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Monday, 11 December 1905

Mr ROBINSON (Wannon) - I sincerely hope that the Committee will not follow the lead of the honorable member for Darwin and the honorable member for Boothby by eliminating the provisions, for. voting by post. If that is done, it will lead to the disfranchisement of 25 per cent, of the electors in some parts of the country. Elections frequently take place at harvest time in this country, when it is extremely difficult for a farmer to leave home, and absolutely impossible for his wife to leave on the same day. Frequently such people would have to drive fifteen or twenty miles to a polling booth. If we insist that they must attend personally, it means that thou- . sands of women will be disfranchised. In my own electorate such persons might as, well be struck off the rolls altogether as have the privilege of voting by post taken away from them.

Mr Batchelor - Can they not vote at a post-office?

Mr ROBINSON - I agree with that idea. I do not believe in permitting, any person to be an authorized witness. I will support a proposal to limit the number of authorized witnesses, but I will fight tooth and nail -agains.t abolishing the privilege altogether.- I quite agree that it is a grave danger to allow any Tom, Dick, or Harry to be an authorized witness. It must lead to vote stuffing. But to take away the privilege of voting by post altogether would be an extremely serious deprivation.

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