April 1975 Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in April 1975

Whitlam Proposes Optional Preferential Voting

This is Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s Second Reading speech on the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill 1974 (No.2).

Amongst other things, the bill sought to introduce optional preferential voting.

This was the second time the bill was passed in the House of Representatives, following its earlier rejection by the Senate. The bill went on to become one of the constitutional triggers for the 1975 double dissolution election. With the election of the Fraser government, the bill was never enacted.

Hansard transcript of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s speech on the Second Reading of the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill 1974 (No.2).

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) (Prime Minister) – This Bill is now being debated in this Parliament for the second time. It was first debated over 4 months ago. The Bill includes many provisions which were proposed by the Minister for the Interior, the Minister in charge of electoral matters in the previous government, in a bill which he introduced in March 1971. The other provisions cover matters which were shown to be urgently in need of correction by the double dissolution election a year ago. When the Bill came into this Parliament for the first time last November it was totally opposed by members of the Opposition in this House and in the Senate. Nevertheless, I want to be fair in these matters. The Opposition moves, however slowly, because now it says that it will accept, by and large, the amendments made by this Bill, which in fact reproduce those in its Bill of March 1971. So we move on to that extent.