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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2617

Mr BEAZLEY (Special Minister of State)(5.47) —by leave-I move:

(14) Clause 63, page 95, line 10, omit 'A', substitute 'Subject to sub-section (4), a'.

(15) Clause 63, page 95, line 11, omit 'subject to sub-section (4),'.

Very briefly, these amendments pick up a difficulty in the Bill that we discovered after we had examined the question, it must be said, on the initiative of our opponents. This clause of the Bill restricts the possibilities that are available for postal vote gatherers to engage in what the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform, and I think all of us from our experiences, would regard as undesirable practices. In doing so we recognised, however, in the Bill as it stands at the moment that under sub-clause (b) a situation could arise where a person seeking a postal vote could in fact request in writing the attendance of a witness who might nevertheless be unable to pick up and witness that postal vote. Consequently, in amending this clause, we have shifted the words 'subject to sub-section (4)' appearing in sub-section (a) to appear in the introductory sentence after 'a person shall not' so that they cover both of those proposed sub-sections. In covering both of those proposed sub-sections they will make certain that the procedure established is actually applicable and that a would-be voter can seek the assistance in writing of a witness to witness a signature on the paper. It is a fairly technical matter. There is opposition from the other side. An amendment will subsequently be moved by the honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall), to the principle. We feel that we have covered in this amendment all the things that needed to be covered.