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Wednesday, 10 September 1913

The PRESIDENT - Order !

Senator McCOLL - I was subjected to language to which I had no right to be subjected. I was not then inclined to withdraw anything I had said ; but if the matter had been put in a reasonable way I might have done so. I said much more; but these are the only statements which were challenged here.

Senator Russell - I rise to order. Senator McColl has complained that the language to which he was subjected on a previous occasion, when I brought this matter before the Senate, was unfit to be used. I wish to know, sir, whether it is correct for the honorable senator to reflect upon the language I used when I made the charges against him.

Senator McCOLL - I did not mention the honorable senator's name at all.

The PRESIDENT - This is not a point of order, because Senator McColl did not say anything disrespectful of the language used by the honorable senator, nor did he mention the name of an honorable senator.

Senator Russell - Oh, yes, he did.

The PRESIDENT - I understood Senator McColl to say that the language used on that occasion was fairly warm, but that cannot be regarded as disorderly.

Senator Russell - My point of order, sir, is that Senator McColl said-that, on a previous occasion, he was subjected to language that was scandalous.

The PRESIDENT - I did not hear him say that.

Senator Russell - I assure you, sir, that he did say so. I certainly think it is objectionable to be accused ofusing such language.

The PRESIDENT - If Senator McColl applied that term to language uttered by an honorable senator, he was out of order.

Senator McCOLL - I did not use that term, sir, but I said that I was subjected to language to which I ought not to have been subjected. During the last election there was much discussion, and feeling was exhibited which had never been seen before. It was said that there had been a good deal of unfair dealing. Certainly, circumstances seemed to warrant the statement I made. I know that there was a crowd at the polling booths ; that persons thrust cards in the faces of electors going to the polling booths, and endeavoured, iu many cases, to persuade them to vote in a certain direction. These proceedings created considerable comment. There were other reasons for the existence of a feeling of suspicion. We had a circular issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, under instructions from the Minister, in which he said -

Advice has been obtained that an elector does not lose his right to vote because some one personating him has voted in his name, and therefore an elector who, not having already voted at the election or referendum, claims to vote, and answers satisfactorily the questions put to him by the presiding officer, is entitled to vote, notwithstanding that some one else has voted in his name, and his name has been marked off on the list of voters.

Presiding officers will act upon this advising should occasion arise, but it is not necessary or desirable that it be promulgated for public information.

Why was that circular issued ?

Senator McGregor - That is issued at every election.

Senator McCOLL - Such a circular was never issued at a previous election. If duplicate voting was not anticipated, why was the circular issued? That gave rise to a good deal of talk and suspicion. Then we had another circular issued from the Minister of Home Affairs which reads as follows: -

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