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Tuesday, 31 October 1905

Senator STYLES (Victoria) - Would it not be better to let these voting machines be thoroughly tested at municipal or hospital elections time after time until one has been found which would answer the purpose sufficiently well ; whereupon the Government, acting upon the advice of their expert officers, could submit a proposal to use it at parliamentary elections? Suppose that, in the midst of an election for the Senate in New South Wales or Victoria, a voting machine were to go wrong, what an awkward condition of things it would create ! I do not know anything of voting machines; in fact I am rather prejudiced against machines since the recent exposure of the drawing for the prizes in the St. Vincent's Hospital Art Union. No one seems to know whether any voting machine is perfect or not. I do not see why we should legislate in anticipation of an event which may not occur for some years. I feel quite certain that the Parliament would not approve of the use of any voting machine until it had been thoroughly tested and proved a success. I have been told that in South Australia £,$00 or £600 was paid for the patent right in a totalisator which afterwards proved to be absolutely useless, and that large sums had to be paid away to people. Another machine for which ^150 was paid was, if possible, a greater failure than the original one. It will be time enough for us to legislate on this subject when a perfect voting machine has been made and approved of by experts.

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