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Thursday, 26 October 1905

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) - I think that, instead of curing any evil, this provision will create evils that do not now exist. I have had experience of one or two elections, but I have never been brought face to face with any tangible reason for such a restriction as this. I am also afraid that it will create trouble. Here is one difficulty that will arise : Some of our public schools are used as polling booths. The schools are enclosed within fenced grounds. Sometimes the fence is more than twenty-five yards from the building. Does this provision mean that canvassers will have to remain twenty-five yards from the. building in, which the poll is being taken, or twentyfive yards from the fence?

Senator Best - From the polling booth not from the fence.

Senator Croft - Then the touts will prevent people from going into the gates.

Senator HENDERSON - I am afraid it will form the ground work for friction between the authorities and the citizens. No doubt if we could provide for canvassers being kept away from people's houses on polling day and for voters going straight home after exercising the franchise we should have a precaution against every inconvenience. But as there is no possibility of doing that we had better not do what is here proposed. Motor cars play an important part in elections nowadays. This might prevent Senator Walker from going up to the polling-booth in his car. It would be better to eliminate the provision.

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