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(Comprising the period from 21st March, 1902, to 14th May, 1902.)

SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

Printed and Published for the GOVERNMENT of the Commo WEALTH of AUSTRALIA by

ROBT. S. BRAIN, Government Printer for the State of Victoria.

1902.

1905

AZ [21 Mar., 1902.]».9

Electoral

Bill.

11157

one

sure

name

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destroyed if we do not make the amend Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-In ment proposed by Senator Pearce.

the first place it is impossible for two Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Wes- persons to vote

by

virtue of tern Australia).—I am the Vice

the roll, because if a President of the Executive Council is as has voted on the day of election, and anxious as any of us that every facility, another vote comes down by post in the consistent with safety, should be given to name of that nan, it cannot be recorded. electors to record their votes. Therefore, In the second place there will be scrutineers, I cannot understand why he should be who probably will know the voter, or reopposed to Senator Pearce's amendment, cognise his signature. Exactly the same which would simplify the voting system. objection cculd be raised against the certifiAt present we have provided for direct cate system. I, therefore, hope that Senavoting, voting by post, and voters' certifi- tor O'Connor will reconsider the matter, or cates. If Senator Pearce's proposal were devise some other system by which every adopted we should have the direct vote, man may go to the nearest polling booth and and voting by post. The system he pro- record his vote if he is too far away from poses has already been adopted in various the place where his name is registered. States, and not a single protest has Senator STEWART (Queensland). been made against it. As Senator Keating Some time ago when we were discussin, mentioned the other day, the system pro- another phase of this Bill, Senator ('Connor vided in Tasmania is one by which fraud twitted certain honorable senators with being can be eliminated as effectively as in direct extremely conservative in their ideas. He voting. Indeed, the very same system can reminded them of the opponents to the Rebe adopted as in the case of postal voting. form Bill, who would not move until they If a person living in Melbourne happens to were shifted. With reference to this parbe at Bendigo, Ballarat, or Swan Hill on ticular clause, the honorable and learned the day of the election he would, under senator himself has become allied with such Senator Pearce's proposal, be able to record conservatism. The object of our electoral his vote, which would be put in a Mel- law is to give every voter an opportunity to bourne envelope and posted down to Mel vote. Of course no law can be carried out bourne. If it were found on an examina- without a certain limitation, but the election of the roll that the person in question tor's right to vote ought not to be circumhad not voted in Melbourne the vote thus scribed in a way that would hinder him from posted would be recorded. The secrecy of recording it. The Bill proposes to chain the ballot would be maintained, and the pro- down the elector to his own particular pollbability of fraud reduced to a minimun. If ing place. In this respect it is tenfold there were a danger of personation under the more conservative than any State law. In system, I should be the first to vote againstit. most of the Queensland electorates we have There would be, however, less danger of ten or twenty polling places, but the elector fraud than if the man voted direct, because can vote at any one of them so long as he his signature would be the most effective votes within his electorate. But the Bill evidence against him. Another objec- of the Government says that a man shall not tion raised is that unnecessary delay vote away from his own polling place unless would occur in counting the votes. We he arranges to vote by post, or gets a voter's cannot get an official declaration of the poll certificate. Those conveniences, so far as until all the ballot-boxes are received at a concerns a large number of electors in the certain place. While those boxes are being outlying portions of Australia, are delusive sent down the votes recorded under Senator in the last degree. In the first place, a Pearce's proposal could be forwarded to the man has to write to the returning officer for places at which the names of the electors a particular form, or has to fill up an appliwere registered. I have not yet heard any cation in the prescribed form himself. Does clear explanation of why Senator O'Connor any one imagine that the ordinary elector is objects to the system.

going to carry copy of the Act Senator O'CONNOR.-— The difficulty is about about with him or to have a copy of identification. The electors on the roll live the form in his possession ? If he fills round out the polling place; but if a man up the form, by the time it reaches votes at a polling place hundreds of miles the returning officer the elector may be a away how are we to identify him?

hundred miles away. Then the voter has to

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