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Tuesday, 14 October 1975
Page: 2085

Mr GARLAND (Curtin) -This Bill is one of 6 electoral Bills which are being debated by the House today. It forms part of those attempts to change the electoral law which were set out in the Electoral Law Amendment Bill. That Bill was twice debated in the Parliament, in November of last year and in April of this year. This BUI forms part of that package of proposals which the Government has put to the Parliament 3 times and which, in the view of the Opposition, are intended to improve the chances of the Labor Party in its fighting of elections. The Opposition has opposed four of those Bills as being partisan. The debates on those Bills have taken place.

This Bill contains provisions which the Opposition regards as being worthy of serious consideration. Those provisions include some proposals which are similar to provisions which were proposed by the Minister who was in charge of electoral laws in the previous LiberalCountry Party Government. Of course those provisions of the Bill are not contested. There are, however, a number of amendments which the Opposition will seek to make to the Bill. They are set out in the document entitled 'Proposed Amendments' which has been circulated in my name. The Opposition believes that many of these matters to which I will refer in a moment are important and that some of them need amendment and contesting. That attitude will be taken up in the debate in the Senate when this Bill is considered there.

However, in the second reading debate, I refer first of all to some of the comments made in his second reading speech by the Minister for Administrative Services (Mr Daly) who is in charge of this Bill. Speaking of mobile polling booths, the establishment of which this legislation proposes to authorise, the Minister said that they would be: ... a significant step forward in making it easier for the aged and infirm to register their votes while at the same time removing the need for canvassers and political parties organisers to invade hospitals, convalescent homes and institutions, as they do at present.

I observe in passing that there is something to be said for introducing mobile polling booths. There is also something to be said for the support of canvassers and political party organisers who, after all, are present at all other booths in an election. These people serve a purpose. I hope that the intention of that observation by the Minister was not to disparage the presence of these people. One cannot help wondering- and we will need to watch to see what the result of the operation of mobile polling booths will be- whether without any -

Debate interrupted.

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