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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I am much surprised to hear Senator Henderson expressing such views in face of the wording of the clause. It has nothing to do with transfer. As the Minister has correctly stated, it deals only with the removal of the names of those electors who have got upon other rolls. In other,, words, it deals with the case of those who have violated the law. The proper way of getting on. to a new roll is to apply for transfer. But the Minister recognises that a number of electors, instead of going the right way to work, will apply for fresh registration. It is admitted that this clause has been framed to meet cases of that kind. Senator Henderson argued that the clause was intended to . deal with an elector who had removed from one State to another. If that be so, how will the Western Australian Electoral Officer have proof that a late Western Australian elector who has gone to Tasmania has applied for fresh registration in that State? He cannot have it; and that is the reason why, by this clause, an easy means is being provided of breaking down the compulsory enrolment system. It ought to be- provided that, when a man has obtained his registration, he shall be entitled once, and once only, to original registration. Having got that, under no circumstances should he be allowed to apply for fresh registration. If he removes, let him apply for transfer. But here the Bill provides that he can apply for fresh registration. As surely as we make provision for such a breach' of- the law, so surely will such breaches be committed? Why should they not be? It may be much easier for a man to apply for fresh registration than for transfer. The compulsory enrolment system will break down. If honorable senators opposite believe in that system let them provide for it in such a way as will make for success, by letting every elector know that there is only one way to get on to a roll in the first instance, and only one way to secure the removal of his name to another roll if he changes his residence. Let every elector know that his application for new enrolment will not be successful if he really ought to apply for transfer. Electors will soon know what is the right thing to do. But if we provide that if they do the wrong thing the Electoral Office will set it right for them, compulsory enrolment will fail.

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