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Tuesday, 29 July 1902

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) - It will be seen that this clause is absolutely necessary if we consider the offences referred to in clause 187.For instance, there is the offence of fraudulently putting a ballot or other paper into a ballot-box. A man may be detected in the act, but before he has completed it, and it is necessary to have a clause to enable us to deal with that offence. Again, a person may fraudulently take a ballot-paper out of a polling booth. A man may be detected going out of the booth with a paper, but if he has not gone outside he will not have committed the offence, and unless this clause is retained, he cannot be dealt with. In the same way it is an offence for a man to vote more than once at the same election, and if he makes an attempt to vote a second time at the same election, he will virtually have committed the offence, because it is his intention to do so, and there should be some means of dealing with him. In legal and moral offences the intention is the essence of the criminality, and there should be some means of dealing with men who attempt to commit these crimes.

Mr. HIGGINS(Northern Melbourne).I fancy that the reason why this clause is not found in the States Acts is that the framing of the sections of the States Acts is different, though theyhave the same effect in the result. If a candidate offers a drink to a voterwith a view toinducehim to befavorable, and the drink is not taken, the offer should still be treatedas an offence; and I suppose the idea in framing this clause was to provide that, even though the virtuous voter refuse the drink, the candidate shall still be considered guilty of an offence in attempting to bribe the voter. Though the wording of the clause may be new, I would ask the Minister to postpone it until we are dealing with clause 190, because I think he will find that it will fit in with the words of the preceding clauses as they stand. In clause 180, for instance, it is provided that, without limiting the general effect of the words in the preceding clause, bribery particularly includes the supply of meat, drink, or entertainment, and that should be punished, although the voter may refuse the bribe.

Sir William Lyne - What is the objection to retaining this clause, which really affects all the clauses dealing with offences ?

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