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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3159


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(6.01) —I just want to make one brief point in answer to Senator Sir John Carrick. If he is as concerned as he says he is about the inability of the clause to which I previously referred to cope with someone who has good and bad days, he ought to be equally concerned with the present postal vote rules as they apply under section 85 (1) (c) of the existing Act which would equally preclude any such person from now applying for a postal vote. The requirement is that a person be seriously ill or infirm and by reason of such illness or infirmity be precluded from attending at any polling booth to which he would otherwise be able to resort. One has to be able, under the rules as they now stand, if they are to be properly applied and not bent, to satisfy the returning officer in question that by virtue of that particular serious illness or infirmity one will not be able to make it to the poll. That is not an appropriate way of describing someone who has good and bad days under the existing rules. So it might be thought to be a debating point. It is a debating point of some significance when one understands the extent to which Senator Sir John Carrick builds his whole defensive edifice on the notion of the continued application of a facility now legally enjoyed by such people. It does not exist.