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Friday, 20 October 1905

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) - It seems tome that Senator Guthrie is unnecessarily alarmed about this provision. I have endeavoured to ascertain what improvements would be effected in the clause if his amendment were agreed to, but I cannot see that there would be any considerable improvement. The concern of the elector who has transferred from one State to another is, that his name shall be upon the roll in the State in which he wishes to vote. He is not concerned that his name shall not appear upon the South Australian roll, if that is the State which he has left, but that his name shall appear upon the Western Australian roll if that is the State to which he has removed. Under this provision, that elector's name would appear on the Western Australia sup plemental roll. Senator Guthrie says that we should also provide for the name being struck off in South Australia. To the elector that is of no consequence whatever. The only point that can be urged is that the amendment would prevent impersonation. But against that we have the safeguard that before the transfer could be effected the elector must have written to the returning officer. The returning officer would therefore be in possession of information that the person had left the State, and undoubtedly he would arm the returning officer of the polling booth with that information. Indeed, he is directed to do so. So that when the impersonator came along he would at once incriminate himself. The only convenience that would arise if Senator Guthrie's amendment were carried would be. that those who wished to use the rolls would have the means of determining what voters had left the district. But would it not be possible to obtain that information without putting the Commonwealth to the expense of printing it in a supplemental roll? I think thereturning officer could, and would supply that information to interested people. The question of expense has to be taken into consideration, and I can quite believe that it would be very costly to have supplemental rolls, not only showing the additions, but also the alterations which had been made since the printing of the main rolls. For these reasons, I am unable to support the amendment. I think the provision as it stands is perfectly satisfactory. Amendment negatived.

Amendments (by Senator Millen) agreed to-

That after the word "be" the words "prepared and wherever practicable " be inserted ; and that after the word " printed " the words " immediately previous to a general election and " be inserted.

Amendment (by Senator Millen) agreed to-

That after the word " such," the word " other " be inserted.

Proposed substituted clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 16, Proposed substituted clause 35-

(i)   The last printed copies of each Division Roll shall be open for public inspection at the chief polling place for the Division without fee, and shall be obtainable thereat and at such postoffices in the Division, as the Divisional Returning Officer appoints, on payment of the price prescribed.

(2)   Every Roll kept by an Electoral Registrar shall be open to public inspection without fee at such times and places as are prescribed.

Senator PEARCE(Western Australia). - Does this clause mean that the roll for a division may be inspected only at the chief polling place in the division, or does sub-clause 2 mean that there shall be rolls in other parts of the division ? The clause appears to me to indicate that the roll may be inspected only at the chief polling place.

Senator KEATING(Tasmania - Honorary Minister). - The clause does not necessarily mean that the roll may be inspected only at the chief polling place. It is much more liberal than the section it ireplaces. There must be at the chief polling place the whole of the division roll open for inspection without fee, and there may be at some other divisional polling place - though it is impossible to prescribe so in every case - copies of the whole roll for the division. At each polling place there will certainly be some portion of the roll, including, of course, that portion which immediately concerns the locality. It is provided further that rolls shall be obtainable at such post-offices in the division as the divisional returning officer mav appoint. The original section provides that the rolls shall be obtainable at the principal post-offices in the division, but as some doubts have been cast on the construction of the word " principal," it has been deemed desirable to substitute the clause now under discussion. The -returning officer for the division must hold and be responsible for the complete roll from which copies are printed, and the electoral registrars and officers at each polling place will have the polling place roll. It does not necessarily follow that copies of the roll will not be open to inspection anywhere, but there must be one roll for the division held in the custody of the divisional returning officer.

Proposed substituted clause agreed to. Proposed substituted clause 36 agreed to. Clause 16, as amended, agreed to. Clause 17 agreed to. Clause 18 -

Section fifty-six of the Principal Act is repealed, and the following section is substituted in lieu thereof : - " 56. Claims may be in the Form B in the Schedule, and shall be signed by the claimant and witnessed by an elector, and shall be sent to the Electoral Registrar keeping the Polling Place or Sub-division Roll on which the elector claims to be enrolled."

Senator MILLEN(New South Wales). - When dealing with clause 16 we inserted a new paragraph, providing that there shall be a division roll to meet cases where there may be no subdivision or polling place roll, and it appears to me necessary to make a similar amendment in this substituted clause. I move -

That after the word " sub-division," the words "or division" be inserted.

Amendment agreed to. Clause also consequentially amended and agreed to. Clause 19 -

Section fifty-seven of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the words " the Returning Officer or Registrar," and inserting in lieu thereof the words " and the Electoral Registrar is satisfied that 'he claimant is entitled to be enrolled, he."

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