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Wednesday, 2 May 1973
Page: 1560

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Swan (Mr Bennett) addressed a question to me on 12th April in which he requested me to institute an immediate investigation to see what could be done to install an electronic voting system in the House before the next session of Parliament. Electronic voting has been considered by my predecessors from time to time but its installation has not been felt necessary to meet the needs of the House. The matter was also closely examined by the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House which, in its report in March 1970, stated:

The Committee agreed that the installation of electronic voting was not desirable at present but agreed that the chambers (for the new House) should be provided with all necessary conduits and ducts for easy installation of electronic voting cabling at a later date. This system of voting was demonstrated to members of the Committee in New Delhi, where electronic voting has been in use for some years. Parliamentary officers there advised that the system was not warranted in a small House - that is, below about 250 members.

I am inclined to agree with these views. The number of occasions when there is overcrowding on the benches during a division is most infrequent. It is my opinion that the very substantial cost involved in installing some form of electronic voting system could hardly be justified by these rare occasions. However, I shall undertake to raise the matter for discussion when the Standing Orders Committee next meets.

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