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Thursday, 11 September 1913

Senator FINDLEY (VICTORIA) - Last night the Vice-President of the Executive Council, while speaking on the Address-in-Reply, said -

I am not going to make a statement which I cannot prove. I have here a return which gives the facts. There was a duplication of votes to the number of 5,760. That bears out the statement which I made that many people voted twice.

I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether he is in possession of information which has not been furnished to the Senate, and which will confirm the statement he has made. Also, I wish to know whether he has read the report of the Chief Electoral Officer which has been laid upon the table of the Senate, and which every honorable senator has had an opportunity of perusing; and, if so, does he not know that that officer says -

A review of the Ballarat lists discloses that many names which have been marked twice are followed on the rolls by identical or similar names which have not been marked. There is reasonable ground, in cases of this kind, for assuming that there have been errors in marking.

Is he not aware- that the Chief Electoral Officer further says -

In some divisions the whole of the apparent duplication could probably be cleared up without disclosing any fraud.

Can the Vice-President of the Executive Council substantiate the statement which he made on a former occasion, andwhich he repeated yesterday, that there were 5,760 cases of duplication at the recent elections, and that he could prove that a number of persons voted twice. If he can supply that proof to the Senate, I shall be obliged to him; if not, I hope he will withdraw the statement.

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