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Wednesday, 10 June 1914

Senator DE LARGIE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Before asking the Vice-President of the Executive Council a question, I desire to say that complaints have reached me from a place called Noggerupp, which forms a part of a timber district in Western Australia, that the names of electors are being struck off the rolls, and that when voters apply at the local post-office for enrolment cards they are informed that none is available. It is further stated that the postmaster is a Liberal partisan, and is doing everything he can to prevent the men employed in that locality from getting their names upon the rolls. Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council make inquiries into this matter with a view to ascertaining what truth is contained in these complaints ?

Senator McCOLL - I shall be glad to make inquiries.

Senator BLAKEY asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -

1.   Is he aware that on 21st May, 1914, Mr. J. A. Bowe, Divisional Returning Officer for the division of Wimmera, forwarded a " notice of objection " to Annie Elizabeth Gcllon, of Swan Hill, informing her that an objection had been lodged with him by the Electoral Registrar at Swan Hill, objecting to her name being retained on the electoral roll for the division of Wimmera, on the following grounds, namely: - "That she does not live in the division, and has not so lived for at least one month "?

2.   Is he aware that the said Annie Elizabeth Gellon has not been away from Swan Hill for a longer period than two weeks annually for the last ten years?

3.   Will he take immediate steps to endeavour to prevent any persons lodging frivolous objections against bond fide electors?

4.   Does he think that paid political organizers, or others, are taking similar action to that taken in the case of Annie Elizabeth Gel- lon, in other divisions of the Commonwealth?

Senator McCOLL - The answers are - 1 and 2. The issuing of notices of objection is, under the law, in the hands of the Divisional Returning Officer. If the Divisional Returning Officer for Wimmera, as stated, lodged an objection against the retention on the roll of the name of an elector on insufficient grounds, the elector should answer the objection in accordance with the requirements of the law as indicated on the notice.

3.   Section 69 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act imposes on each Divisional Returning Officer and Registrar the duty of lodging or making on objection, in writing, setting forth the grounds of such objection in respect of any name which he has reason to believe ought not to be retained on the roll.

The Divisional Returning Officers and Registrars are clearly and definitely instructed that an objection by an officer is to be lodged only as the result of an official inquiry.

4.   No.

SenatorRAE. - Arising out of the reply, is the Minister aware that the custom of sending the notice of objection to enrolment to electors whose names are objected to because they are absent, and then sending the notice of objection to the residence which they have left, is in vogue ?

Senator McCOLL - I am not aware.

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