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Thursday, 2 November 1911


Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The Minister seems hardly to have appreciated the seriousness of the point raised by Senator McColl. We propose to introduce a system of compulsory enrolment. A system of compulsion means that the compulsion is upon the individual. In this instance, it means that the Government is going to compel the individual to enrol. But while in one breath the Minister says he proposes to send round the policemen to enrol electors, with the next breath he tells us that electors will have to look after their own enrolment.


Senator Findley - The policemen are compiling the present roll.


Senator MILLEN - Surely we- are going to start the new roll under the compulsory system? What is going to happen? The Government inform the electors that they are going to send round cards. In time, it will be found that some electors have not responded by filling up the cards. The Government will then, I presume, take action against them. The elector who is charged before a magistrate will give evidence, and declare he never received a card. Thereupon the Bench will naturally say that the fault lay with the Department. It seems to me that there is only one of two courses to follow. Either the officials should take the responsibility of enrolling electors, or they should get out of the road, and let the responsibility of enrolment rest upon the elector.


Senator Findley - The officials will get out of the road after the present roll has been compiled.


Senator MILLEN - What does the Minister mean by the present roll?


Senator Findley - The roll being prepared under the existing law. Afterwards, rolls will be compiled under the compulsory system.


Senator MILLEN - Then there will be no policemen to help to compile the subsequent rolls?


Senator Findley - No.


Senator MILLEN - The Minister then need not have introduced the policeman at all into this discussion.


Senator Findley - The policeman is assisting the electors in regard to the present roll.


Senator MILLEN - The Government are not assisting a large body of electors by leading them to believe that the officials are taking the responsibility off their shoulders. If we are to have compulsory enrolment, each individual elector must be made' to understand that he alone is responsible for his enrolment, and that he must not rely upon the officials, except so far as he may expect to get from them such assistance as will enable the compulsory enrolment system to be made comparatively easy in its working.







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