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Wednesday, 15 April 1914

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who is now in charge of the Electoral Branch of the Home Affairs Department, been called to three cases of prosecutions under the Electoral Act in South Australia in which three men were fined £7 each, with £1 16s. costs? In one case a man filled in his claim before he was twenty-one years of age under a misapprehension, having celebrated his twenty-first birthday in error. In another case, the elector asked a policeman whether he would be right in filling in his electoral claim before he was twenty-one years of age, and the policeman advised him that he would be perfectly safe in doing so. The third case was that of an immigrant who filled in his claim through ignorance, and who had been only five months and nineteen days in the Commonwealth . This man had a wife and six children, and the magistrate decreed that he should pay the enormous fine of £8 16s. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been called to these three cases, and, if so, whether he proposes to take steps to reduce these fines by a very substantial amount?

Senator McCOLL - My attention was not called specially to the cases referred to bv the honorable senator, but I saw a paragraph in a Melbourne newspaper in which it was stated that certain persons were brought up and fined. The matter did not come before me, but I shall be glad to ascertain particulars of the cases, and will look into them.

Senator O'LOGHLIN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Colonel O'LOGHLIN.- A statement was made before the Electoral Commission in Adelaide to the effect that one individual admitted that, in direct contravention of the Act, while in one of the places provided for recording his vote, he deliberately removed the partition between that and another, and looked in to see what was being- done there, and that another witness admitted that without a scrutineer's paper he was illegally within a polling-booth. Has the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council been called to this evidence, and, if so, will he see that these people are prosecuted for infringements of the Act?

Senator McCOLL - I know nothing whatever of the incident to which the honorable senator has referred.

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