Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2603

Mr HODGMAN(4.22) —I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall), who of course has the distinct advantage of having served in both State and Federal parliaments, and indeed having been Premier of South Australia. He is in a position to give the chamber the benefit of his experience. I appeal to the Special Minister of State (Mr Beazley), for whom, as he well knows, I have the highest regard, to ask the Government to accept this amendment. I make this request on the basis of two matters. I shall deal with the second matter first because it is the very point made by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) in his concluding remarks.

It is true that the electoral roll is used in every State and Territory of Australia for the purpose of preparing jury lists. We in this country do not have the procedure which exists in the United States, where prospective jurors can be personally interrogated before taking their positions on the jury. Quite frankly, I would never like to see that United States practice followed here. In a big trial it can take weeks to empanel a jury. Ordinary members of the community who are called into the courts of the United States to serve on juries may find themselves cross-examined for a day or two as to their entire lives- their personal beliefs, where they have worked, where they have lived, with whom they have lived and what their political views are.

Dr Klugman —Only if the barrister is on legal aid.

Mr HODGMAN —I am talking about the United States. The electoral roll is used for jury purposes in Australia, and that is a matter of some significance.

The second matter which I raise is the most important one. I put this to the Minister, repeating as I do-I do not say this lightly-that I have the greatest regard for his integrity, but if the wish of this Parliament is that our electoral system and our electoral rolls be clean, it will be much more difficult to cleanse the rolls if the sex and the occupations of the elector are not included on the roll. An acquaintance of mine of many years standing in another political party in Sydney told me that he and others from time to time have witnessed dead men voting. I know it is the wish of all political parties-I hope all political parties certainly in this Parliament-that the roll should not be corrupt. The process of cleansing the rolls would be well known to the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young), as it is well known to honourable members on this side of the House. One has to obtain the electoral roll and actually check the area concerned and see whether the people are there. On that basic principle I ask the Minister to accept the amendment. I suggest that if we do not know the sex of the elector whom we are checking on the roll it will be very difficult to determine whether it is the correct person.

The Minister's Christian name is a classic example. The name 'Kim' is popular with both sexes, and more and more names are being used by both sexes. I ask the Minister-I hope he will take this suggestion seriously-for the purity of the roll, to enable cleansing to be efficient and to ensure that we do not have corruption in our electoral system, not to reject the amendment moved by the honourable member for Boothby and to permit the original section 31 of the Act to remain for a cleaner electoral roll and a cleaner electoral system for Australia.