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Wednesday, 8 November 1911

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - The Minister might simplify the proposal with regard to the claim. If, on the claim form, the applicant for enrolment were required to state that he was not on any electoral roll, that would be a reminder to him, if he were already enrolled, that what he should apply for was transfer and not enrolment. The clause provides that an officer may strike out a name if he has proof that the owner has removed to another division, or is enrolled for another division. The Minister has not told us what the proof is to consist of, or how the officer is to obtain it.

Senator Findley - The honorable senator himself admitted that the card system would afford the proof.

Senator VARDON - If the Minister contends that the card system will afford the proof, that is an admission that this clause is unnecessary-

Senator Findley - It would not be the fault of the card system, but of the way in which an individual elector used it.

Senator VARDON - The card system might be used to check these applications for enrolment. If an elector makes an application for enrolment in his own handwriting, the departmental officer, on turning up his card, may be able to see that he had made a previous application, and that what he desired to do was to have his name transferred from one roll to another. The card would afford the proof in such a case, and the system would be complete. If this clause is necessary, the Minister and the Department admit that the card system will not be complete. Notwithstanding what Senator Millen has said, I still say that I believe in the card system; but it should be made perfect.

Senator Findley - Does the honorable senator know of any system that is absolutely perfect?

Senator VARDON - This Bill must be perfect, since the Minister will not permit us to dot an " i " or cross a " t " in it. How is the Electoral Officer to decide whether he should strike a name off a roll ?

Senator Pearce - He will have the two cards.

Senator VARDON - Then I say he does not require this clause. He can make the alteration automatically.

Senator Pearce - The possession of the card would not authorize the Electoral Officer to strike a name off the roll. He would have to go through the cumberous formalities of notifying the elector and giving him an opportunity to object.

Senator VARDON - If a man who is already enrolled sends in a card for enrol ment when he should apply for a transfer, the Electoral Officer, on comparing that card with the original claim for enrolment, will see at once that the second application should be for transfer. He can then give the elector notice that what he wants is a transfer, and not a new enrolment." The card system will work perfectly, or it willnot.

Senator Chataway - The card system is only an index system.

Senator VARDON - If properly worked, it should be much more. It should provide a record of each original enrolment, and all the transfers or alterations in connexion with it; and, if properly worked, this clause should be unnecessary.

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