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Thursday, 2 November 1911

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - Of course, there is in this community a section that objects to any form of compulsion. Some strongly object to parliamentary institutions of any kind. There is, for instance, the Anarchistic section, who believe, with Emerson, that " the best government is the worst government." Some believe that no good will come to this earth, or to these sunny lands of Australia, until people refrain from exercising the vote on election day. There is another section, strongly Socialistic - I do not know whether they are as strong in other States as they are in Victoria - who very vigorously advocate their objection to the Liberal party, the Labour party, and to all parliamentary action. I must admit that I have a great admiration for some of them, because of their sincere and consistent advocacy of their principles. Such people, if they do not object to enrolment, would certainly object to the exercise of their votes. I do not know, however, of any religious sect that objects to enrolment.

Senator Gardiner - I know of one religious body that objects to voting.

Senator Millen - Senator Gardiner voiced the position of those who object on conscientious grounds.

Senator FINDLEY - The inference from the honorable senator's remark is that the Socialists and Anarchists are not actuated by conscientious motives.

Senator Millen - There may be objections quite apart from what we ordinarily mean by conscientious objections.

Senator FINDLEY - There is a sect known as the Plymouth Brethren, of whom I know a few - I have a great regard for them - who, I believe, have a strong objection to compulsory voting. But I do not think that it will be well for us to take these objections into consideration now, because if we open the door to those who have conscientious objections, we shall not be able to close it against others who fail to enroll. I cannot hold out any hope to Senator Gardiner that those of whom he spoke can be provided for under this Bill.

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