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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa) .- by leave - I move -

That the following- new clause be inserted in the bill:- " 11c. After section one hundred and', two of the Principal Act the following, section is inserted: - 102a. - (1.) Where a polling place has been appointed in any convalesent home, hospital or similar institution, the Divisional Returning Officer shall provide at least two polling booths therein. (2.) One or more of such booths designated, by the Divisional Returning Officer shall be used as a mobile booth for the purpose of affording an opportunity to vote to every elector who -

(a)   is for the time being resident in the home, hospital or institution in which the booth is situated; and

(b)   by reason of illness or infirmity, or, in the case of a woman, by reason of approaching maternity, is unable to attend at the polling place to record his vote; and

(c)   has, by message to the presiding officer in charge of the polling place, requested him to afford the elector an opportunity to record his vote at such mobile booth.

Every person to whom any such message is given for delivery to the presiding officer, shall, unless otherwise ordered by a legally qualified medical practitioner, deliver such message forthwith, to the presiding officer in charge of the polling place.

Any person contravening this sub-section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds: (3.) Where any such message has been received by the presiding officer in charge of the polling place he shall direct the assistant presiding officer in charge' of a mobile booth to afford the elector an opportunity to record his vote by visiting the elector at some time before the close of the poll. On any such, visit the assistant presiding officer shall take with him. the ballot box provided for the booth and- shall be accompanied by his poll clerk and such of the scrutineers appointed in respect of the booth as choose to accompany him.

On any such visit to an elector the elector's vote shall so far as is reasonably practicable be taken in all respects as if the vote were recorded in a. polling booth under usual conditions.

No visit shall be made under this section if such visit is forbidden by a legally qualified medical practioner' . ".

This amendment would implement the system that obtains under New South Wales legislation with regard to the use of mobile booths in hospitals. This system has been in operation in New South Wales for the last twelve years, to the complete satisfaction of all candidates at State elections. I commend the proposal to the House.

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