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Monday, 11 December 1905

Mr CARPENTER (Fremantle) - I hope the Committee will not make any alteration in the amount of the deposit. A few weeks ago a great outcry was made in the State of Western Australia in connexion with the State elections. A considerable number of men complained that, without having been notified, their names had been struck off the roll. A conservative organization in the State had been doing this work for some months previously. A few days ago I received a letter from a gentleman in Fremantle, asking me to pay particular attention to the efforts being made to deprive persons who were entitled to vote of the franchise at the next election, by the simple process of striking their names off the roll. If there had not been a five-shilling deposit to pay, probably hundreds of names would have been struck off the Fremantle roll. The organization to which I refer submitted a list of some 2,000 names to the returning officer, and said : " These names are not on the State roll ; therefore we think you may as wel I strike them off the Federal roll." Because the returning officer insisted on the objectors putting down a five-shilling deposit for each objection, they refused to lodge them formally, and I am given to understand that, after being refused by the returning officer, they appealed over his head to the Minister of Home Affairs. I have not seen the correspondence, but the Minister will know the case to which I refer. It is a scandalous thing that a political organization, no matter on which side, should stoop to such tactics. The only possible means of preventing such things being done by any party is to fix a sufficiently deterrent fee, such as five shillings, .and require it to be lodged with the objection. It would be a backward step if we reduced the amount. It has to be remembered that there are many electors who cannot attend the revision court to maintain their rights. Many are working at distances from their homes, and do not see the objections.

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