8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to announce that I have received a letter from Mr. J. Allan Guy acknowledging the letter of condolence I Bent to him an behalf of the Senate onthe occasion of the death of the late Mr. James M. Guy, expressing appreciation of the kindly terms in which his late honoured father was alluded to by honorable senators.
Assent to the following Bills reported : -
War Pensions Appropriation Bill (No. 2.)
Supply Bill(No. 3) 1921-1922.
The PRESIDENT, pursuant to Statute, laid on the tablethe Treasurer’s statement of Receipts and Expenditure to 30th June, 1921, accompanied by the Auditor-General’s report thereon.
Motion (by Senator E. D. Millen) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 3 p.m. to-morrow.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Honorable senators will understand that the reason for this motion is the position of affairs in another branch of the Legislature. In taking this action, I am following what I believe to be the established practice. I trust, therefore, that the Senate will consent to the motion.
.- I desire to take advantage of the motion for the adjournment’ of the Senate to give notice of a question. I quite understand that Ministerswill not answer questions while a motion of censure overshadows the Government.
– No notices can be received now.
– I find myself in the same position as my honorable colleague from Tasmania. Just before the Senate met I intimated to the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) that I should like an opportunity today to give notice of a question. Ho reminded me that on occasions like the present even notices of questions were not received. This places me in an awkward position.
– As the motion in another place places others.
– I do not know that I am not justified on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate in referring to the matter which I intended to raise, and asking the attention of the Leader of the Senate to it. It is not a matter of individual concern, but one which affects the whole State of Tasmania. It is a matter of administration which, so far as I know, is at present proceeding, and I take advantage of this opportunity to mention the matter in the hope that, perhaps, the Minister for Repatriation will see that it is not at present further proceeded with. Since 1908, the State of Tasmania has been a party with the Commonwealth to a joint scheme of electoral administration. That scheme has brought about a uniform roll, one set of electoral officers and offices, one set of forms for enrolment, transfers, and so on. It has resulted in great efficiency, economy, and smoothness of administration, and in immense convenience to the electors. The State authorities of Tasmania adopted the five Federal electorates for the House of Representatives for the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly, making of each a composite electorate returning six member’s to the State Parliament. I understand that the Federal authorities are at the present time about to proceed with, if they have not already commenced, the redistribution of Tasmania for electoral purposes for the House of Representatives.
– In conformity with the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
– Quite so; but inasmuch as the whole of the electoral administration in Tasmania for the last twelve or thirteen years has been a joint administration, and the State authorities have adopted the electoral boundaries fixed by the Commonwealth, for the purposes of elections to the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly, I suggest to the Minister for Repatriation that no further action should be taken in this matter without due consideration ‘being given to any representations which might be made by the State authorities. In other words, I suggest that the State authorities might be taken into consultation and conference in connexion with any proceedings for the re-alignment of electoral boundaries in Tasmania. I was afraid that if we adjourned to-day, and perhaps again to-morrow, this matter might be proceeded with in the course of ordinary administration, and I, therefore, invite the Minister’s attention to it.
– The new electoral boundaries would have to be approved by Parliament.
– Exactly ; but I desire, and I think every other member of the Senate will desire, that the harmonious co-operation between State and Commonwealth authorities which in this matter has existed in the past in Tasmania, will continue in the future. If anything should happen now from which it might be contended that the Commonwealth, by high-handed action, said, “These are the new boundaries. Take them or leave them,” that might lead to a rupture.It might prevent the continuance of the joint electoral administration, and would be no incentive to the authorities of any other State to accept the hand held out by the Commonwealth for many years past - since 1905 - for the joint administration of electoral affairs.
. -Perhaps I should assure honorable senators that in the action I have taken I have intended no want of courtesy to them. They will understand that I am following what has become an established practice. I am not at all certain that that practice could not be’ improved upon, but if there is to be an alteration I submit that it should not come as the result of my individual thought, hut as the result of considered action. I have noticed what Senator Keating has said, and he will understand that at present all I can undertake to do is to see that a copy of the remarks he has made is forwarded to .those whose duty it is to consider such matters.
Question resolved in ‘the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.S. p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 26 October 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19211026_senate_8_97/>.