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Tuesday, 12 December 1905

Mr LONSDALE (New. England) - I have no personal objection to the publishing of election accounts. I have a strong suspicion "that my opponent at the last election spent much more than £100 on his expenses. If he did, it was so much the greater honour for me to defeat him. But why should these details be published?

Mr King O'Malley - The actual amount expended is not shown in the candidate's accounts.

Mr LONSDALE - It should be shown there. It sometimes happens, . however, that those who are elected to Parliament are not able at the time of their return to pay all the accounts submitted to them. I know of some candidates who have had to give a promissory note for the amount of their election expenses, and I ask honorable members whether such a fact should be made known throughout the Commonwealth ? The whole question is too small to justify honorable members in expending time over its discussion.

Mr. CONROY(Werriwa).- It is within my knowledge that one honorable member's election cost him under £2. Why should that fact be made known to his disadvantage?

Mr Maloney - All the more honour to him.

Mr CONROY - The matter is capable of being viewed from another aspect. In some cases, candidates are not required to bear the whole of the cost of contesting an election. If it were shown that a candidate's expenses amounted to only £2 or £3, he might be required on the next occasion to spend a great deal more. Then, again, let us consider the case of a candidate who has a great deal of travelling to do. At the first election I spent £52 10s. upon the hire of vehicles alone, but such an amount would not be included among the particulars of my expenditure. A candidate in a city constituency might not be called upon to spend more than £1 upon travelling expenses, and the total cost of his election might not represent more than £90. My election account might show only £90, whereas my actual expenditure, including travelling expenses, would amount to a great deal more. Therefore, the particulars proposed to be published would not indicate the actual amount expended by a candidate. If a candidate is to be required to furnish particulars of his expenses all items should be included. The matter seems to me to be trivial in the extreme, and I am astonished that honorable members should advocate the adoption of a course which can have no other effect than to mislead the public. In reply to the honorable member for Melbourne, I would point out that I lost some of the receipts connected with my election accounts, and not the whole of them, as the honorable member appeared to assume.

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