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§ 109. “Be Determined Whenever Necessary.”

The Constitution does not expressly say by whom this determination is to be made. Whenever it is “necessary” to re-apportion the members, the only data needed are the “latest statistics of the Commonwealth,” showing the population of the Commonwealth, and of each State. Given those figures, the rest is mere arithmetic; and according to the maxim—“Id certum est quod certum reddi potest”—the numbers are then already determined.

Parliamentary authority would, however, appear to be required for two purposes: —(1) To provide for the preparation of the latest statistics, and to identify those statistics by law; and (2) to declare when re-apportionment is “necessary.” As the statistics are at the root of the representative system, it is important that they should be clearly recognized and identified by Act of Parliament; and even when that has been done, it would be most undesirable that the Executive should be left to decide for itself whether re-apportionment were necessary.

The Constitution does not prescribe any regular interval for re-apportionment, nor does it require that re-apportionment should take place at every general election, if later statistics are available; it merely provides that apportionment shall be made “whenever necessary,” and that when so made it shall be according to the latest statistics. The Parliament is apparently left to judge for itself when the necessity arises. The only reliable basis of population statistics is a census; and it may be presumed that the Parliament will provide for a periodical—probably a decennial—census, and will require that after each census the number of members for each State shall be determined afresh. Such determination, when made, will of course not take effect till the next general election.

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