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Thursday, 2 November 1911

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - Senator Gardiner has spoken twice now to his amendment, but he has not mentioned a single religious sect the members of which hold that putting one's name on a parliamentary roll is a wrong thing to do.

Senator Millen - If there is no such sect, the amendment will be useless.

Senator DE LARGIE - That is so. The amendment is nonsense.

Senator Gardiner - I cannot speak for any other religious body, but time after time the Plymouth Brethren have told me they object to taking any active part in election matters.

Senator DE LARGIE - An election is one thing, and enrolment is another.

Senator Findley - Why should the Plymouth Brethren be the only sect mentioned if there are several others?

Senator DE LARGIE - Seeing that no one can have a conscientious objection to his name being placed on a parliamentary roll, there is no necessity for the amendment.

Senator Millen - It does not follow that your conscience is the same as other people's.

Senator DE LARGIE - Let Senator Millen point out a religious sect that has an objection to enrolment.

Senator Rae - It might be an irreligious sect. It would -be entitled to the same consideration.

Senator DE LARGIE - Then let Senator Rae point out an irreligious sect which objects to enrolment. The mover of the amendment, and honorable senators who have supported it, have failed to show any necessity for it.

Senator Rae - No one so blind as those who will not see.

Senator DE LARGIE - In this case, there is nothing to see. We have not got the lively imagination of Senator Rae, and cannot see something that does not exist. I hope the Minister will not allow any nosenical amendments to go into the Bill.

Senator Lynch - This is an amendment favoring the Anarchists.

Senator DE LARGIE - The only prominent Anarchist I know of in this neighbourhood is one whose name usually figures in the press when he has called for the. protection of the police. Evidently he wants some system of government more often than most people. The case of the Quakers has been referred to. The opinions of the Quakers are well known. The objection which they hold to political matters has nothing to do with enrolment. I am quite sure this Parliament, and every other Australian Parliament, has always respected the religious scruples of people when passing legislation ; but it has not been shown that there is any religious sectin Australia - and we have members of almost every religious sect in our midst - the members of which hold that it is a wrong thing to enroll their names on a parliamentary roll. There are reasons for enrolment other than the use of the roll merely for election purposes. It is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to provide certain statistics ; and how are you going to provide those statistics unless you have a roll of this kind?

Senator Rae - You will have a list of the objectors, and you can add them to those on the roll. If you have nothing more difficult to put than that, you should sit down.

Senator DE LARGIE - Than what?

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