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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator McCOLL (Victoria) . - From the somewhat hazy explanation we have had of this clause, it would seem that it is intended to prevent the duplica tion of names on electoral rolls, but I should like to know how the Department propose to obtain evidence of identification.

Senator Findley - They will have the elector's card with his handwriting, a statement of his occupation, and other particulars.

Senator McCOLL - Then we have to go back to the old question as to what is to be considered proof. I ran my eye down a number of rolls this morning, and even in the case of very common names I found the same name appearing several times on different rolls. Names like Anderson and Andrews appear two or three times on a single roll.

Senator Findley - The honorable senator will often find similar names on a roll, but he will not often find two signaturesalike.

Senator McCOLL - What has the signature to do with it? Is it proposed to call the elector into the office, and get him to sign something?

Senator Findley - His signature will be on his card.

Senator McCOLL - I suppose that if the name James Anderson appears on a roll the Department will endeavour to discover if the same James Anderson is enrolled for another electorate. What is to direct their attention to the probability that he is, in order to make them look up the matter and consult his card? Is it proposed to go through the cards of electors of the same name for every roll in the Commonwealth, and compare the signatures to discover whether the same man is enrolled for more than one electorate?

Senator Millen - Who will say whether the signatures are the same?

Senator McCOLL - We ought to know that also. The Minister has such a blind faith in the Department that he has scarcely troubled himself to master the details of the measure of which he has charge. We have to satisfy ourselves that we are passing common-sense legislation. Before actionis taken to strike a name from a roll we should be absolutely certain that the elector is on some other roll, and the only way inwhich we can be certain of that is by communicating with the person whose name it is proposed to strike off the roll. If we do not get an answer within a certain time we may take it for granted that the name should not appear on the roll on which it is objected to. In order to make the matter clear I move -

That the following new sub-clause be inserted : - (4.) When it is intended that any person shall be struck oft a roll by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer of the State, that officer shall send notice by registered letter, to the last known address of the person to be struck off, of such intention, and such person shall not be struck off until twenty-one clear days have elapsed after such notice has been sent.

Without some such provision we shall get our rolls into a state of endless confusion. We shall have names struck off that should be allowed to remain on the rolls, and names will he left on which should be struck off. The card system, will not help us in the matter unless an army of clerks is kept to check every name on every roll.

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