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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 2419


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) -I rise to express appreciation of what Senator Lilico has addressed to us. It relieves me entirely of any need to refer to this swindle that the Bill proposes, switching from a creed of one vote one value to the idea of the number of people. It makes me wonder whether the conference between the New Zealand Prime Minister and our own Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) soon after the elections transported this idea across the Tasman. This may have been the secret of his success. The switch has never been explained up to date.

However, I rose to refer to clause 7 of the Bill. I am in search of enlightenment. I seek the expression of better opinion. When I find in an Australian Parliament's proposal to amend the Federal Constitution a provision saying on what basis each House of the Parliament of a State shall be constituted, I just wonder what the

Government will be dreaming up next. In the Federal Constitution, which is a Federal compact between the States, certain provisions are set out. In Chapter V, headed 'The States', section 106 begins:

The Constitution of each State . . . shall, subject to this Constitution -


Senator MURPHY (New South Wales) (AttorneyGeneral and Minister for Customs and Excise) Thos e are the words—'sub ject to this Constitution'


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) Ah! Apparently we have shined the diamond a little. That is where the genius becomes unburied. Senator Murphy finds the words 'subject to this Constitution'; but reading the sections fairly and with even an atom of objectivity, it saysAh! Apparently we have shined the diamond a little. That is where the genius becomes unburied. Senator Murphy finds the words 'subject to this Constitution'; but reading the sections fairly and with even an atom of objectivity, it says

The Constitution of each State . . . shall, subject to this Constitution, continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth . . . until altered in accordance with the Constitution ofthe State.


Senator Webster - Senator Murphyforgot to look at that part.


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) I have no doubt that he brushed that aside; it is not that he did not look at it. Anything that is inconvenient or in the way of Senator Murphy's impulse he just brushes aside. He revealed in one interjection the proviso 'subject to this Constitution'. He rises to this state of egregiousness whereby altering the Constitution of the Commonwealth he can alter the Constitution of a State. Yet the section expressly says:

The Constitution of each State . . . shall . . . continue as at the establishment of the Commonwealth . . . until altered in accordance with the Constitution ofthe State.

We need not call in aid—


Senator Little - You are having more success in finding out things than I have had. You are receiving an answer. I have not received an answer at all.


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) Righ t is sometimes done, even if little by little. If Senator Little and I cooperate, we wul effectuate a little progress. I was about to refer to the Constitution to which Senator Murphy says section 106 is subject. One provision of section 128 says that the Constitution— that is to say, the Federal Constitution, the Constitution to which section 106 is subject—ma y be altered by a proposal initiated by the Parliament and passed by the people. It then says, somewhat thoughtfully, I think:

No alteration diminishing the proportionate representation of any State in either House of the ParUament, or the minimum number of representatives of a State in the House of Representatives, or increasing, diminishing, or otherwise altering the timits of the State, or in any manner affecting the provisions of the Constitution in relation thereto—

That is, in relation to the State

shall become law unless the majority of the electors voting in that State approve the proposed law.

It is subject to that Constitution that Senator Murphy's bid is made, forbidden though I regard it even without the aid of section 128. But, as I said, I am putting forward a view very tentatively and unassumingly in the hope that, apart from the single minded interjection 'subject to this Constitution', the learned leader of the Government will vouchsafe to us any opinion or any authority as to its validity which we should consider when this Bill comes up next time. Meantime, some of the States which recently went to London in relation to submerged lands, might employ themselves by going to the High Court to destroy the nonsense that is ensconced in clause 7 of this Bill.







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