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§ 113. “Five Members at Least.”

With fifty thousand as the quota, Tasmania and Western Australia would be entitled to only two or three members each in the National Chamber. This was considered such an insignificant representation that provision was made that there should be a minimum number of five members in each State.

Provision as to Races disqualified from Voting.

25. For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified114 from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of that race resident in that State shall not be counted.

UNITED STATES.—When the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.—Amendment XIV.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, clause 26, Chap. I., was as follows:—

“When in any State the people of any race are not entitled by law to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, the representation


  ― 456 ―
of that State in the House of Representatives shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of people of that race in the State bears to the whole number of the people of the State.”

In Committee, Dr. Cockburn suggested that the reduction should extend, not only to alien races, but to all male adults disfranchised. (Conv. Deb., Syd. [1891], pp. 637-9.) At the Adelaide session, 1897, the clause was introduced and passed as follows:—

“In ascertaining the number of the people of any State, so as to determine the number of members to which each State is entitled, there shall be deducted from the whole number of the people of the State the number of the people of any race not entitled to vote at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State.”

At the Sydney session, 1897, a suggestion by both Houses of the New South Wales. Parliament, to omit the clause, was explained by Mr. Carruthers as not expressing any objection to the principle of the clause, but as directing attention to an ambiguity. (Conv. Deb., Syd. [1897], pp. 453-4) At the Melbourne session, the clause was verbally amended before the first report. After the first report it was incorporated with clause 24. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 1827-8.) After the fourth report, it was redrafted as it now stands. (Id. p. 2447.)

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