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Thursday, 19 May 1904

Mr CAMERON (Wilmot) - As I understand there is a desire to curtail this debate in order that a decision upon the motion may be come to before the House rises for the tea adjournment, I do not propose to occupy much time. I wish, however, to move an amendment to the first paragraph- of the motion. It appears to me that it is not wise to appoint a Select Committee merely to inquire into the administration of the Electoral Act, without enabling the Committee at the same time to point out what defects, if any, are to be found in the law._ The right honorable member for Swan, in the I course of his speech, said that the police were instructed to put the names of men on the electoral roll. Speaking for Tasmania, I am in a position to say that they were instructed to put the names of female electors on the rolls; but they were not instructed, and, except in one or two instances, they did not put the names of male electors on the rolls in that State There is a certain establishment, not far from Hobart, known as the Invalide Dep6t, where there are some 300 men. These men were never placed on an electoral roll for the State Parliament, but they were put on the Federal roll, and so far as I know, the names of no other men were put on the Federal rolls by the police. Men on the State rolls were not transferred to the Federal rolls in a number of cases. I wish to move -

That after the word " House," line 7, the following words be added : " With power to suggest amendments in the existing Electoral Act."

I move this amendment with the consent of the honorable member for Canobolas, and I understand that the Government have no objection to it. It will widen the scope of investigation by the Select CommitteeIt seems to me that, whilst members of the Committee 'will have time to investigate the administration of" the Electoral Act, they will also have time to investigate the defects of the Act itself, and they will bc able to report to the House, for the benefit of honorable members who have not time to devote to the subject, what amendments should be made. I think that, unless these words are added, it will be of little use to appoint the proposed Committee.

Mr SPEAKER - I point out to the honorable member for Wilmot that there is an amendment already before the Chair, with a view to striking out certain names in the second paragraph of the motion. It is, therefore, impossible for me at this stage to accept any amendment relating to an earlier portion of the motion. Perhaps the honorable member who moved the previous amendment will temporarily withdraw it?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I withdraw it with pleasure.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment (by Mr. Cameron) proposed -

That after the word " House," line 7, the foi- lowing words be added - " With power to suggest amendments in the existing Electoral Act."

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