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Friday, 3 November 1911

Senator VARDON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -The Opposition have been charged with imagining extreme cases. But extreme cases have to be provided for in Acts of Parliament.If you build a bridge, you have to provide for the heaviest load which it is likely to have to sustain. Similarly an Act of Parliament must be comprehensive enough to cover every instance that is likely to occur. This Bill must be made as perfect and equitable as possible.It is quite true that under some Commonwealth Acts the onus of proof is upon the defendant. A man who violates the Customs law is placed in that position. But such a man violates the law for the sake of personal gain. He is willing to take the risk. But what is an elector going to gain by failing to comply with the compulsory enrolment law or by breaking one of the regulations ? He merely injures himself, and does not prevent any one else from exercising the franchise.

Senator Findley - He contravenes an Act of Parliament.

Senator VARDON - The Government ask persons to prove what in some cases may be exceedingly difficult of proof. A man's name may not appear on an electoral roll after a change of residence. The Electoral Officer may proceed against him. Suppose the man says, "I filled in a notice of change of residence,put it in an envelope, and posted it to the Electoral Officer." If the Electoral Officer declares that he did not receive the notice, how is the accused going to prove that he duly sent it? Yet that man is to be branded as a law-breaker. I trust that the proposed new section will not be embodied in the Commonwealth Electoral Act.

Motion (by Senator Rae) negatived - .

That the question be now put. '

Senator Millen - The Committee having just negatived a motion for the putting of the question by an overwhelming ma jority, can the question be put by the Chairman immediately after that decision?

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