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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3154


Senator Sir JOHN CARRICK(5.36) —I regret very much that Senator Ray has put forward the idea that we are trying to do this because it is spoiling some kind of vigorous activity of ours. I would not want to toss the ball back into the Australian Labor Party's court to remind it of its fervour, its undue activities, in chasing votes in many other ways; I think that is entirely out of court. Let us put Senator Ray back into his court. He is perfectly willing to accept that persons who are sick or incapacitated and are in their homes or, to put it another way, are not in hospitals or special hospitals, are entitled to postal votes and are entitled to receive whatever influence there may be from the community. According to the Government, influence is only naughty if it is in a hospital. This is the ultimate of the ridiculous, and I put it to the Attorney-General (Senator Gareth Evans) that that is so. If the test is that a disabled person, in his home or in his in-law' s home or elsewhere than in a hospital, is unable under this Act to be advised or to be influenced in any way by anyone-he can get a postal vote-what is wrong with the same circumstances happening in a hospital or a special hospital? That one remains unanswered.

The second situation is that by their very nature, persons, who are in hospitals as chronically ill or chronically infirm, will from day to day vary in their ability to be able to cast a vote. There is no way in which those people can predict ahead of time that they will be off colour. There is nothing in this Bill, I invite the Attorney-General to state if there is, to allow a person who is frail and has good days and bad days, to say: 'Because I cannot predict how well I feel, how competent I will be, when the mobile booths comes around, I am eligible to apply for a postal vote'. If that provision exists in the Bill I invite him to let me know as I am eager to know.