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Thursday, 2 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I only rise to express my disappointment at the evident determination of the Minister, no matter whether there is reason or no reason for it, to resist any suggestion for a change. Senator Vardon has referred to one of the matters to which I directed attention in my second-reading speech. The reason I urged why this provision was open to criticism was that it was quite novel to have what I termed a little moral lecture set out. Nowhere else in the Bill do we find it set down that this, that, or the other thing is the duty of a person. Even the clause, which states that the Registrar shall be the Electoral Registrar under section 61. does not set out that it shall be his duty to do so and so. It says that he shall do a certain thing. Similarly in this clause, with a desire to be simple and brief, we ought to say that the elector shall do that which a previous clause imposes upon him.

Senator Mcgregor - Sometimes he wants to be reminded of his duty.

Senator MILLEN - If the purpose of the provision is to give the elector a moral lecture, well and good, but it is getting away from that simplicity of drafting which marked the Acts of this Parliament for many years. The late Mr. Kingston always tried to delete unnecessary verbiage, and he succeeded, very much to our advantage. but now we are asked to go back and adopt a phrase which, as far as any legal value is concerned, is utterly useless. Senator Findley need not fear that if the superfluous language were deleted it would in any way weaken or destroy the effect of the clause. If he is influenced by that fear, I shall be satisfied if he will say that, while not willing to adopt the suggestion now, he proposes to take further advice, and if he finds that the clause will not be weakened or destroyed by the suggested alteration it will be recommitted later for that purpose.

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