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Thursday, 2 November 1911

Senator LONG (Tasmania) . - Under cover of the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, I desire to make a personal explanation in order that I may remove an impression which, I understand, was made upon the minds of some honorable senators last night when I was criticising the section of the Electoral Act under which postal voting occurs. I made a statement with regard to the wholesale abuse of the postal voting system in Hobart during the elections of 1906. It appears that some honorable senators were under the impression that I reflected upon the administration of the Minister at the head of the Department, and of the electoral officials in the Denison electorate, whose duty it was to administer the electoral law. I am sorry that any honorable senator should have derived that impression, because nothing was further from my mind than to suggest that either the Minister, or any of the officials, was other than absolutely impartial. What I wished to point out was that abuses crept in because, under the law, it was impossible -for the electoral officers in Denison to detect them. Those who laid themselves out to profit by the abuses were, of course, sufficiently clever to carry on their practices without being detected. I make this explanation in order that honorable senators may clearly understand that my statement applied only to the individuals who were in the pay of one of the candidates, and by no stretch of imagination should they have been regarded as applying to the officials charged with the' administration of the law. I should not have felt called upon to make this explanation, except for the remark made by Senator Vardon this afternoon, from which I gathered that he had inferred that I had reflected seriously upon the Minister, and the officials. I say, again, that I had no such intention.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.6 p.m.

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