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Tuesday, 3 June 1902

Mr McDONALD (Kennedy) - While I have no very strong objection to the adoption of the report, I do not think it wise to allow the motion to go without a word or two. The action of the committee is one of the strongest arguments we could have for removing such questions from the sphere of this Chamber as soon as possible, and having them settled by a Supreme Court Judge.

Sir William Lyne - That is the proposal in the Electoral Bill.

Mr McDONALD - I am glad that the Government have seen fit to insert a provision of the kind in the Electoral Bill. I think there has been considerable hardship imposed on Mr. Hartnoll, the elected member, seeing that he was returned by such a large majority : and, privately, I have expressed the opinion that it was a very illadvised act on the part of Mr. Whitelaw to lodge a petition. But I understand that the committee find that, while Mr. Hartnoll did not comply with the Tasmanian law, it is not necessary on that score to upset the election. Where is this sort of thing to end? In my opinion, the step taken by the committee must be regarded as very grave and serious, and I desire to enter my protest against their action. There may not be a big issue at stake in the present instance, but if the precedent be followed, it may lead to very serious results in cases which arise before the Electoral Bill becomes law. For these reasons, I feel called upon to enter my protest against the finding of the committee.

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