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Wednesday, 30 July 1902

Mr GLYNN (South Australia) - It seems to me that the proposed new clause would give an opportunity to an impecunious candidate to make money. A candidate often offers himself for election threemonths before polling day, and if a man were hard up all that he would have to do would be to set up 20 or 30 others as candidates, each of whom would be entitled to a number of copies of the rolls. He would then be able to sell these rolls at 6d. or1s. each, and make a small fortune out of the business.

New clause negatived.

Mr. CROUCH(Corio).- I certainly feel that honorable members are under an obligation to me for bringing these clauses forward, although I am sorry that they have not been received with the appreciation they deserve. I move -

That the following new clause be inserted to follow clause 176 : - "No action, suit, or other proceeding whatsoever shall be brought or maintained whereby to charge any person upon any contract or agreement for the loan of money, or the doing of any work or service, or the supply of any goods for or towards, or concerning, or in carrying on or prosecuting any election of a senator or member under this Act."

This provision is taken from the Victorian Act, and I am informed that a similar one exists in the New South Wales Electoral Act. It prevents an}' wagering, or any excessive prices being paid for goods that have been sold to a candidate. In Victoria the provision has been used in cases where committees or individuals have ordered goods without the consent of a candidate. I know of several cases in which it has been raised as a successful defence, and I do not think it has been abused. Knowing that it has proved of value in Victoria, the Minister might well accept it.

Mr. GLYNN(South Australia).- I am not quite sure whether there is a provision in the Victorian Act in relation to electoral expenses.. A provision similar to that now proposed by the honorable and learned member existed in the South Australian Act, until we inserted a clause providing for election expenses up to a certain amount. Why should we not allow a tradesman or any one else to recover as long as the law enables a certain amount of expenditure to be incurred ? If the honorable and learned member intended to prevent the recovery of claims for election expenses beyond the £100 limit which we have fixed, the proposal would be fair one, but it could not be carried out. The old law was generally, I think, that no election expenses could be recovered, because it was the desire of the Legislatures to put down such expenditure. In this Bill, however, we allow election expenditure up to £100 by every candidate.

Sir J ohn Quick - Under the old law it was not illegal to spend money on electors.

Mr GLYNN - Before a limitation upon election expenses was inserted, a provision such as this was contained in several Acts, and I remember defending a case in which action was taken to recover an account ha respect of election expenses. But in placing a limit upon the expenses of candidates, we declare that up to that limit certain expenditure shall be lawful. What difference does it make whether the candidate obtains credit or settles in cash? The honorable and learned member says that in one case it is all right, and that in the other it is all wrong. We could not provide to prevent recovery of any claim beyond the £100 limit, because no tradesman would know whether or not a candidate had incurred expenses up to £100. I think that the clause should be rejected.

New clause negatived.

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