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Thursday, 13 September 1928

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) (AttorneyGeneral) . - The Government has given consideration to the representations made in the course of the debate on this bill this afternoon, and is prepared to accept in substance the suggestion made by the Leader of the Opposition and supported by various other honorable members. I have had prepared and circulated amendments which will give effect to it. I move -

That the proviso be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following: - " Provided further that a ballot-paper shall not be informal by reason only of the fact that the voter has indicated his vote by placing in one square the number 1 or a cross, and by leaving the other square blank, and in that case the cross shall be deemed to be equivalent to the figure 1."

The effect of this amendment, in conjunction with other new provisions which must be proposed formally as new clauses, is that the system to be introduced for voting on a constitutional referendum, in general, will be that if an elector approves of the proposed law he shall place the number "1 " in the square opposite the word v Yes ", and the number " 2 " in the square opposite the word " No and vice versa if he desires to vote to the contrary. The new clauses that I intend to submit will amend the schedule to carry into effect this method of voting.

Mr Seabrook - Is there any need to provide for the number " 2 " ?

Mr LATHAM - The direction on the ballot-paper will be to put the numbers " 1 " and " 2 " in the respective squares, but this new proviso sets out that if a voter places " 1 " in one square and leaves the other blank his vote will be valid. If a cross, is put in one square and the other is left blank, that vote also will be valid.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

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