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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2603

Dr KLUGMAN(4.18) —I will try to remind the honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall) of the reason for the suggestion from the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform which, I think, at the time was a unanimous recommendation. It was on the question of civil liberties-which I do not think is the right phrase; it is more a question of privacy-in that people do not really want their names picked out by all kinds of commercial organisations which look to send letters to every teacher or shop assistant, et cetera. We also considered that the rolls were not really accurate in giving such information. As all of us will be aware unless one actually changes one's place of abode and re-enrols, one is still registered with one's original occupation. Someone may be on the roll as a student and now may be a university professor; or someone may be down as student and may now be a barrister. It is misleading and to some extent it interferes with the privacy of the individual. I am not prepared to go to the wall on this issue, but I am not sure that occupations would necessarily distinguish people living at the same address and having the same names. If they are males they are likely to be listed as labourers, soldiers or something like that. If they do not work their occupation is likely to be listed as home duties or something like that. So occupation does not help very much.

I am aware of people who have objected to being sent commercial letters because a particular occupation is noted next to their name on the roll. Their listed occupations are often wrong. It was put to members of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform that the occupation was required by the common roll States, which, for practical purposes, are all of them. I think that Victoria uses the electoral roll for jury purposes. But I should have thought that if defence or prosecution barristers were interested in jurors' occupations they would try to get those occupations directly from the prospective jurors rather than from the roll. The occupations listed on the roll are likely to be ones which they have not followed for a significant number of years. That is the explanation for the recommendation of the Committee.