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Thursday, 16 November 1911

Senator RAE (New South Wales) - - I have not moved any amendment to the clause, but I believe in expressing my meaning in as few words as possible, and I can see at once that the suggestion of Senator Symon, if adopted, would exactly meet my view of the matter. But from what Senator Long and others have said, it seems that we are very anxious that no person shall be deprived of enrolment merely as the result of an accident. I do not share the horror which was expressed by the last speaker at the possible inflation of a Toll. I would like to see our rolls as perfect as possible, but I would rather have my name upon two rolls than upon none at all.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - That would be a convenient way of introducing plural voting.

Senator RAE - I do not mean to suggest that I would make use of both votes.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator has no doubt heard of a system under which he could make use of one vote himself, while somebody else could make use of the second vote for him.

Senator RAE - I have. But I do not experience any thrill of horror at the prospect of some person getting a vote to which he is not entitled. I would rather see a few names duplicated than know that an equal number had been omitted from our rolls. I think that the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out an evident contradiction in this clause, but he appears to lay too much stress upon it. The duplication of names may be the result of accident. I have heard a good deal about the card system, but 'I do not know what it means any more than does the man in Mars.

Senator Millen - Does not the honorable senator think it should be explained to us?

Senator RAE - Perhaps 1 should have less difficulty in voting for it if I did not understand it. I can see a tremendous amount of trouble ahead in connexion with electors obtaining transfers.

Senator Guthrie - The card systemhas been in operation on foreign ships for years, and it has proved thoroughly workable.

Senator RAE - But I am speaking of compulsory enrolment. Only the otherday I was debating the matter with a manin Sydney who expressed the warmest admiration for it; but when I told him that under it an elector would have to notify every transfer of his residence, he admitted that it would be absolutely impracticable. I do hope that we shall not have a party squabble over any verbal amendment that may be proposed. It seems to me that the clause is merely intended to meet the cases of electors who have lost enrolment on one roll by securing it on another roll.

Senator Findley - It provides for that.

Senator RAE - The clause says something which is capable of half-a-dozen different interpretations. Now there are methods of expression which nobody can misunderstand. I confess I have beenguilty of adopting those methods on more than one occasion.

Senator Long - An elector may be disqualified from voting for reasons other than that his name appears on another roll.

Senator RAE - But I specially asked the honorable member whether this clause was intended to deal with general cases, or whether it was designed only to give the Commonwealth Electoral Officer of a State power to strike the name of any person off one roll when he had proof that it. appeared on another.

Senator Guthrie - I know of a case 111 which a John Smith died, and in which the Returning Officer, as a result, struck off the roll the names of three John. Smiths.

Senator RAE - The interjection of Senator Guthrie is utterly irrelevant to my argument. If the Commonwealth Electoral' Officer of a State is to be permitted tostrike off the roll the names of persons for: reasons other than I have mentioned-

Senator Long - Are not those reasonsset out under the disqualifications which are enumerated in the principal Act?

Senator RAE - This clause merely permits the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for a State to strike off the roll the nameof any person when he is not only convinced that it ought not to appear uponthat roll, but also that it appears' upon another roll. Two conditions are necessary before he can act.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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