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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2619

Mr STEELE HALL(6.02) —The Commonwealth Electoral Act provides for 8 o' clock closing of the polls and the Bill seeks to institute in its place 6 o' clock closing. The argument on that has been well heard in the community and in the Committee. There are, of course, views on all sides of politics as to what the closing time ought to be. Many of the States have moved for 6 o'clock closing. However, the Opposition believes that the 8 per cent of people who vote between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. should be considered; that there are religious denominations which must take other measures than attend at the booth if 6 o' clock closing is to apply. They must obtain postal votes. We contend that the state is not supreme in these matters, that the elector should be supreme and the convenience of such groups should be met by maintaining 8 p.m. closing. Accordingly we oppose the clause.