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Friday, 15 December 1905

Mr WILKS (Dalley) - Upon the lastoccasion that this question was discussed.. I supported the abolition of the deposit system, and I see no reason whatever to change the attitude which I then assumed. The honorable member for New England has declared that the existing law prevents unnecessary expense. How? All the expenses contingent upon an election have to be incurred irrespective of whether there is a contest or not. All the electoral machinery has to be called into operation. Consequently the deposit system does not diminish the cost to which the Commonwealth is subjected. The honorable mem-, ber for Melbourne has urged that it would be wise to insist upon all candidates securing the indorsement of their nomination papers by 500 or 600 electors, as a guarantee against frivolous opposition. Need I remind him that candidates themselves are the best judges of when there is frivolous opposition, and in such circumstances they will limit their expenditure accordingly. I fail to see any virtue in the argument that the deposit system secures economy both to the Commonwealth and to the candidate. We all know that to-day elections are conducted uponwhat is known as the ticket system, and I fail to see that any good purpose is to be served by the continuance of the deposit. If the object be to keep down the number of candidates. I am certain that it is not achieved. The mere fact that he had to provide a deposit of £2$ would not be a barrier to the nomination of the average man who thought he had any chance of being returned.

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