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§ 86. “Further Provision for Rotation.”

The number of senators for each State may be increased or diminished at any time by the Federal Parliament, subject to the condition that equal representation of the several Original States must be maintained, and that no Original State shall have less than six senators (sec. 7). Whenever this is done, such further arrangements must be made as may be necessary to maintain regularity in the rotation.

Casual vacancies.

15. If the place of a senator becomes vacant before the expiration of his term of service, the Houses of Parliament of the State87 for which he was chosen shall, sitting and voting together, choose a person to hold the place until the expiration of the term88, or until the election of a successor89 as hereinafter provided, whichever first happens. But if the Houses of Parliament of the State are not in session at the time when the vacancy is notified90, the Governor of the State91, with the advice of the Executive Council thereof92, may appoint a person to hold the place until the expiration of fourteen days


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after the beginning of the next session of the Parliament of the State, or until the election of a successor, whichever first happens.

At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators93 for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.

The name of any senator so chosen or appointed shall be certified by the Governor94 of the State to the Governor-General.

UNITED STATES.—And if vacancies happen, by resignation or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any State, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.—Const. Art. I. sec. 3, sub-sec. 2.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 (which provided for the election of Senators by the Parliament of States) clause 13, Chap. I., was as follows:—

“If the place of a Senator becomes vacant during the recess of the Parliament of the State which he represented, the Governor of the State, by and with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, may appoint a Senator to fill such vacancy until the next session of the Parliament of the State, when the Houses of Parliament shall choose a Senator to fill the vacancy.”

In Committee, it was suggested that it might be better that a vacancy should continue until the State Parliament met, rather than that the nominee principle should be allowed, even temporarily, to invade the Senate. Mr. Barton moved the omission of the provision for a temporary appointment, but this was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd. [1891]. pp. 600-5.) At the Adelaide session (the Bill having provided for the direct election of Senators) the clause was first drafted as follows:—

“If the place of a member of the Senate becomes vacant before the expiration of his term of service, the Houses of Parliament of the State he represented shall, sitting and voting together, choose a successor, who shall hold office only during the unexpired portion of the term. And if the Houses of Parliament of the State shall be in recess at the time when the vacancy occurs, the Governor of the State, with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, may appoint some person to fill the vacancy until the beginning of the next session of the Parliament of the State.”

In Committee, the clause was postponed, in order that the Drafting Committee might consider some suggestions that had been made for enabling a senator to be chosen by the people at the next general election, State or Federal, in the State. It was desired to have the vacancy filled by direct election as soon as possible; but the expense of holding a special election throughout the State was an obstacle. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 579-80.) Later on the clause was passed substantially in its present form. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 1948-9, 1101.) Drafting amendments were made at the Sydney session; and also at the Melbourne session before the first report, and after the fourth report.

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