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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1193


Senator COTTON (New South WalesMinister for Civil Aviation) - I may be able to help Senator Mulvihill. He may then be persuaded to vanish in the direction of his hotel for a well earned sleep. I have some information on the points he raised about people travelling overseas. He may have some further suggestions to make after I have provided this information on that question. As soon as election dates are known the Electoral Office prints leaflets explaining the voting procedures to be followed by persons travelling overseas at or about the same time as an election. The leaflets are distributed through the shipping and airways companies, travel agencies and travel bureaus and so on. The leaflets list some 30 overseas places at which assistant returning officers are located, to whom an application for a postal vote may be made. Persons travelling overseas before election dates are known and at other times in between elections are not informed of their electoral responsibilities. Voting is compulsory and the onus really rests with an elector who may be abroad at the time of an election to acquaint himself with the voting procedures.

Generally, Australian missions overseas do the best they can with the resources and facilities available to them to keep Australians in their areas informed of important developments and events at home. I am conscious that that does not cover all the matters raised by Senator Mulvihill. His comments on other matters will be read and referred to the Department. When I resume my seat I will give the honourable senator copies of the leaflets that are made available for people going overseas. He may care to read them. If he thinks they can be improved upon, perhaps he will tell me.







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