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Tuesday, 19 June 1906

Mr McLEAN (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - The Minister last week merely gave us the opinion of an official on this very important matter. Will. he look into it, and: satisfy himself as to the possibility or otherwise of holding the elections before the harvesting season?

Mr Thomas - What about the shearers? Have they not the right to vote?

Mr McLEAN - Yes. But the wool will not fall off the backs of the sheep if there is half-a-day's delay in shearing them, whereas the grain will fall out of the ears.

Mr GROOM - Harvesting takes place at different time's in the different States, and we must therefore look at this matter from the Australian point of view. I thought it advisable to give, last week, the opinion of the expert whom Parliament has appointed to deal with electoral matters; but I have looked into the matter myself, and, upon the information supplied' to me, think that it will not be possible to hold the! general elections as early as October.

Mr McLEAN - Will the honorable gentleman give us his reasons?

Mr GROOM - I could do so if it were considered desirable; but I do not think that I should give a long explanation at this stage, as. we at* making further inquiries. I shall, however, be ready to answer n n \, question on the subject

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - Will the Minister endeavour to obtain, for the benefit of the House and the country, an opinion as to the earliest period at which the elections cam be held?

Mr GROOM - That step is being taken, and the Prime Minister has announced that the information will be made public as soon as it is available.

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