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Monday, 11 December 1905

Mr FRAZER (Kalgoorlie) - I do not like the idea of reducing this amount. One of the objects of an Electoral Bill, in the first place, should be to give all qualified people an opportunity to have their names placed on the rolls, and, in the second place, to insure that no name shall be removed without sufficient justification. A political campaign does- not extend over more than a week, or, at any rate, a month; and most of the political parties have, for a considerable time, had men in the various electorates watching over the interests of particular parties. The proposal to permit the lodging of objections is justifiable under some conditions. I admit that, unless we have an extensive staff, it Will not be possible for the officers to say definitely what names shall or shall not be removed from the roll ; but it is in the highest degree undesirable to allow representatives of any particular political party, on the payment of the smallest sum imaginable, to be able to offer objections to persons legitimately entitled to vote. We all know that a very small percentage of the electors objected to, put in an appearance at the Revision Courts. I have been at a Revision Court when the objections numbered hundreds, and not half-a-dozen people have been in the building. At that same Court, scores of people who were entitled to vote had their names struck off the roll, they not taking the trouble to attend.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Bill proposes to obviate that.

Mr FRAZER - The clause as il stands makes it obligatory on an elector to deposit the sum of 5s. in respect of every objection, the money to be forfeited in the event of the objection being found frivolous. That is a safeguard against a wealthy political party making objections on the chance that the people objected to may, because of their employment, or for other reasons, not be able, or neglect, to attend.

Mr Wilks - Does the honorable member think that the payment of an extra 4s. would stop that practice?

Mr FRAZER - I think it would go a good way in the direction of preventing such abuses.

Mr Carpenter - A penalty of the kind has prevented such abuses*

Mr FRAZER - I believe it has If a man is engaged in the legitimate object of trying to purify the rolls, and he has a case which he can substantiate, he can afford to " put up " the money ; and the clause will prevent objections being made, as iri the past, on mere chance. The amount fixed ought to be sufficient to create a feeling of responsibility in those who make objections ; and in the interests of those persons who mav be unable, or neglect, to attend the Revision Courts, the clause ought to be passed as it stands.

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