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Friday, 17 November 1911

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - It is believed that this proposal will be for the public advantage.

Senator Millen - In what way?

Senator FINDLEY - It has been found to be somewhat embarrassing to have a hard-and-fast form prescribed bythe Act for those who desire to nominate candidates. By the regulation we shall endeavour to secure uniformity and simplicity in the form prescribed. It will . be made quite clear.

Senator Millen - Is not the form in the Act quite clear ?

Senator FINDLEY - It might be made more clear.

Senator Millen - Then why hot make it more clear in this Bill ?

Senator Chataway - This proposal means that it may be altered from day to day or week to week.

Senator FINDLEY - Circumstances might arise from day to day which would necessitate an alteration.The simplest provision in the Bill proposed for the advantage of candidates, and irrespective of party, is taken exception to by honorable senators opposite.

Senator Millen - Let the honorable senator give us some reason for striking out the present schedule.

Senator FINDLEY - I have said that in the past it has been found to be somewhat embarrassing.

Senator Millen - Mention a case.

Senator FINDLEY - Cases have arisen within the knowledge of the Department. It has been necessary in some instances to strike out the words " polling place " and insert "subdivisions."

Senator Millen - Can we. not strike out those words in the schedule now ?

Senator FINDLEY - There is an instance of what I complain of. The honorable senator asks whether we cannot strike those words out of the schedule now, to meet that particular difficulty, forgetting that circumstances might arise which would render other alterations necessary.

Senator Barker - What principle is involved in the clause?

Senator FINDLEY - Not the slightest principle. It deals with a matter of detail hardly worth the while of the Committee to discuss.

Senator Chataway - Then why is the clause inserted?

Senator FINDLEY - For the convenience of the Department and the convenience of candidates, and those desiring to nominate candidates.

Senator Millen - Not for any more sinister purpose?

Senator McColl - For the piling up of regulations.

Senator FINDLEY - These two insinuations are unworthy of the honorable senators who make them. One suggests that the clause is inserted for the purpose of piling up regulations, and Senator Millen has it in mind that the Government have some sinister motive in proposing this alteration. The Government have no sinister object in this clause, because the prescribed nomination forms will be the same for all candidates, whether standing in the interests of the Government or of the Opposition.

Senator Millen - The form can be altered at the last moment.

Senator FINDLEY - The heading of the form in the schedule of the existing Act differs from the reading of the Act. There is no reason why any exception should be taken to this clause.

Senator Millen - Who objected to the existing schedule, and desires that it should be struck out ?

Senator FINDLEY - It has been found-

Senator Vardon - Who found it?

Senator FINDLEY - The honorable senator knows who are intrusted with the administration of the Act. The Electoral Officers have found that the existing schedule is inconvenient and embarrassing.

Senator Vardon - Their convenience is to be considered more than that of the public.

Senator FINDLEY - The public have also been inconvenienced.

Senator Vardon - Where? We have never heard of it.

Senator FINDLEY - The honorable senator has never heard of many things. I hope the Committee will under no consideration accept any amendment of the clause.

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