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Wednesday, 27 June 1906

Mr MAHON (COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Referring to his answer to Mr. Mahon's question of 21st June, does he consider that section 89 of the Electoral Act 1902, whichprovides that -

(89)   The date fixed for the return of the writ shall not be more than 60 days after the issue of the writ, is annulled or superseded by section 168 of the same Act, which reads as follows : - (168) Within twenty days before or after the day appointed for any election the person causing the writ to be issued may provide for extending the time for holding the election or for returning the writ, or meeting any difficulty which might otherwise interfere with the due course of the election ; and any provision so made shall be valid and sufficient : Provided that -

(i)   Public notice shall be immediately given in the State or division in which the election is to be held of any extension of the time for holding the election ;

(ii)   No polling day shall be postponed under this section at any time later than seven days before the time originally appointed. 2.. Does he contend that the extension of time mentioned in section 168 can be applied uniformly and simultaneously to all the writs issued for any general election, and that the section last aforesaid confers upon " the person causing the writ to be issued " power to fix for the return of all writs a date beyond the term of 60 days?

3.   Have not the terms of section 168 been borrowed substantially from the Electoral Acts of South and Western Australia, where the remoteness of certain electorates compelled the adoption of exceptional and elastic provisions to meet unforeseen contingencies; and, if so, is not the intent of section 168 to meet individual cases in which, owing to some mischance, an election could not be held on the day appointed, or the writ returned within the time fixed in the Proclamation?

4.   Assuming that section 168 is applicable only as indicated in the last paragraph, do not the requirements of section 80 of the Electoral Act and of section 5 of the Constitution necessitate that a Parliament elected on any day in October next . shall meet before the end of the present year?

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