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Friday, 15 December 1905

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) - I need scarcely remind honorable members that under the Electoral Acts of some of the States a candidate is at liberty to withdraw his nomination up till a week after nomination day, and is entitled to have his deposit refunded. But under the Commonwealth Act when once a candidate has been nominated, he cannot withdraw from a contest. There is, however, nothing to prevent a bogus candidate from addressing meetings and canvassing an electorate right up till the last moment prior to the nomination. It seems to me that the proposal of the honorable member for North Sydney, if adopted, will not alter the present situation. I cannot see that very much good or very much harm will result from- its adoption.

Mr. MAHON(Coolgardie).- The weakness of this clause is that a candidate who makes his deposit, and subsequently wishes to withdraw from a contest, has no inducement to do so, and consequently he puts the country to considerable expense. I think that we ought to offer a candidate some inducement 'to withdraw under such circumstances, but at the same time we should mulct him in a fine for his temerity in nominating when he knew that he had no chance of being elected. I would, therefore, suggest that after the word " and," line 15, the words "two-thirds of" be insorted

Mr.' HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).It seems to me there is very little inducement for a candidate to retire at the last moment if he is obliged to forfeit his deposit. On the contrary, there is every reason for him to go to the poll, and thus to involve his opponent and the country in considerable expense. I am inclined to support the suggestion of the honorable member for Coolgardie.

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