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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - Part VII. of the principal Act, to which the Minister has called attention, provides that a name may be objected to, and if the objection is upheld, may be removed from a roll. That provides for some one outside the Electoral Office taking action. But the clause with which we are dealing has no connexion with Part VII. of the principal Act.

Senator Findley - No one said that the clause had direct connexion with Part VII.

Senator VARDON - Then why the reply made by the Minister to Senator Millen?

Senator Findley - Because Senator Millen was dealing with hypothetical cases.

Senator VARDON - Senator Millen gave a concrete case,- and the Minister declared that the point raised was provided for in Part VII. of the principal Act. I say that it is not provided for at all, because under Part VII. the Electoral Officer does not take action until he receives a written objection to some one being on the roll. This clause does not provide for such a case. It provides that the Electoral Officer is to have proof of two things - first, that a person has ceased to be qualified for enrolment on a particular roll, and second, that he has secured enrolment on another roll. I asked the Minister the other day to tell us how this provision was going to work. We have not yet been informed. We ought to be told. If the new card system is to be worked efficiently, there is no need for this clause, because the Commonwealth Electoral Officer ought to have immediate proof if his cards are kept up to date.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator must recollect that the card system as proposed to be adopted has never yet been explained to .the Committee.

Senator VARDON - I quite admit that. But under the card index system as generally used, there ought to come into the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, every day notices of transfer and enrolments, and he ought to have a staff sufficient to keep the roll up to date. He ought to be able at once to put his hand on a card, and give information concerning any elector. But this clause contemplates that the system is going to break down. Under this model system it ought to be impossible for an elector to get his name on to a new roll without its being omitted from another one.

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