Submissions are now open to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) inquiry on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Ensuring Fair Representation of the Northern Territory) Bill 2020.
The bill, which seeks to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act to guarantee the Northern Territory continues to be represented by two lower house Members of Parliament, was introduced to the Senate by Labor last week.
Labor introduced the bill because, without legislation, the Territory is expected to lose one of its two seats in the House of Representatives when the Australian Electoral Commission commences boundary redistribution processes next month.
Nationals Senators Bridget McKenzie, Matt Canavan, Perin Davey and Susan McDonald joined CLP Senator Sam McMahon in siding with Labor to back the introduction of the bill, which was then referred to JSCEM by the government.
Labor will continue to make the case, through the JSCEM inquiry, for two Territory lower house seats to be guaranteed by legislation and will pursue public hearings of JSCEM in Darwin in coming weeks.
We strongly encourage Territorians and anyone who supports fair representation for the Territory to make a submission to the inquiry. If the Territory did become a single seat it would be the most under-represented in Australia, with just one MP representing nearly 250,000 Territorians.
The loss of an electorate based on a mathematical formula would not recognise the different communities of interest from remote outback towns to Darwin and Palmerston, nor the NTs strategic and economic importance to Australia. Legislating for two seats in the Northern Territory would guarantee fair representation in the Federal Parliament for all Territorians, including the 27 per cent of the NTs population who are Indigenous.
That is a big part of why Labor will always fight for strong federal representation for Territorians and we call on the Morrison Government to support our plan to guarantee two Northern Territory seats in legislation. Submissions to JSCEM close on 10 July 2020.
More information on the inquiry can be found on the JSCEM website along with information on how to make a submission.
MEDIA RELEASE - THURSDAY 18 JUNE 2020
SENATOR DON FARRELL
SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
WARREN SNOWDON MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL TERRITORIES
MEMBER FOR LINGIARI
SENATOR MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY
CHAIR OF FIRST NATIONS CAUCUS COMMITTEE
SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
LUKE GOSLING OAM MP
MEMBER FOR SOLOMON