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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - The honorable member has very justly explained the reason why this clause has been inserted in the Bill. It is intended to meet the case of an election in which the returns evidence upon their face that a mistake has been made in the counting of the votes. In the honorable member's own case, such an error had occurred, and, excluding all other informalities, a recount would undoubtedly have shown for which candidate the majority of votes had been polled. These facts, to my mind, justify the insertion of this clause.

The honorable member's amendment, if anything, tends to limit the Government proposal.

Mr Conroy - I think there are very fair reasons why; we should not make the clause any stronger than it is.

Mr GROOM - If the honorable member for Riverina presses his amendment, I am not sure what its effect would be. The returning officer would be guided in his action by the character of the reasons which were given.

Mr Bamford - The request of a candidate should be quite sufficient to insure a recount.

Mr GROOM - I think it is the duty of a returning officer to declare what the electors desire, as evidenced by their votes. If he sees that some gross mistake has occurred, it is his function to rectify it. I am prepared to consider the amendment.

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