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Wednesday, 10 June 1914

Senator McDOUGALL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the VicePresident of the Executive Council aware that the police are going from door to door in New South Wales informing people that they have had instructions to strike names off the rolls, but are, under no consideration, to put any names on the rolls, or to afford electors facilities for enrolment by supplying them with enrolment cards?

Senator McCOLL - No such instructions have ever been given to the police.

Senator McDougall - If that be so, will the honorable senator see that steps are taken at once to remedy the matter?

SenatorRUSSELL. - Seeing that the rolls now' exhibited at post-offices and other public places are somewhat ancient, and may be misleading, inasmuch as people, seeing their names upon those rolls, may be led to believe that they will appear on the rolls for the election, though they may have since been struck off, I ask whether the Vice-President of the Executive Council will see that a placard is prominently exhibited with the rolls in all these places, intimating to the electors that wherever there is any doubt they may inspect the rolls at the Registrar's office.

Senator McCOLL - Does the honorable senator ask that a notice should be put up with the present rolls?

Senator Russell - Yes.

Senator McCOLL - The rolls are in the charge of officials, and I have no objection whatever to advise them that they should inform people who come to look at the rolls that the rolls exhibited are not those which will be used at the elections, and that new rolls are being prepared.

Senator RUSSELL - What I ask the honorable senator to do is to put up a prominent placard with the rolls, intimating that the true rolls may be inspected at theRegistrar's office. This is necessary, because, as a rule, the officials at post-offices and other public places are too busy to attend to electors.

Senator Millen - What does the honorable senator suggest should appear on the placard ?

Senator RUSSELL - Simply an intimation that the rolls now exhibited are not final, and that new rolls will be available later on. What I suggest would not be a costly matter, and it is necessary that the public should be given this information.

Senator McCOLL - I see no objection to what the honorable senator proposes, and I shall consult the Chief Electoral Officer on the matter.

Senator O'KEEFE - In view of the statements appearing recently in the public press as to the large number of names that have been removed from the rolls since the last election, I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council whether he will promise to give the Senate some definite information to-morrow, so far as it is available, as to the number of names that have been removed from the rolls in each State?

Senator McCOLL - I have no objection to giving the Senate whatever information there may be available on the subject. It will be impossible to obtain the information from some of the more distant States for some little time.

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN - The Vice-President of the Executive Council has stated that instructions have been given to those who are revising the rolls to place names on them, as well as to strike names off them. In view of the fact that it is notorious that some of these officials are not putting names on the rolls, will the honorable senator at once have instructions issued to them to carry out their duty?

Senator McCOLL - The matter to which the honorable senator refers is entirely under the control of the Chief Electoral Officer and his subordinates. He takes no instructions in that matter from me, but I shall convey to him what the honorable senator has said, and ask him to give it attention.

Senator FINDLEY - As it is common knowledge that thousands of names have been removed from the rolls in the different States, I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he will present to the Senate exact copies of the lists that are in the Electoral Branch of the Home Affairs Department of objections sent in, and the names and addresses of all persons removed from the rolls since the last Federal elections?

Senator McCOLL - I could not answer that question, as I do not know what lists there are. Such lists have been sent in from every part of Australia, and it would be quite impossible "to get copies of them, except after a considerable time. . I shall undertake to make inquiries into the matter.

Senator FINDLEY - Will the honorable senator promise the Senate that copies of the lists that are in his possession of the names of persons objected to in the different electoral divisions in each of the States - all the information on the subject in the possession of his Department - will be furnished to the Senate?

Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator mean lists of the individual names ?

Senator FINDLEY - Yes : copies of the lists of persons objected to in the different electoral divisions of the Commonwealth.

Senator McCOLL - I cannot give the honorable senator the promise for which he asks without making inquiry. If he will give notice of his question, I shall supply him with an answer.

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