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Wednesday, 24 September 1902

Mr POYNTON (South Australia) - The primary object of the clause, I take it, is to provide facilities for the exercise of the franchise by electors who may happen to be a considerable distance from the polling booth for which they are enrolled, upon polling day.

This provision, however, goes much further than that, and will permit of every elector in a city or suburban constituency voting in other electorates. To obviate the confusion which would result if any such practice became general, it would be wise to insert a proviso that the privilege in question shall be granted to no elector who, upon polling day, is within 3 miles of the polling booth for which he is registered.

Mr V L SOLOMON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Make it 10 miles. An elector can travel that distance if he desires to vote.

Mr POYNTON - I do not wish to render it difficult for a man to exercise the franchise. I was simply thinking of the effect which this clause would have upon city and suburban constituencies. Under the existing system the returning officers, who know the number on the roll, can form an idea as to how many electors will vote, and accommodation is provided accordingly. But, under the proposal now before us, hundreds of electors might present themselves at a particular booth, ,and, as their coming could not be anticipated, difficulties might arise, and it is conceivable that a new election might be necessary.

Mr Page - Where is that likely to happen ?

Mr POYNTON - In any large centre of population.

Mr Page - There has been a similar law in Queensland for years, and such a contingency has never arisen.

Mr Watson - And in New South Wales, with a similar law, there has never been any trouble.

Mr POYNTON - I was not aware of that ; but, in any case, would it not be wise to fix the limit at 3 miles 1

Mr Watson - A man may be working 2-^ miles from his proper polling place, and not be able to get a holiday.

Mr POYNTON - But the polling places are kept open until seven o'clock at night, so that greater provision is now made for electors than formerly. I should like to see a proviso such as I have indicated inserted in the Bill.

Sir- WilliamLyne. - In the Bill, as originally introduced, a limit of 5 miles was provided, but that was struck out.

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