Labor has today called on the Prime Minister to support its move to protect the Northern Territory’s representation in the Federal Parliament by law.
A bill to guarantee the NT two lower house seats through legislation, introduced to the Parliament last month by Senators Farrell and McCarthy with the support of NT CLP Senator Sam McMahon and the four Nationals Senators, has also gained the support of the Greens, NT Government and the Leader of the Opposition in the NT.
With the bill set to pass the Senate, the only thing now needed to enshrine two NT MPs in law is the support of Scott Morrison and his cabinet to ensure the bill passes the House of Representatives.
Evidence considered by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) suggests that tweaking the formula used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to determine the number of seats in each state and territory might not be enough to avoid the NT becoming one vast, under-represented electorate, served by a single MP.
That is why Labor introduced the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Ensuring Fair Representation of the Northern Territory) Bill 2020, with the support of Senator McMahon and Nationals senators.
JSCEM today heard from more than 20 witnesses, and the inquiry is considering more than 50 submissions on the issue.
Labor has established a petition to help Territorians to express their desire for the NT to retain fair representation and is hoping thousands of Territorians will voice their support through the petition before it is tabled in the Senate when the Parliament next sits.
We call on the Morrison Government to do the right thing for democracy and support Labor’s bid to protect proper representation for the Territory in our Federal Parliament.