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Thursday, 24 July 1902

Mr POYNTON (South Australia) - I should like honorable members to thoroughly understand what they are asked to do. If the amendment be carried, any vagabond wishing to work injury to a candidate will be able to insert in the newspapers an advertisement damaging to his chances, and the candidate will not be able to trace its author. The proposal is the most silly one ever submitted in this Chamber.

This afternoon we have been endeavouring to protect the candidate by preventing the issue of scurrilous pamphlets in which his private character may be attacked, and yet it is now seriously proposed to allow any individual to insert in the public press advertisements which are calculated to prejudice his prospects of election.

Mr Tudor - Has not the candidate a remedy against the newspaper which publishes such advertisements?

Mr POYNTON - He has no remedy against a political squib. I need scarcely point out that not long ago an anonymous advertisement appeared in one of the Victorian newspapers, asking the electors to refrain from voting for a pro-Boer. Speaking from experience gained in South Australia, I affirm that this provision does not work disadvantageously to the candidate. On the contrary, it protects any man who wishes to contest an election upon honest lines. I trust that the committee will reject the amendment.

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