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Wednesday, 30 July 1902

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I am assured by the honorable and learned member that this clause follows the exact wording of a provision in one of the State Acts, and I do not think that much danger is to be apprehended from its acceptance. Moreover, I agree that some provision should be made to enable blind persons to exercisethe franchise.

New clause agreed to.

Mr. CROUCH(Corio). - I move-

That the following new clause be inserted to follow clause . 124: - "An elector's right issued to an elector not later than two days before polling- day shall authorize such elector to vote at the election at any polling place within the division.

Alist of the names of all persons voting on such elector's rights shall be kept by each deputy returning officer, and sent by him to the returning officer immediately after such election, and such list shall be open to the inspection of any candidate.

This is a proposal of some importance, and is intended to meet the condition of things for which voters'certificates in Victoria were previously issued. The Bill does not prescribe any particular time when the rolls shall be compiled. They may be prepared six months before an election takes place, or - as in the case pointed out by Senator Best - they may be compiled two years prior to an election. I hold that if a person takes up his residence in any district six months prior to an election, or if he has taken out an elector's right since the date of the holding of the last revision court, he should be entitled to vote.

Sir William Lyne - The question of electors' rights has nothing whatever to do with this Bill.

Mr CROUCH - Any man who has taken out an elector's right in the States is a voter, and under the Constitution that vote is preserved to him. That right constitutes the basis of his claim to have his name inserted upon the Commonwealth electoral roll at the revision court.

Sir William Lyne -No; he need not produce an elector's right at all.

Mr CROUCH - At any rate, I consider that this provision is necessary.

Mr. TUDOR(Yarra).- I admit that the language of this clause is slightly involved, owing to the use of the term " elector's right " for the first time in the Bill. All reference to voters' certificates having been entirely removed from the measure, the object of the honorable and learned member for Corio isto replace it by this clause. The Minister must acknowledge that there are a certain number of persons in the community who are continually upon the move, and it would be impossible for them upon the day of election to urge that they still had the right to vote for the particular residence which previously qualified them.

Sir William Lyne - I have already inserted an amendment to meet that case.

Mr TUDOR - In my own electorate between 800 and 1,000 voters' certificates were obtained within a fortnight of polling day.

Sir John Quick - Were they new votes?

Mr TUDOR - A number of them comprised transfers from other electorates. I am aware that it is generally supposed that the holders of these certificates will vote in favour of the most radical candidates. Indeed, one of my opponents wentso far as to affirm that themajority which I obtained was made up of such votes. Whilst I admit that I received a larger percentage of them than did other candidates, I did not obtain anything like the percentage with which I was credited. As the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, has pointed out, honorable members have to an extent been voting in the dark by passing a number of new clauses which we have never seen in print. I trust that we shall have an opportunity of studying the Bill in its amended form, so that we may understand exactly our position. If this clause be not carried, I trust that some provision will be made to meet the difficulty I have indicated, which arises particularly in connexion with metropolitan elections. I desire to give an opportunity to every electorto have his name placed upon the roll.

New clause negatived.

Mr. CROUCH(Corio).- I move-

That the following new clause be inserted to follow clause 174 : - " Every candidate may, after reasonable notice, use for one meeting without fee or charge, any school, hall, or meeting place belonging to anyState, municipality, or public body, or in connexion with which there is paid any Commonwealth, State, or municipal grant, subsidy or money. "

Sir Edward Braddon - We have no control over the State schools.

Mr CROUCH - Under the Constitution we have an absolute right to make use of any property, and we have complete jurisdiction over all persons, property, and corporations in the Commonwealth, and this is but a necessary incidental to the exercise of our electoral powers.

Mr Glynn - Why does not the honorable and learned member make the clause apply to the theatres after eight o'clock at night?

Mr CROUCH - Does the honorable and learned member say that my proposal is unconstitutional ?

Mr. Glynn.- Yes.

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