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Friday, 3 November 1911


Senator HENDERSON - I am pointing out that Senator Lynch used an argument not connected with this provision at all, but for the abolition of compulsory enrolment.


Senator Vardon - I cannot see that.


Senator HENDERSON - The honorable senator will not see it probably, but I can see it easily. When Senator Lynch cites the case of a mine manager who allows his mine to run all to pieces, and then draws an analogy between the mine manager and an elector who refuses or, for some reason or other, neglects to have his name placed on a roll, he certainly draws an analogy which must appear even to himself to be absolutely foreign to the question.


Senator Lynch - It is the Bill which draws the analogy.


Senator HENDERSON - Does any one imagine for a moment that any Government of Australia will go about like a great stalking-horse, devouring the electors or their money for the mere sake of having prosecutions ? I venture to say that this provision, whenever it is applied, will be applied in such a way that no man or woman who is not really guilty of neglecting to comply with the Act will suffer any penalty. Does anybody contend that the Government of the Commonwealth, when it comes to a question of deciding whether an elector has been guilty of neglect, wilfully or otherwise, will simply impose a penalty?


Senator Millen - The Government does not impose a penalty, but the Court does.


Senator HENDERSON - What is the use of the honorable senator talking like that ?


Senator Millen - If the honorable senator is so dense that he cannot see the difference between the Government and the Court, I cannot help it.


Senator HENDERSON - I am not so dense as the honorable senator would like me to be. I am clear enough in my comprehension to see the position he- is taking up. The little tricks he indulges in are seen through too easily. This provision, in my opinion, will inflict no hardship on any person. Probably it will not be very much used. I hope it never will be used, but that everybody will see the reasonableness of complying with the regulations. The Government intend to take steps to inform every elector what his duty really is. That is a thing that we do not do in respect to our criminal law, nor do we do it in respect to any other law. A man may go about Australia all his lifetime and never see the provisions of one of the laws passed by Parliament to control his citizenship. It is utter nonsense for honorable senators to talk about people being prosecuted unreasonably.


Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Cameron. - Why complicate the situation ?


Senator HENDERSON - I am not complicating the situation at all. We have decided that we are to have compulsory enrolment, and I believe in that. One of the details necessary to insure the proper carrying out of compulsory enrolment is embodied in this provision. It is made mandatory for people to carry out the provisions of other Acts, and no attempt is made to enlighten, them as to what those Acts contain. In this case the regulations will be submitted to every elector, anc therefore every elector will have the opportunity of knowing precisely what the law requires him to do. If he refuses to obey the law, and has no reasonable excuse for refusing, it is quite justifiable to impose 'a penalty upon him.







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