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Tuesday, 22 July 1902

Mr BROWN (Canobolas) - In this clause the word "officer" is used and under clause 3 that term is interpreted to cover the chief electoral officer, as well as the presiding officer and poll clerks. These presiding officers and poll clerks are generally appointed only a day or two before the election takes place. Does the Minister contemplate that their positions shall be permanent ?

Sir William Lyne - They are not permanent, and there is an Act in existence which gives- the Government power to remove them in the same way that they , are appointed'.

Mr Watson - I take it that the Minister does- not wish to include poll clerks as officers before whom these votes can be registered ?


Mr BROWN - But according to the interpretation clause, poll clerks and presiding officers are included, and unless these officers are to be permanently appointed, I do not see how the clause can work. This provision is intended to apply to thinly populated districts, and it very often happens that the returning officer from whom the elector would have to get his authority, resides 200 or 300 miles away. The Minister might consider the suggestion of the right honorable member for East Sydney, that the persons charged with this function should be specially appointed ; otherwise the persons named in the clause would by virtue of their position have the right to perform the duties. If there should happen to be a repetition of what took place in South Australia, the Minister would, if the appointments were specially made, have power to deal with officers so offending. At the same time, if the Minister decides on retaining the clause in its present form, I see no objection to the proposed addition. In outlying districts where there is small settlement, there is sometimes no police officer, postmaster, or schoolmaster.

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