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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr FREETH (Forrest) (Minister for the Interior) (2:30 AM) . - The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) fails to appreciate the significance of this amendment while the provision for postal voting still exists. This will not prevent the kind of malpractices that have been alleged. If these malpractices are occurring, then, while the opportunity to obtain a postal vote still exists, the party officials responsible for them will continue to act in the same way. They will try to persuade a person to apply for a postal vote, and will go to the person to collect the postal vote when it is completed. If they do it now, they will continue to try to persuade the elector to vote in a certain way and hand the vote over. What will be done by party organizers will be exactly what is done now if there is any particular advantage in collecting postal votes.

It will be left to the initiative of the sick or infirm person alone to resist. A sick or infirm person can resist the pleadings of the people who are supposed to make a nuisance of themselves in this way if he is sufficiently firm of mind. If the sick and infirm are sufficiently firm in their minds to apply for a postal vote, there is every prospect that they will record a vote as they wish. This amendment will not remove the evil that the honorable member has claimed exists.

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