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Tuesday, 31 October 1905

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) - I think there is a misunderstanding in regard to section 139 of the Act. Many ways of voting are provided for. No one can say that we have not endeavoured to extend to every elector the fullest possible facilities to vote, but a limit must be made at some time. If the amendment were carried, then, in the case of a Senate election, it would necessitate the provision of additional rolls for the whole State, at a hundred, perhaps a thousand, different polling places.

Senator Millen - No. I only propose to allow a man to vote within his division as he does to-day by regulation.

Senator CLEMONS - Unless a man votes by postal vote, or by some method which is provided in the schedule to the Act, in his division, he cannot vote in the ordinary way unless there is a roll for the whole State available.

Senator Millen - It is not wanted.

Senator CLEMONS - How can he be identified ?

Senator Millen - By the roll for the division in which he is voting.

Senator CLEMONS - I should like to enable every elector to record his vote at the same polling place in each case, but the cost of providing the rolls presents a serious difficulty.

Senator Millen - No additional rolls would be required.

Senator CLEMONS - If the honorable senator can persuade me that no additional rolls will be required, it may alter my view, but at the present time I am of opinion that his amendment would add enormously to the expense of conducting the elections.

Senator MILLEN(New South Wales). - I understand that Senator de Largie desires that my amendment shall be temporarily withdrawn in order to permit him to move a prior amendment. But, before acceding to his request, I desire to make a few remarks. Senator Clemons has stated that my amendment would necessitate electoral rolls for the whole State being kept at every polling 'booth. It would not necessitate a single additional roll being kept anywhere, nor would "it limit the facilities for voting which are already enjoyed. Senator Keating has admitted that the practice I seek to provide for by law is provided for by regulation. So that it is- quite evident that my proposal could not increase the work of the officers or the number of electoral rolls required. What I propose to do is to enable a voter who wishes to vote at an election for either House to vote either at his own polling-place or in his' subdivision. W'hen a man wishes to vote in the division, but outside his polling place, he has to use form Q. It is quite obvious that, in order to meet a case of that kind, every polling place ini a division must have a roll for that division. I wish to enable a man, when he votes at an election for the other House by form Q, to vote at the same time at an election for the Senate.

Senator Keating - I have no objection to putting that in the Bill..

Senator MILLEN - I am very glad to hear that statement. The alteration would in no sense disturb the power given to the Minister to proclaim polling places outside divisions, and it would apply equally to both Houses.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Senator DELARGIE (Western Australia). - The amendment I wish to move goes much further than Senator Millen desires to. go. I propose to enable an elector to vote ini anv part of the State at an election for the Senate.

Senator Clemons - It would be necessary to have electoral rolls for the State at every polling place.

Senator DE LARGIE - If we are to give the fullest possible opportunity to elector's to record their votes, an amendment of the kind I suggest is absolutely necessary. Elections in Western Australia are usually held in the summer time, when numbers of people from the gold-fields visit the coast, and a voter from, say Kalgoorlie, would not be able to record his vote in Perth. Senator Millen's amendment, therefore, falls far short of what I desire.

Senator Clemons - Such a voter could arm himself with a postal vote.

Senator DE LARGIE - But the application for a postal vote necessitates written application, and that involvesgreat difficulty and bother to many miners. I desire to move that section 139 of the principal Act be amended by omitting the word " only," in sub-section 2. I propose to follow that up by another amendment, repealing sub-section 3 of section 139, and providing that an elector for the Senate may vote-

At any other polling-place within the Statein which the election is held, if he makes and 'signs before the presiding officer a declaration in form R in the schedule.

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