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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2617

Mr STEELE HALL(5.49) —The Special Minister of State (Mr Beazley), in his amendment, may have made things a little easier, but it still seems to leave the severity of proposed sub-section (b). I understand that it is the aim of the legislation not to have people pestered and induced to obtain postal votes. I put it to the Minister-I ask him to listen to the argument-that, for instance, a person who wishes to obtain an application for a postal vote at the post office and who meets a friend outside and says 'Can you witness this in my car' is precluded from doing so. That seems to be a totally undue restriction.

Mr Beazley —He can write him a letter.

Mr STEELE HALL —Yes. As the Minister knows, all the parties send out notes which state: 'Can we help you?' People write back and say that they want help. They actually write the note by signing the party form. That is legally correct and in fact it provides an enormous service all over Australia, as the Minister knows. That is to be desired. But what is wrong with a personal request-in writing? People may make oral applications for postal votes in order to overcome the problem of absentee voting, but they cannot make an oral application to their neighbours to witness their postal vote application forms. I do not want to delay the Committee, but I think it is a real point of inconvenience to people. I do not see why it is maintained, given that one cannot induce, and so on. I do not see why we are taking away the right of an ordinary citizen to ask his neighbour or his friend in the street to witness his postal vote application . It seems to be nonsense. I therefore oppose the Minister's amendment not because I do not think it helps but because I do not think it goes far enough and should be replaced by an amendment of mine.

Amendments agreed to.