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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4400

FOR PRESS - 17 MAY 1977

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/05/1977

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 4400

FOR PRESS 17. PAY -1-9.77
The Qaeensland Premier, Fir. Bjelke-Petersen, and the D) eputy
Premier, Mr. K~ nox.. are gravely isleadixig the people bf Queeasland.
In October last year at Hoba3rt, Mr. Petersen, ! 4r. Fraw~ ley, Mr. Hewit
Mr. Knox,, Mr. Lickiss, Mr. Neal, Mr. Porter and M. r. Row, fill. frmi
Queensland, all voted for tiie simultaneous eledtion propbsal.-
They xroted to make sure that it would be a State Govern~ or and not
the Governor General who wo-ald isfsue the writs, for elections for
the Senate.
Are we to ass~ c, that; these Queensland Memnbers were so bemused by
the. caso-when they were in Ylobart, that. they forgot their great
State of Queensland? Vhat made them change . their Mxinds aft-er, that
Constitutional Convention? The prop osal is the same.* The principlE
is the same. They supported it then, to a man, for the proposal'
was carried without dis. sent.
Queenslanders should demand of them an~ explanation of their changeof
heart. Hlow do they say that the principle~ s that they supported
iLn Bobart are now wrong.
Let uis look at the questions'.
That elections for the House of Representatives and
the Senate should take place at Ithe same time.
This is a matter of simple common sense.' W ho wants
as many as four elections ovr the next four yea'rs?
That if a vacancy occurs in the Senate thxouigh death or
retirerment, the nominated replacement sho-uld be of the
samne political. party and should serve out the full term
of the Senator-who he is replacing.
This is.-plain kustralian faiimess. Replacing a National
Party Senator1 by another National Party Member, a Liberal
Senator by a Liberal and a Labor Senator by a Labor,,
preserves your decision at the Senate election-.
3. That electors in the Northern. Te. ritory arid the Capital
Territory should be able to vote in. referendums like
other Australians.
it is fair and~ just that people in the Northern Territory
and Australian Capital Territory no longver be seuondclagjs

A referendum is-in two aIr ts. To be carried it
requires a majority of voters throughout Australia.
It also Will) still require a pajority in at least
four states. kTue( votes of the Territory residents
would not be counted inj that second part; and the
rights of the States till be protected.
4. That High Court Judges-should retire at the age of
and that a retirin~ i! e '~ obe set for other Federal
* We think it only f ir -thfat after the age of
they should pass t ejob' on to younger people.
How could set-Ling a. retiring age for judges be
a threat to. Queensland-? The State already has a
retiring age for o ' tte Judges.
These proposals axe fairj r~ asonable and just. I believe the
electors of Queensland will see through the caifpaign of deception
being mounted against the referendum proposals.
They are a contmon-sente approach to constitutional reform based on
a broad consensus of agreement. Upholders of State rights should
have nio -complaint about the Constitutional Convention because
the States bad 72 votes, while there were only 16 for the 1ederal
Parliament. Nobody could 94y that Federal Parliament stacked that
meeting. The States had absolute control of that Convention.
Again, let me repeat, the Premier of this State supported the
proposal for simultaneous elections. Ask him: why Mr. Petersen
have you changed your mind?
The campaign in Queensland is a hangover from the past. All
QueerislanderB, uind indeed all Australians, owe bMr. Bjelke-Petersen
great deal of thanks for the way he battled against a wrotched
socialist Government the Witlam Government. He was redoubtable
in Ithat-. He mounted hiis charger to do battle with Canberra, and a
great many Australians applauded him for it. But Canberra has
changed. Doug Anthony and Malcolm Fraser are riot the same as
Mr. Whitlam. But we still have Mr, ' Petersen on his horse still
tilting at windmills. It is time lie gave it up.
The referendums do not detract from the power and authority of the-
States House. The Senate's authority will -be enhanced. The Prime
biinister will rno longer be able to manipulate political power by
manipulating Members of the Senate. The choice of the people of
Queensland'will be protected, and nothing will be able to upset
your vote the people's vote so far as the Senate is concerned.
The charge that the Senate could be made to disappear is hysterical.
Without the Senate, there is no Governmmat. Noth-ing can become law
unless it passes -the Representatives and the Senate. The proposed
referendum says that the writs for -the Senate election shall be
issued. They have to be issued. The highest legal advisers in the
land say so.
A Yes vote will increase the influence of the less populated States,
beause when the Senate and the Reprel entatives elections are held
at the same time, political leaders must canvas all States and have
/ policies

policies appropriate to all States. Policies and issues at
Nouse of Represntativpie eiectiors held alone could even be
confined to Melbourne andSydney alone.
Mr. Petersen has said the referendum costing money, and should
not be held. Re never said HHothbhaer t Constitutional
Convention, where none of t Njeletes mentioned money. They
knew a referendum would cos miroii). y, but the cost would be nothing
like as much as having separate eletions for the House of
Representatives and theSente-year after year. Millions and
millions of dollars will be saved in all future years once this
vote is carried.
Mr. Bjelke-Petersen should. a ia proper target. He will be
fighting the ALP and its'Staf-leadelr Mr. Burns in a few monthis.
SL S~ iU~ IL~ LXl~ jUj.

Transcript 4400