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Tuesday, 6 November 1973

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - The Government does not accept this amendment because it seeks to keep that part of the Act which was changed by an amendment that was introduced in 1972 in relation to court controlled ballots. We want an officially conducted ballot to be the final say in this matter. The purpose of officially conducted ballots is to prevent irregularities that occur in elections. If irregularities did not occur from time to time it would not be necessary to have officially conducted ballots. If it is possible to challenge the conduct of an election by an independent returning officer who is responsible for conducting all stages of an election, the whole purpose of officially conducted ballots is undermined and their conduct is subject to uncertainty. The irregularities that occur in an officially conducted ballot held by an independent returning officer would be few. If the results of officially conducted ballots could be challenged ad infinitum the issue would never be decided. We acknowledge that if the Opposition's amendment succeeds it is necessary to remedy a defect in the 1972 provision. This has been done by a reference in the Opposition's amendment to sub-section (4). But the Government opposes the amendment because an officially conducted ballot should be final.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 72 agreed to.

Clause 73- (Procedure at hearing).

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