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Thursday, 11 June 1914

Senator RUSSELL - My point is that hundreds of people going into the postoffices to-day to see whether their names are on the rolls are being deceived, because the rolls exhibited are old rolls. These are the people whom I desire to be enlightened as to the mistakes they may make.

Senator McCOLL - I have given the reply supplied by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Senator Russell - It is most unsatisfactory.

Senator McCOLL - Senator O'Keefeasked a question in these terms -

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.

I replied at the time -

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.

I have received the following reply to the honorable senator's question from the Chief Electoral Officer : -

It is quite impracticable to furnish this information. The rolls are kept at 1,052 centres throughout Australia, and are being altered from day to day by the addition of many thousands of names, and similarly by the removal of names under the ordinary processes of the Act as the result of transfer and change of enrolment, death, and objection.

The law permits any person who desires to do so to inspect the official roll kept by any registrar as altered from day to day at any time during official hours. Instructions have been issued to the registrars to allow any elector, on application, to view the lists of objections lodged.

It should be understood that names are not being removed from the rolls on the ground of non-residence unless the officers have reason to believe, as the result of official inquiry, that the persons concerned have ceased to have their places of living within the electorate, and have ceased to live therein for a period of not less than one month, and then only after the provisions of the law in regard to the issue of notices have been duly complied with. If, after the posting of a notice of objection, it comes to the knowledge of the Divisional Returning Officer, either as the result of a reply to the objection, or otherwise, that the elector concerned has not in fact ceased to live in the electorate, he (the Divisional Returning Officer) is empowered to dismiss the objection.

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