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Wednesday, 13 April 1904

Mr KENNEDY (Moira) - In the event of another general' election we might have practically seventy-five petitions, speculative or otherwise, lodged against the returns, and according to the decisions of the Court of Disputed Returns, which I do not think could be fairly questioned, in two cases the election has been voided, not through any 'fault or dereliction of duty on the part of the candidates, but through some informality on the part of the electoral officials, which has practically disfranchised electors. It was not a question as to what constituted a majority of votes. The elections were declared void simply because some electors were disfranchised. Consequently it is absolutely unfair that the whole of the expense should be borne by the candidates. If an inquiry were made some defect or informality would be found in connexion with the postal votes cast in every electoral division, and therefore, no matter how great the majorities secured by the successful candidates, all the elections would, according to the decision of the High Court, be declared null and void. I hope that, in view of the fact that the elections were to a very large extent experimental, so far as the administration of the electoral law was concerned, the Government will take into consideration the question of. defraying the cost incurred by the candidates in those cases where the elections have been voided.

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