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Thursday, 18 June 1903

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - If the statements appearing in the press are to be believed-

Sir William Lyne - Surely the honorable member does not believe the statements in the newspapers 1 The statement which appears in the Argus to-day is absolutely incorrect.

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - I do not know anything about the statement to which the honorable gentleman specially refers, but if there is any truth in the statements which have appeared in the press from time to time as to the large discrepancies which have occurred in Victoria and New South Wales - the Age places them at 150,000 - I think honorable members will admit that the matter is very serious. Even if the discrepancy amounts to only half the number stated, I think it was a mistake for the Minister to allow the maps showing the boundaries of the new electoral divisions to be issued.

Sir William Lyne - They are not issued to the public.

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - They have been issued to honorable members, and I took it for granted that they had also been issued to the public.

Mr McCay - They are being exhibited in all the post-offices.

Sir William Lyne - The Commissioners can do what they like with the maps, and they are compelled by law to issue them in the way they have done.

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - A statement has appeared in the press with regard to 1,000 missing electors, and I understand that these belong to me. They will belong to the honorable member for Gippsland, if the new boundaries recommended by the Commissioner are adopted ; but, until the new subdivision is confirmed, the}' belong to me. If the mistake to which I refer had not been made there would have been no necessity to alter the boundary of the Flinders division, and to bring it within a mile of the town of Brighton in order to include a number of suburban residents, and thus make up the number of electors required for the constituency. In this one instance, a serious mistake has occurred in my constituency, and no doubt the same could, be said regarding others ; and, if there is anything like such a large, discrepancy as reported in the press, a very searching inquiry should be made. It has been stated that the police have made a house-to-house visitation in the whole of the electorates in order to enrol electors ; but they did not como to my house, and I ' do not believe they have ever been near the place. One honorable member told me that a short time ago the police visited his house, when he was absent, to obtain information with regard to the roll. The policeman interviewed the housemaid and got information which satisfied him. We know what takes place on such occasions, and, as a matter of fact, in this case the information given was entirely wrong. If that was the general plan/adopted to obtain information for the compilation of the rolls, we can quite understand how the discrepancy occurred. I hope the Minister will have the maps withdrawn and new ones issued when the rolls ure complete.

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