given the following case to make to my colleagues: Representation in the House of Representatives is based upon representation of people in specific divisions. In other words, a member of the House of Representatives represents a defined electorate which has been drawn up under conditions laid down in the Commonwealth Electoral Act. These include community of interest within the division, including economic, social and regional interests; means of communication and travel within the division with special reference to disabilities arising out of remoteness or distance, and the density or sparsity of population and the area of the division.

A system of proportional representation implies multi-member constituencies, for example, taking the whole State as in the case of the Senate, or setting up regional type electorates within each State with a number of members elected for each electorate. I do not have very much knowledge of this but it looks like the Tasmanian system: I am not sure. This would be a total departure from the existing concept of the House of Representatives and the Minister is not prepared to accept such a proposition. Senator 0'Byrne has indicated that he would like to see a vote this evening. I add the comment that I think there are still 4 Government senators who have an interest in this matter which they wish to express.

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