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Thursday, 4 June 1914

Senator BLAKEY - The notice that objection has been lodged to the name appearing on the roll in this case is given by the Electoral Registrar of Swan Sill.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator does not suggest that the Electoral Registrar issued the notice for party purposes ?

Senator BLAKEY - Not for a moment ; I do not know the Electoral Registrar at Swan Hill. But I say that, whether it be an Electoral Registrar, a Divisional Returning Officer, or a private individual in this community who takes action, there should not be an objection raised to the name appearing on the roll of a person who has lived in the same place for ten years, and has never been absent from it except for an annual fortnightly holiday. To object, in such a case, is to carry objections to extremes. I hope that Senator McColl, who is in charge of the Electoral Branch of the Home Affairs Department, will take steps to see that some penalties are imposed upon people who lodge frivolous objections to the appearance on the rolls of the names of. bona fide electors.

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN (South Australia) [10.17]. - I am glad that Senator Blakey has brought this matter before the Senate. I can assure him that the practice of endeavouringto get the names of electors off the rolls because they may have left their usual place of residence for a short period is not confined to Victoria or New South Wales. I sometimes look through the columns of Adelaide newspapers to discover the doings of Liberal Unions in the State of South Australia. I find the reports of their proceedings very interesting reading. One of the matters which came before them was a report from a secretary, or a committee, appointed to revise the rolls, and send in long lists of names to which they thought objections should be lodged. During my canvass last year I found that several men working on the drainage and other public works in South Australia had notices of objection sent to them. Some of them were single men and others married men. They had to leave their usual place of residence from time to time to get work wherever it offered. Evidently the Liberal Union canvassers had their eyes upon them, and as soon as they got out of a district ob jections were lodged against their names, and they were struck off the rolls. In nine cases out of ten the men who receive these notices of objection do not take any heed of them, and when an election day comes round they find that their names are not on the roll. It is time that this mean attempt to take advantage of the circumstances of workmen to get their names removed from the rolls, should be stopped. Returning Officers should be instructed that no action should be taken upon these objections unless after the fullest inquiries. The mere sending of a notice of objection should not be sufficient to bring about the removal of the name from the roll. By the operation of this system, quite a number of people have had their names struck off rolls on which they were entitled to remain, because they have been merely temporarily absent from their usual place of residence.

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