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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2925

Senator WITHERS (Western AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) - I indicate at the outset that the Opposition will be voting against the second reading of this Bill and I will state the reasons therefor. It is interesting that when introducing this Bill in the other place, the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) said:

Australians can be justly proud of their electoral machinery. We have not suffered the electoral malpractices common in many other countries.

In that statement the Opposition concurs because our electoral system, conducted in the way in which it is, is recognised as a system which is fair and equitable. In view of what is so often said about the present electoral system one thing which continually seems to be overlooked is that our present system has returned to government the party or parties which have obtained a majority of the vote at any election. I have a table here which shortly I will seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard. What this table shows is that between 1949 and 1974 the party which obtained the majority of the primary votes, except for one year, 1954, obtained the majority of seats. After all, the boundaries in 1954 were set by the opposite party in 1948. 1 seek leave to have this table incorporated in Hansard.

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