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Monday, 11 December 1905


Mr BATCHELOR (Boothby) - In opposition to the case cited by the Minister, in which an abuse of a similar provision occurred in Queensland, I would point out that very great difficulties may arise under the existing law which prevents an elector from recording his vote at a polling place in an adjoining constituency, no matter how convenient it may be for him to do so. As illustrating my point, I may mention a case, which arose under the South Australian Electoral Act. The division of Albert embraced the whole of the eastern side of the River Murray. On the western side there were several towns at each of which there were a few settlers. Under the State law they were ineligible to vote at the polling place on the eastern side of the river. If they wished to exercise theirfranchise they were compelled to do so at a polling place which was 300 or 400 miles distant. That difficulty had to be overcome by the clumsy expedient of passing a separate Bill year after year, altering the boundaries of the districts opposite Albert so as to include the settlers upon the eastern side of the Murray. It seems to me that the proposal of the honorable member for North Sydney would entirely overcome any such difficulty.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 15-

Sections twenty-seven to fifty-four inclusive of the Principal Act are repealed, and the following sections are substituted in lieu thereof : -

30.   - (1) The Governor-General may arrange with the Governor of a State for the preparation, alteration, and revision of the Rolls, in any manner consistent with the provisions of this Act, jointly by the Commonwealth and the State, to the intent that the Rolls may be used as Electoral Rolls for State elections as well as for Commonwealth elections.

(2)   When any such arrangement has been made, the Rolls may contain, for the purposes of such State elections, the names and descriptions of persons -

(a)   who are not entitled to be enrolled thereon as electors of the Commonwealth;

(b)   who are not entitled to be enrolledthereon as electors of the State ; and shall clearly discriminate and show -

(a)   the persons so enrolled who are electors both for Commonwealth and State ;

(b)   the persons so enrolled who are State electors only;

(c)   the persons so enrolled who are Commonwealth electors only.

Mr. GROOM(Darling Downs - Minister of Home Affairs). - As honorable members are aware, I have already given notice of an amendment in this clause, and the honorable member for North Sydney has tabled a very similar amendment. This portion of the Bill has been framed with a view to enable the Commonwealth to make an arrangement with the States so that the one set of rolls may be used for both Commonwealth and State purposes. The practice was found to be a very convenient one in South Australia, where a saving of £1,300 was effected as the result of its adoption. The proposed substituted clause 30 has been amended in the Senate by the addition of sub-clause 2, which does not commend itself to my judgment. Paragraphs a and b have been framed to permit of the names of persons who are not entitled to be enrolled as electors of the Commonwealth in the one case, or of the State in the other, appearing upon the rolls. I have asked the Parliamentary Draftsman to remodel that portion of the provision, and to substitute other words. He has done so, and I shall ask the Committee to amend the sub-clause so that it will run as follows: -

(a)   the names and descriptions of persons who are not entitled to be enrolled thereon as electors of the Commonwealth, provided that it is clearly indicated in the prescribed manner that those persons are not enrolled thereon as Commonwealth electors ;

(b)   distinguishing marks against the names of persons enrolled as Commonwealth electors, to show that those persons are or are not also enrolled as State electors ;

(c)   other particulars in addition to the prescribed particulars.

When the rolls Rave been completed, marks can be put opposite the names, denoting either a Commonwealth or a State elector, or both. Thus the qualifications of the different personswhose names appear upon the rolls will be clearly set out.


Mr Chanter - Suppose that a person is both a State and Commonwealth elector?


Mr GROOM - Then the letters C and S can be put opposite his name to indicate that fact. It is possible that the State laws may require certain particulars to be supplied which we do not need.


Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - That would lead to trouble.


Mr GROOM - I do not think so. The Act will be administered by a returning officer.


Mr Chanter - The qualifications of electors will be set out in marginal notes?


Mr GROOM - Yes. It will be made clear whether a person is a State elector, or a Commonwealth elector, or both.


Mr Chanter - What is the object of the provision ?


Mr GROOM - Some States possess a different franchise from others, and this provision is intended to enable the one set of rolls to be used for both. State and Commonwealth elections. If that can be done a great saving will be effected. Our aim is, if possible, to enter into an arrangement with the States by which uniform polling places may be proclaimed, and uniform rolls adopted. We also desire so to distribute the Commonwealth divisions that State electorates may be carved out of them. Finally, we hope to reach that state of affairs when the one set of officers will conduct both State and Commonwealth elections.


Mr Carpenter - Is not every State elector also a Commonwealth elector?


Mr GROOM - Yes ; but every Commonwealth elector is not a State elector. I move -

Thatin substituted clause 30, sub-clause 2, all the words after " State elections," be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - " (a) the names and descriptions of persons who are not entitled to be enrolled thereon as electors of the Commonwealth, provided that it is clearly indicated in the prescribed manner that those persons are not enrolled thereon as Commonwealth electors ;

(b)   distinguishing marks against the names of persons enrolled as Commonwealth electors, to show that those persons are or are not also enrolled as State electors ;

(c)   other particulars in addition to the prescribed particulars ; and for the purposes ofthis Act those names, descriptions, marks, and particulars shall not be deemed part of the Roll."


Mr Harper - I think that it would be an improvement if "Mrs." were affixed to the name of every married woman on the rolls, to avoid mistakes in sending out circulars,.


Mr GROOM - Proposed substituted clause 29 provides that such particulars may be prescribed if necessary. I will see what can be done in the matter.







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