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Monday, 11 December 1905

Mr FRAZER (Kalgoorlie) - I sincerely hope that the proposal of the honorable member for Darwin will not be approved by the Committee. Indeed, his proposal would not achieve his object. If we omitted the clause under consideration, we should s,imply leave the Act as it stands. With the idea of abolishing voting by post I have not the slightest sympathy. If the idea originally emanated from the Labour Party, I take credit for its authors for their foresightedness. The next best thing to giving every adult person a right to be on the roll is to give those who are or* an opportunity of expressing their opinions on election day. If in this community a number of people are so unfortunate as not to be located in a great city, or at a convenient point for recording a vote at the ballot-box, it is only reasonable that, special facilities should be provided for them. People in the back-blocks who do not enjoy the conveniences afforded to those living in the centres of population deserve special consideration from Parliament. The honorable member for Hindmarsh represents a constituency which embraces a port, and as it is very likely that a number of seamen on the roll for that constituency may be out of the district on the day of an election. I am surprised that the honorable member should be willing to accept the provision made for a complete elimination of this proposal. In my own constituency, it is quite possible that in the interval between the holding of the Revision Courts and the day of election a rush might break out which would have the effect of removing hundreds of men to a distance from a polling booth. If the. proposal submitted by the honorable member for Darwin were agreed to, those men would be disfranchised, whilst if the provision for postal voting were retained, they would be able to express their political opinions. I arn opposed to no precaution which may be considered necessary to secure that the opinion of an elector shall be expressed once only, and without undue influence. Where postal voting provisions are surrounded with safeguards to prevent the intention of the Legislature being defeated, they form one of the best systems for the convenience of electors that has yet been devised. It may be urged that some political parties can secure the services of justices of the peace, or the support of a teacher of a State school, but I frankly say that up to the present time I <- have seen no instances of corruption of that kind in my constituency. If other honorable members have had experience which they think justifies them in making certain alterations in the law, I hope they will be such as will safeguard the intentions of the Legislature, and will not inflict hardship upon those who may not happen to be within reach of a polling booth on the day of an election.

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