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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This is a short, technical measure, introduced for the purpose of allaying doubts ["3l- 2 which have arisen in connexion with the distribution of seats in New South Wales. Sections 17 and 18 qf the Electoral Act provide that when the Commissioner has completed his report, he shall post it, together with a map of the proposed division in certain public places, and that within thirty days any person may lodge any objection or suggestion in writing, lt is further enacted that the Commissioner shall consider all objections and suggestions so lodged before making his final report. In connexion with the distribution in New South Wales, two or three alterations were made upon the strength of verbal suggestions to the Commissioner. These suggestions, which were not made in writing, as required by the law, involved the interests of a fairly large number of electors.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is that material ? Could not the Commissioner obtain his information in any manner he might think fit?

Mr GROOM - The Crown Law officers, after carefully investigating the matter, have come to the conclusion that objections or suggestions acted upon by the Commissioner must be made in a manner prescribed by law. The Bill is considered absolutely essential in order to allay any doubt that may exist as to the validity of the distribution.

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