Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) - - The rolls of the Commonwealth at the present time are full of such cases as Senator Millen has instanced. I know of members of this Parliament who are on two rolls, if not three. Take my own case. I am an elector for Queensland. Yet my name was put on the roll in Tasmania by the police. If I had liked I could have voted there. I did not do so, simply because I knew what the law was. But many men, not knowing the law so well, will break it. Suppose a man who has been living in Queensland goes to Broken Hill and gets on the roll there. How is the Electoral Officer at Broken Hill to know that this elector is already on the roll for Gympie, Charters Towers, or any other place in Queensland? The electoral name will remain on the roll for the State which he has left, as well as being "on the roll for the State to which he has gone. I have already said that I believe our rolls are unduly inflated, and often quite inadvertently. We have only to consider the last election for Boothby to, see that this is so. Boothby is a metropolitan electorate, and although the political parties there are highly organized, and, no doubt, brought every possible voter up to the poll, only 52- per cent, of the persons on the roll recorded their votes. If Boothby were a country electorate, it might be said that, as it was a by-election, the people did not take very much interest in it, but, in the circumstances, there must be something radically wrong with the Boothby roll. I believed that probably 75 per cent, at least of the persons on the roll would record their votes, knowing that both parties were well organized. I am satisfied that if the Boothby roll contained only the names of electors qualified to be upon it, it would have been found that 70 or 80 per cent, of the electors voted at the election. I am not aware that action has been taken by any one since the establishment of Federation to purify the Federal electoral rolls. It is within my personal knowledge that, ort the Kennedy roll, there appears the namesof many former residents of ChartersTowers who left the district years ago. The continuance of names on a roll of persons who have left the district merely offers an inducement to persons to personate, and get themselves into trouble. Under the State laws, there are quarterly sittings of Revision Courts provided for in Queensland, though the system is not all that I should like it to be. A person objecting to a nameon a roll has to make a deposit of 5s., and. if the elector appears and proves that hisname should remain on the roll, the objector loses his deposit. In that way, thereis very little danger that the name of a qualified elector will be struck off a roll. I will admit that the system now proposed by the Government, if properly carried out, should do much to purify the Commonwealth rolls. It should: be kept up to date*. and once an elector is enrolled for a particular electorate, his name should not appear upon any other roll unless he makes an application for a transfer. If the system is to be worked as feared by Senator Millen, I have no doubt that, in a few years, the rolls will be as inflated as ever. A man leaving a Tasmanian electorate, and going to Broken Hill to get work, will, no doubt, desire to be on the roll for the Barrier. He will make application for enrolment, but his name will still remain on the roll for the Tasmanian electorate which he left. I am sure that is not the intention of honorable senators. Now that we are establishing the card system, we should try to make it as perfect as possible, and 1 am satisfied that honorable senators on this side will support any proposal made by the Government to secure the purification of the rolls.

Senator Rae - After listening to Senator Sayers' convincing speech, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.

Senator Millen - No.

Amendment negatived.

Senator McColl - In view of the discussion which has taken place, 1 shall not again submit my amendment.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 10 consequentially amended and agreed to.

Senator FINDLEY(Victoria - Honorary Minister) [4.2J. - I move -

That the following new clause be inserted : - 10a. Section 66 of the principal Act is amended by adding thereto the following subsection : -

(2)   The Registrar-General of marriages in each State shall in the months of January, April, July, and October in each year forward to the Commonwealth Electoral officer for the State particulars of all marriages registered during (he preceding three months, and in respect of which the bride is of the age of twenty-one years and upwards.

The object of this provision is to enable the Electoral Officers to obtain all the information possible with regard to the alteration of names due to marriages, in order that the rolls may be kept in proper order. If honorable senators will look at section 66 of the principal Act, they will find that it provides that -

The Registrar-General of deaths in each State shall, in the months of January, April, July, and October in each year, forward to each Divisional Returning Officer in the State the names, addresses, and occupations of all persons of the age of twenty-one years or upwards whose deaths have been registered in the division during the preceding three months, and the Divisional Returning Officer shall cause the names of the persons specified in the list to be struck off the roll.

The proposed new sub-section is merely an amplification of the principle of section 66. It explains itself, and I hope it will not be considered necessary to debate it at length.

Suggest corrections