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Thursday, 20 October 1904


Mr WATSON - I should like to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether he can afford the House any information as to the time which will be necessary to make the electoral rolls anything like complete? I understand that the work was commenced some time ago. I know that the honorable member for Boothby, while he was Minister of Home Affairs, set it going. That was several months ago. If the Department is not ready to bring matters to an issue by having the rolls revised, it seems to me that that fact is a serious reflection upon it.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I can only say that there has been no slackness whatever in dealing with the matter since I have been in the position lately occupied by the honorable member for Boothby.. But although before the honorable member left office initial steps were being taken, the collection had not been arranged for in some of the States, owing to difficulties which had arisen in those States. My attention has been given to- the matter, and every effort has been made to complete the collection preparatory to the revision of the rolls, with the object of creating new and correct ones. The time that will be occupied, after the collection has been made, in producing the revised rolls will be, roughlyspeaking, about three months. After the collection is complete,Revision Courts have to be held, after legal notice, throughout each State. Then the rolls have to be revised for printing purposes. Then the printing has to take place. Those processes cannot occupy less than three months. They may even occupy four months.


Sir John Forrest - Can the Minister tell us anything about the state of the rolls in Western Australia ? If he has any information I should be glad to hear it.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I think that honorable members ought to give notice of such a catechism as has been launched upon me; but I can tell the right honorable member for Swan that one of the States in which the collection had not been arranged for was Western Australia.


Sir John Forrest - Why was that?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - The difficulty with that State has only recently been overcome, and the work is proceeding.


Mr BATCHELOR - I desire to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether he is aware that when the right honorable member for Swan retired from the office of Minister of Home Affairs, there were no rolls, either old or new, available for Western Australia, and that, as a matter of fact, no election could have been held.


Sir John Forrest - That is absurd.


Mr BATCHELOR - It is true.


Sir John Forrest - It is not true.







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