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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member should discuss the provisions now before the committee.

Mr WARD - That is exactly what I shall do. We are not satisfied that the ballots will be properly conducted.- We have heard a great deal about ballots in this Parliament during recent months, and I want to know whether this will be a court-controlled ballot. The Minister said that the Government would get some reputable citizen to draw the ballot. I may not always be available. However, a person who may be accepted by the Government as a reputable member of the community may be regarded by me and members of the Labour party very differently. If there is to be a ballot and some reputable citizen, according to the Government's assessment of him, is to conduct the ballot, will there be any scrutineers to watch the reputable citizen who conducts the ballot? Unless these provisions are made, a great number of people will not be satisfied that the ballots are properly conducted.

I have never heard of such a ridiculous system of balloting. The Government will draw a birthday from the ballot. If a man happens to be unlucky enough to be born on that date, he will be for it, unless he happens to live in a country district and knows the local member, who can approach the Minister. I have never heard of a government proposing to select 12,000 young Australians to serve in the forces by such a method. If that is the best the Government can produce, the sooner it gives way to a government that has a more realistic approach to these problems, the better. I hope that the Minister will answer the queries that I have directed to him. We want to know more about birthday ballots and we want to know who the reputable person will be. No doubt, he would be a prominent member of the Liberal party. If he were, in my eyes he would be immediately suspect, because, to be quite frank, I do not trust any members of the Liberal party. If a prominent Liberal in the community is to conduct the ballot, as a Labour man I insist that we have scrutineers to watch him.

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