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Wednesday, 8 November 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The Minister has admitted that my interpretation of this clause is correct, that it is inserted to cover up a weakness of the card system as the Electoral Office proposes to administer it. When, after compulsory enrolment has been instituted, a second application for enrolment is sent in, it is necessary to check it with the names already on the roll to insure perfect accuracy. If such a check were resorted to it is quite clear that no man could get on the roll twice. But clearly underlying this clause is the fear that, as there will be, perhaps. 2,000,000 cards to handle, it will be too great an undertaking for the Department to carry out an efficient check. If a man on the eve of an election applies for enrolment, his application is to be treated as an original application, because to tie up his application until an inquiry could be made at head-quarters, and an enormous number of cards could be examined, might mean such delay as to prevent that elector from having his enrolment effected in time. The Electoral Office realizes that difficulty, and it therefore says, " In spite of the card system, although anelector may be enrolled in fifty electorates, if he puts in another application for enrolment we are going to accept it and enroll him,'' notwithstanding that by making the fresh application the elector may be disregarding the provision of the law that under such circumstances he shall apply f or . transfer, and not for en rolment. That shows that the card system will not be such an easy and simple thing to. work as those who support it imagine.

Senator Chataway - I think we ought to have a quorum present.

Senator Pearce - Why do honorable senators opposite send their supporters outside ?

Senator MILLEN - We are not bound to keep a House.

Senator Pearce - Is that why they were sent out? [Quorum formed.]

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