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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator VARDON - That is 50 per cent, more than I stated. In addition to them, there are numbers of Seventh Day Adventists, Plymouth Brethren, and others who, though we have received no petition from them, have a similar objection to voting on the Saturday. The Minister might consider the suggestion of Senator Gardiner, and enable these people to obtain a certificate from the Returning Officer, and record a vote which might be sent to the Returning Officer, and reach him before the close of the poll on the Saturday. Ministers, with the majority behind them, may have a giant's strength, but I ask them not to use it in a tyrannous fashion. If they cannot see their way to retain the whole of the postal voting system, as I think they should, they might, in the way I have sug gested, enable these people at least to record their votes without violence to their religious convictions.

SenatorW. RUSSELL (South Australia) [5.0]. - I should like to reply to some suggestions made by Senator Vardon and others on the question of the day for the elections that will best suit the farming community. From my experience I should say that farmers and their employes have no holiday on any day in the week. Speaking of South Australia, I might say that mails leave Adelaide on the Friday morning, and reach their destination, which may be some small country post-office, on the Friday night, or early on Saturday morning. As a rule, the people for miles around a country postoffice come in to the office to get their mails on the Saturday. There will probably be a store at the place as well as a post-office, and the polling place could be established at such places, and it would then be convenient for the farmers to vote on the Saturday. Far be it from me to say anything disparaging of those who hold different conscientious views from my own, but it must not be forgotten that under the provisions of this Bill, if Saturday is fixed as a polling day, there will still be two hours beyond the Jewish Sabbath during which electors may record their votes.

Senator Millen - That is not so.

SenatorW. RUSSELL.- I am told that it is, and if the elections were to take place on the 13th April, as they did on the last occasion, there would be more than two hours available for persons who objected to vote on the Jewish Sabbath. The Saturday will be a more convenient day than any other for the working classes, because most of them have a half-holiday on that. day. I am aware that it may not suit Senator McColl and those who hold his political views.

Senator Millen - Is that why it is pro posed to disfranchise the Hebrews?

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