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Tuesday, 22 July 1902

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I claim that all reasonable facilities for voting will be provided, if, in addition to the names which already appear in the clause, we include "police officers." That would give us ample scope for the selection' of the necessary officers to carry out the provisions of this measure. I take it that any of these officers might be selected, no matter how many there might be in a particular locality. I. protest against the Minister having power on the eve of an election to appoint any person he chooses to undertake this necessary work. Where we have ample officers at the disposal of theGovernment, I do not see the necessity for going further. I shall, therefore, vote against the amendment.

Mr. REID(East Sydney. >- It seems to me that we are getting into a curious muddle in connexion with this clause. The policy of the Government as defined in it is that it is wise, in connexion with voting by post, to specify the classes of persons who shall receive the 'ballot slips. We have had a long discussion in favour of enlarging those classes, the result of which has been to leave the clause as it stood, but to give an additional power to the Minister to appoint any person he chooses, irrespective of his class or occupation. That is a very circuitous way of legislating. Either it is a good thing - as was at first suggested - that we should specify the classes of persons who shall undertake this work, or it is -bad. If' it be good, why should we. insert a provision which robs the clause of all virtue ? Why not leave the matter entirely in the hands of' the Government of the day 1 If we specify the persons to whom this work shall be intrusted, and the Government subsequently appoint someone else, they practically reflect upon the postmaster, or head of the State school, by saying - "Although you are the person Named in the Act, we cannot trust you, and intend to appoint another individual." It is a most invidious- thing, to say by legislation that a certain man has to do a certain thing and afterwards to leave it in the power of the Government to ignore him and appoint someone else.

Mr A McLEAN (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - That provision was inserted in the Victorian Act to meet the case of outlying districts, where none of these officials were stationed.

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