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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr ANDERSON - People are entitled to their votes-

Mr Reynolds - Of course they are!

Mr ANDERSON - How does a person know, eight days before an election, that he is going to become ill? This provision is designed to disfranchise people.

Another matter which disturbs me - I have never heard of it in my life and I have been through six elections - is the manipulation of postal votes. It is certain it does not happen on my side of politics and I am certain that my opponent would not have it either.

Mr Daly - You might not know it happened.

Mr ANDERSON - It is degrading to ask a sick person to record a postal vote. One asks him to apply for a postal vote and the Post Office sends it to him. We do not have people watching the postmen in country districts and we would have to travel miles to get one vote. It is nonsense. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) says these things do take place and as he is a lawyer I presume he understands the laws of evidence and must have good evidence that these things happen. Otherwise he would not say that they do. That does not take place to my knowledge and ii it does take place this is not the way in which to remedy the position. The honorable member for Grayndler mentioned the extraordinary number of postal votes in the Liverpool Plains by-election for the New South Wales Parliament. That election took place on a day that was specially selected as being most embarrassing for the Australian Country Party candidate, as it was one of the principal days of the Royal Easter Show.

Mr Daly - Do not Labour people go to the show?

Mr ANDERSON - A lot of them do, but nine out of ten of the country people, who go to the show are supporters of the Country Party or the Liberal Party. In that by-election, of 150 postal votes nine went to Labour and all the rest to the Country Party. Do honorable members opposite think that they were all cast dishonestly? If they thought so, they did not make any complaints. An electoral visitor has to give an infirm person a form to sign. Does that not give an opportunity for malpractice in the sick room? The electoral visitor will say, " Here is your ballotpaper ", and the sick person will reply, " Please fill it in for me ". What security will that provide?

Mr Whitlam - He will be accompanied by scrutineers.

Mr ANDERSON - Suppose that one party cannot afford to provide a scrutineer to travel many miles from house to house visiting sick persons or women expecting babies. Is this the proper way to give effect to electoral laws? This amendment is an abomination and I would be thoroughly ashamed to be a member of a party that made such a suggestion. It is not even decent. If electoral laws are being broken and if the alleged malpractices in regard to postal votes in fact occur, surely there must be a way of stopping them. The existence of these practices is news to me. Perhaps this is why so many Labour people are elected. I have never heard of these practices in my experience and I am quite certain that my political opponent does not work in that way. Postal votes favour our side of politics because Labour supporters are more likely to be stationary than are our supporters. The Labour Party is trying to prevent us from having the benefit of those, postal votes that are registered in our favour. This amendment is a nasty bit of work.

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