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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - The honorable member for New England has expressed a doubt as to whether any manufacturer would do that which has been alleged by the honorable member for Boothby. It appears to me that during the month of December it would be practically impossible for many manufacturers to do anything else, in view of the fact that at that time of the year there is invariably a great rush of work. That which occurred in the electorate of Boothby might occur in any other manufacturing constituency. The men would probably receive notice a few days before that they would have to work overtime for probably a week or more.

Mr Frazer - That is an argument in favour of making polling day earlier in the year.

Mr TUDOR - The date of polling is not determined by the Parliament, and the probability is that even if it were fixed earlier in the year, it would not materially alter the position. The system of voting provided for under this clause as well as that of voting by "Q" forms, and voting by post, open the door to a great deal of impersonation and fraud, and I think that we should hedge round these provisions with as many restrictions as possible. At the last general election, several who presented themselves at their polling booths found that they were alleged to have voted by means of the " Q " form at a polling place over a mile away. Every care should be taken to secure the identification of the elector claiming the right to vote under this system ; but in some cases, especially in the metropolitan areas, the percentage of electors who can be identified is very small. For instance, there are over 40,000 electors in my constituency, and I am certain that no one could identify 30 per cent, of them. I am confident that even the police in my electorate could not identify 12,000 out of the total number. I hope that if any amendment is agreed to it will have the effect of placing restrictions on the use of the absent voter's' certificate, and the voting under form Q, to provide for identification. At the last Melbourne election two or three electors presented themselves in the Gipps subdivision, and found that they had been personated by others who had voted in their places ; and, apparently, under the present arrangements, a person could make use of form Q to vote at practically every polling booth in a division. I am opposed to postal voting altogether.

Mr Page - What would the honorable member do in regard to the use of form Q in an electorate as large as Victoria?

Mr TUDOR - I think that an analysis of the voting at the last election would show that the percentage of those who used the postal vote and form Q_ was larger in the cities than in the 'Country constituencies. We cannot place too many restrictions on these means of voting, and I trust that the Minister will, if possible, frame regulations to prevent their abuse.

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