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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3613

SENATE VACANCIES AND THE STATES

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/02/1975

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3613

l~ A U STALIA Press Statement No. 449
12 February 1975
SENATE VACANCIES AND THE STATES
Earlier today I released the text of a letter
dated 10 January 1952, from the then Premier of Western
Australia, Sir Ross McLarty to the then Premier of
South Australia the Hon. T. Playford. Mr Eric Reece
has now confirmed that an identical letter was sent
to the then Premier of Tasmania, the Hon. R. Cosgrove,
M. H. A. Mr Cosgrove replied in the following terms:
" I thank you for your letter of 10th January
with regard to the vacancy whic. has arisen
in the Senate because of the death of
Senator Nash of Western Australia. I agree
with your opinion that, in view of the fact
that proportional representation is now the
method of election to the Senate, a member
of the same Party, nominated by the
Executive of the Party, should be appointed
when future vacancies arise, through death
or other causes."
I have sent a telegram to Sir Charles Court,
the Premier of Western Australia asking him to release
-the 1952 correspondence with all Premiers relating to
this matter. Over 23 years ago there was an agreement
among all the Premiers that casual vacancies in the
Senate would be filled by a member of the same party.
For 23 years State Governments of all political
complexions have honoured this agreement. Now, for the
first time, the new Premier of N. S. W. threatens to break
this Constitutional convention. This is not a matter
between the Australian Government and State Governments.
The agreement in question was made among the State
Governments themselves. The Premier of N. S. W. is
threatening to break an agreement which Premiers in every
State and of all parties have scrupulously observed
since 1952.
CANBERRA. A. C. T.

Transcript 3613