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Tuesday, 4 September 1906

Senator KEATING - The answer to the honorable senator's questions is as follows : -

The mattes, is still under consideration. The officers of the Department have reported that if any trial be decided upon it will be more prudent that it be at a by-election than at the forthcoming general election, when the electors and the staff will have, on the one day, to deal with voting for candidates for the Senate, the House o£ Representatives, and possibly alterations of - the Constitution and a State referendum.

Senator PEARCE - The answer to the first question is that the matter is still under consideration, and I desire to know whether the Government will come to a conclusion, so as to give the Senate definite information, before the close of the session?

Senator KEATING - The answer to my honorable friend's inquiry is that the difficulties presented by the forthcoming general election are such that, in the opinion of the officers of the Department, a test could not properly be made, but I can assure him that there is every desire on its part to adopt the latest and most uptodate method with regard to the recording of votes. The reply indicates that, in the opinion of the officers, who are experienced in these matters - necessarily much more experienced than the Minister - a by-election rather than a general election, such as is before us, would afford the best opportunity for making a test. Any information which the honorable senator may require with regard to the matter, I shall be pleased to supply to him either in answer to a question or on representations which he may make either to me or to the Minister of Home Affairs. I can assure him that the Department is fully alive to the necessity of making the method of recording votes thoroughly uptodate.

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