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Wednesday, 8 November 1911

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - If the roll is to be worked on the card system, and that system is worked out accurately, this amendment is quite unnecessary. It is provided in new section 61c that every person who is entitled to enroll shall enroll.

Senator Millen - That provides the system, but this provides for where the system breaks down.

Senator VARDON - The card system, if properly worked, cannot break down. Under new sub-section 61c a man's name, together with his address and his polling place, will be entered on a card; that will secure the appearance of his name on the roll. It also provides that every elector who has ceased to live in the subdivision for which he is enrolled shall fill in and sign, in accordance with the Act and regulations, a form of claim for transfer or change. Directly a man makes such a claim the original card will have to be taken, and the change inscribed thereon, so that there will be only one card dealing with his name.

Senator Findley - But in these circumstances it may happen that his name will appear twice on the roll.

Senator VARDON - That cannot happen if the card system is carried out accurately, notwithstanding Senator Millen's interjection that it will break down. When a change is made it will be inscribed on the original card, and nowhere else. Is not that right?

Senator Findley - Yes.

Senator VARDON - What more does the Minister want?

Senator Findley - Notwithstanding that, the man's name may appear twice on the roll.

Senator VARDON - How is it possible that a man can get two cards? Unless he does get two cards his name cannot be duplicated. I am not complaining of the card index system, which I think is a very good one, provided that it is not ridden to death.

Senator Sayers - Suppose that a man loses his card.

Senator VARDON - The card will not be in the possession of the man, but under the control of the Electoral Officer.

Senator Walker - Suppose that a fire should take place.

Senator VARDON - Then the whole thing will be destroyed, and the Department will have to begin afresh. But I do not wish to go into extreme cases. If the card system is carried out accurately, the Department will have a register of the persons who are entitled to vote, together with the polling places at which they are entitled to vote. The officer cannot have any proof except the card itself. What other proof can he get? Under the card system he will have all the evidence which is required. He will only have to turn up the name of a man to find out where he was originally enrolled, and the division to which he was transferred. I think that the proposed addition to section 62 is altogether useless.

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