21 August 1902

1st Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 15225


Senator GLASSEY presented a petition from the Brisbane Chamber of Manufactures praying the Senate to impose upon Government importations the same customs duties as are imposed upon goods imported by citizens of the Commonwealth.

Petition received.

page 15225


Senator DRAKE laid upon the table by command -

Report on the pearl-shelling industry in North-, west Australia.

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Senator PEARCE:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon, notice -

  1. Has his attention been drawn to the fact that Sir Alexander Peacock is reported in the Age, 20th August, 1902, to have said, when speaking 15226 Finances of Victoria. [SENATE.] Chairman of Committees. on the question of the anticipated deficit in the State of Victoria - “The fact that the Federal Parliament had reduced the duty on several items had landed them in a very difficult position so far as the State finances were concerned ? “
  2. Referring to this statement, will the VicePresident say whether the Customs revenue for Victoria under the Federal Tariff has been. greater or less than it was for the previous year under the State Tariff, giving the amount of difference?
  3. Is the statement of the same date that since the transfer of departments to federal control officers in the federal departments in Victoria had received increments amounting to over £ 100,000 correct?
  4. If so, in what departments have these increments been paid ?
  5. Did not the State Parliament of Victoria, prior to federation, pass an Act which would have the effect of levolling up the salaries of Victorian officials in transferred departments to the highest salary paid to similar officials in other States ?
  6. Has the Federal Government given effect to that measure on the basis of Mr. Cerutty’s report? 7.’ What is the total amount of “ new expendiditure “ debited to Victoria for the year ended June, 1902?
Senator DRAKE:
Postmaster-General · QUEENSLAND · Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. Revenue Customs and Excise for/1900 was £2,342,485 ; for 1900-1, £2,564,501 ; for 1901-2, 2,376,483 ; but in 1900-1 about £200,000 was collected in anticipation of the Tariff, the greater portion of which would, in ordinary course, have been collected in 1901-2. 3 and 4. Increments paid from date of transfer to 30th June, 1902, were - Customs, £740; Post and Telegraph, £4,555; Defence, £2,109- total, 7,404 ; all of which were given under Victorian Acts.
  3. Yes. The State’s Parliament, a few days prior to federation, passed an Act, section 1 9 of which provides -

That every officer of the Trade and Customs, Defence, Post and Telegraph departments, shall be entitled to receive a salary equal to the highest salary then payable to an officer of corresponding position in any Australian colony, provided that the section does not entitle any officer to receive more than £156 per annum.

  1. No.
  2. £82,686, . including £8,756 arrears, and £12,000 for expenditure for naval and military demonstrations, Governor-General Coronation celebrations, &c, but excluding £25,000 expenses for public works, contribution to British New Guinea, &c. (not due to federation.)

page 15226




asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. . Is he aware that in many cases the postal regulations published in the Gazette last June, and laid on the table of the Senate, do notcorrespond with the postal regulations forwarded to the Deputy Postmaster-General, and which have, in the case of some States, been printed as official?
  2. Under which regulations should a Deputy Postmaster-General act where the divergence is a material one ?
  3. What steps does he propose to take to provide an inland parcels post in Western Australia - the same as that provided in the other States of the Commonwealth ?
Senator DRAKE:

– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -

  1. The Postmaster-General is aware that there are necessary differences between the postal regulations published in the Gazette referred to and those sent to the Deputy Postmaster-General far insertion in the Post and Telegraph Guides, but they are not conflicting. The former were for feneral purposes, but the latter were conditioned b y the existing circumstances in some of the States, as, for instance, in the case of the inland parcels post which is not in operation in Western Australia.
  2. The regulations published for public information in the Post and Telegraph Guide.
  3. Inquiries have been made with a view to provide an inland parcels post in Western Australia the same as that provided in the other States of the Commonwealth, but as no provision has been made in the existing contracts for the carriage of inland parcels, and the prices asked by the contractors are in some instances prohibitive, and as the railway authorities in Western Australia demand the ordinary railway parcel rates for carrying post parcels, no definite arrangementhas been made at present. Negotiations are proceeding.

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Senator STEWART:
for Senator Higgs

asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

In accepting tenders for the conveyance of mails in Queensland, does the Postmaster-General propose to distribute the contracts so that one firm of tenderers shall not have a monopoly ?

Senator DRAKE:

– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -

Instructions were given to all Deputy PostmastersGeneral in February last that combined tenders were not to be entertained, except in cases where the efficient carrying out of the longer service, tenders for which are invited in sections, would be promoted by accepting a combined tender for the whole of the sections constituting the through service, and, in such instances, the sections to be bracketed, and the advertisement to state that either separate or combined tenders would be accepted.

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Resolved (on motion by Senator Drake)-

That during the temporary absence of Senator Best through ill-health, Senator Dobson do actas Chairman of Committees.

Electoral [21 Aug., 1902.] Bill. 15227

page 15227


Resolved (on motion by Senator Clemons) -

That six weeks’ leave of absence be granted to Senator Harney on account of urgent private business.

Resolved (on motion by Senator Dkake) -

That ten days’ leave of absence be granted to Senator Best on account of ill health.

page 15227


In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ amendments).

Motion (by Senator Dkake) proposed -

That amendments 1, 2, and 3, be postponed.

SenatorMajor GOULD (New South Wales.) - May I suggest that the PostmasterGeneral should let us understand what the Government propose to do with regard to the amendments made in this Bill by the House of Representatives ? This is a very convenient time to have a general statement made. A number of the amendments are very important.

Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales

– Before the Postmaster-General makes the statement which has been suggested, I should like to draw the attention of the committee to the very unsatisfactoryway in which Bills returned from the House of Representatives are presented to us. I have not received a copy of the Bill with the amendments printed in it. Copies have been handed to us just now, but this is a very late stage at which to be favoured with this information, and it has not been the practice of the Senate hitherto to have Bills presented in this form. It is the most convenient form in which we can be asked to consider amendments.

Senator DRAKE:
PostmasterGeneral · Queensland · Protectionist

– I do not know whether I should be in order in speaking upon the amendments generally. What I had proposed to do was to postpone amendments 1 to3 - that is to say, all the amendments made in the preliminary part of the Bill. It will depend on what is done by the committee afterwards whether it will be necessary to agree to those amendments or otherwise. The postponement of the first three amendments would save time. I have no objection to making a short statement if it will not lead to a long debate upon the amendments generally. Strictly speaking, however, I think it would not be in order to do so, and that we should address ourselves only to the particular amendment before the committee.

Senator Clemons:

– I think the committee would be satisfied with a statement by the Postmaster-General on the subject.

Senator DRAKE:

– I have gone carefully through the amendments, and while I find that a few of them deal with important principles, the vast majority relate to small matters of detail. I do not think it would be any advantage to deal, at this stage, with amendments which will have to be fully discussed subsequently.

Senator Major GOULD:
New South Wales

– The Postmaster-General has given a very excellent reason why we should have a general statement from him in regard to the amendments made by another place. He has told us that some of them deal with important questions of principle. There can be no question that a number of them are of very great importance, and it would assist the work of the committee if the PostmasterGeneral would indicate the course of action which the Government propose to take and their reasons for doing so. No lengthy debate is necessary at this stage on the unimportant amendments, but there are a number of important ones.For example, in regard to the way in which petitions against the return of honorable members are to be dealt with, the line of action proposed by the House of Representatives is entirely dissimilar from that taken by us. There is another most important proposal in regard to the electoral provisions.

Senator Stewart:

– I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the Bill generally is before the committee?

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Senator Dobson). - The honorable and learned senator is out of order. He should confine himself to the question before the Chair.

Senator Major GOULD:

– I was not arguing the matter. Another amendment relates to the election of members of the Senate.

The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I cannot allow this general debate to continue unless it be the wish of the committee.

Senator Major GOULD:

– I must bow to your ruling Mr. Chairman, but I protest against the way in which these amendments are being placed before us. Honorable senators may think that the course proposed by the Postmaster-General will save time, 15228 Electoral [SENATE.] Bill. but they will probably find that it will not.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Clause 7 (Divisional returning officers).

Senator DRAKE:

– I move -

That the committee agree to the amendment inserting the words “or for” after the word “ within.”’

Honorable senators will see that this amendment might almost be described as a verbal one. It simply provides that a divisional officer shall be charged with the duty of giving effect to the Act within “or for “ his division.

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).The statement by the Postmaster-General that the amendment is merely of a verbal character is no doubt re-assuring; but the effect of the amendment will be to enable a returning officer to act outside the district for which he is appointed..

Senator Drake:

– For his division.

Senator MILLEN:

– I think that is an amendment of very considerable importance, and I should like to hear from the PostmasterGeneral the reason why it is necessary to allow a divisional officer to take any action outside his division. Probably some reason for it has been developed in the course of the experience of electoral officers.

Senator DRAKE:

– The divisional officer’s duties will still be restricted to duties connected with his division. If these words were not inserted the clause might be taken to mean that the officer himself must always be within his division.

Motion agreed to.

Clause 8 (Assistant returning officers).

Motion (by Senator Drake) agreed to -

That the committee agree to the amendment inserting the words “or for” after the word “within.”

Senator DRAKE:

– I move -

That the committee agree to the amendment, adding the words, “but no assistant returning officer shall be appointed in or for any portion of a division in which less than 100 electors are enrolled.”

If this amendment were not made, assistant returning officers might be appointed for places where there are merely a handful of electors. That would involve expense, and be altogether unnecessary. We think it is sufficient to have an assistant returning officer at places where there are at least 100 electors.

Senator CLEMONS:

– I do not think the amendment can be regarded as unimportant. It would be interesting to learn from the Postmaster-General how 90 electors - or any number less than 100 - living at any place for which it is proposed that no assistant returning officer shall be appointed are to record their votes. In many divisions there are places in which there are less than 100 electors, and if assistant returning officers are not to be appointed for these places, the electors will either have to vote by post or travel some considerable distance in order to reach a polling place. I do not wish to see a district with, perhaps, 90 electors disfranchised.

Senator DRAKE:

– It is not intended that there shall be any diminution in the number of polling places. At each polling place there will be a presiding officer, whose duty it will be to collect the ballot-papers, and send them to the returning officer.

Senator Clemons:

– He will be practically an assistant returning officer without the title.

Senator DRAKE:

– Instead of having to sort the papers, and make up the returns, he will simply send them along to the returning officer, who will count them. It is to obviate the necessity for appointing a number of assistant returning officers for places in which there are only a mere handful of voters that this amendment is proposed.

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).The Postmaster-General’s explanation makes it apparent that the amendment has merely been introduced by those who are not prepared to trust the administrators of the measure in a simple act of this kind. The Bill leaves those charged with its administration free to appoint such officers as may be deemed necessary, but the House of Representatives practically says by this amendment : “ While we are prepared to allow the administrators to have that power, we are not prepared to trust them to say where an assistant returning officer shall or shall not be appointed.” The amendment may be harmless, but it is a very serious reflection upon those who will have to administer the Act. I shall not take action to strike out the amendment, but I should prefer to see the Bill passed without it, because I am prepared to believe that those who will have to administer the law, will have sufficient common sense and integrity to enable them to appoint only those who may be necessary.

*Electoral* [21 Aug, 1902.] *Bill.* 15229 {: #debate-7-s4 .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY:
Queensland -- At first I was rather inclined to oppose this amendment, but upon consideration I think it is really an improvement upon the old State law. I refer particularly to the law in Queensland which provides for a returning officer for every electoral district, whose duty it is to look after the rolls during the year, and at election time to appoint presiding officers to take a poll at various localities. A presiding officer is appointed by the returning officer to take the poll at each polling place proclaimed. He makes a count of the votes polled at his polling place, and sends a return by wire, or some other means, to the returning officer for the electorate. A number of us contended for some years in that State that, under that system, the secrecy of the ballot was practically destroyed, and that there should be no count made except that by the returning officer. It should be remembered that many polling places are appointed at stations, and the manager of the station is often the presiding officer. There may be only from half-a-dozen to ten voters at the place, each of whom would be known to the presiding officer, and, if he takes the trouble, there is no doubt that he will be able to discover how each elector has voted. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator Ewing: -- -How can he find that out? {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- In various ways. In some places there are only halfadozenvoters, and it is pretty well known what their opinions are and how they vote. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator Ewing: -- In their case it would ke known whatever system was adopted. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- No, it would not. I do not believe in any sectional count, or in any count of votes but that by the returning officer. I think the Bill should be amended in such a way as to provide that the whole of the ballot-boxes shall be returned to the central polling place, and the count of the election carried out there by the returning officer and his officials. It has been contended in Queensland that such a system as that would lead to a great deal of delay ; but I do not think that the delay involved would be any greater than that which takes place under the present system. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- Does not the first count act as a check upon the general count ? {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- No. In my experience of elections, greater mistakes have been made in the sectional counts than have been made in the general counts. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator Ewing: -- Suppose a ballot-box had to be carried from East Kimberley to Coolgardie? In the case of many polling places it would take two or three months to deliver the ballot-box. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- Not at all. They have not longer distances to deal with in Western Australia than we have in Queensland. To secure the secrecy of the ballot, and protect the voter, if it can be done - and I think it can under this Bill - we should have but one count of votes. {: #debate-7-s5 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- The objection to the course suggested by **Senator Glassey** is the great delay which would take place in ascertaining the result of anelection. In order to prevent that delay, we provided in this clause for the appointment of a certain number of assistant returning officers, who would be able to make separate counts in the different districts. This amendment is proposed in order to prevent the appointment of assistant returning officers having the bad results which **Senator Glassey** has foreseen. On that account a limit is prescribed, and it is proposed that an assistant returning officer shall not be appointed for any place in which there are less than 100 electors. {: #debate-7-s6 .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS:
Tasmania -- I am still of the opinion that the amendment made by the House of Representatives is not a desirable one.If honorable senators will read the clause as we passed it they will see, as **Senator Millen** has already pointed out, that every provision is made for the appointment of assistant returning officers, and this amendment introduces only an arbitrary limitation. No honorable senator can say that it is desirable that an assistant returning officer should not be appointed at a place at which there are 90 electors, and that one should be appointed at a place where there are 101 electors. We left it to the returning officers to make such appointments of assistant returning officers as they' deemed necessary. It might for many reasons be extremely desirable that an assistant returning officer should be appointed for a place where there are only 90 voters, and it might not be so desirable that one should be appointed at a place where there are 120 voters. The mere number of voters at a particular polling place is no criterion of the advisability of appointing an assistant returning officer. I think we ought to disagree to the amendment. The limitation proposed is bad, as all arbitrary limitations are, and I do not see that it can serve any useful purpose. {: #debate-7-s7 .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING:
Western Australia -- I object to the limitation proposed by this amendment, because I see a practical difficulty in the way of it. Under this amendment, there would probably not be *a* single assistant returning officer appointed in the whole of the north-west of Western Australia, because the population is limited, and is scattered over an enormous area, and there would scarcely be one locality in which 100 electors could be got together. The consequence of that would be that there would be no separate count of votes in the whole of that district, and the ballot-boxes for all the polling places would have to be carried down to Coolgardie. I know that in the case of the last Senate' elections, we had to wait for nearly six weeks to get the returns from East Kimberley. If the whole of the ballotboxes from polling places in the north-west of Western Australia had to be carried to Coolgardie, the expense to the Commonwealth would be enormous, because there will a large number of polling places scattered over a vast area, and the boxes would have to be carried by camels and other means, involving very considerable delay. Under these circircumstances, an election in Western Australia would require to be held two or three months before the date upon which the return of the candidate was desired. I submit that this is a matter which should be left to the discretion of the chief returning officer. If we except Geraldton, Peaks Hill, Kew, and one or two mining centres north of Perth, in Western Australia- o {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- How many electors are there? . {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- I dare say that in the districts to which I refer there would be from 5,000 to 10,000 electors scattered over an enormous area, equal to about one-third of Australia. Is there to be no assistant returning officer for the whole of that area, and are people to be obliged to come in with ballot-boxes from every polling place proclaimed within it? I may tell honorable senators that ballot-boxes have disappeared in Western Australian elections from these back-blocks places, and have never been found to this day. That is a difficulty which would be infinitely exaggerated by the adoption of an amendment of this kind. The ballot-boxes would be sealed up, there would be no record of the votes they contain, they would be carriedabout the country under disadvantageous circumstances for weeks and weeks, and if one happened to be lost the whole election might be invalidated. All these are reasons why we should place this discretion in the hands of the chief returning officer, who will be a person competent to exercise ifc wisely. {: #debate-7-s8 .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD:
South Australia -- The most perfect system undoubtedly is that under which only one count is made, and that by the chief returning officer for a division. We have adopted that system in South Australia. We have experienced the difficulty which **Senator Ewing** has referred to as existing in Western Australia. We have in one division, for in- stance, from Fowler's Bay to Port Lincoln, the centre of the district, a long stretch of 400 or 500 miles, over, which a ballot-box has to be taken before the result of the election can be made known ; but we have, so far, thought it better to put up with the inconvenience than to make any alteration. Now, in this clause, we proposed to meet that inconvenience by allowing a special count by an assisting returning officer in the outside parts of a district, from which it would take a considerable length of time to get a ballot-box brought iri to the- chief returning officer ; but the House of Representatives has introduced a provision which is the height of absurdity. They have proposed that an assistant returning officer shall not be appointed at any place at ' which there are less than 100 voters ; but the very places in ' which we require a separate count to be made are those where there are the fewest voters. It would be far better to adhere to the clause as we passed it, and to leave it to the returning officer to appoint a deputy wherever he thinks such an appointment absolutely necessary. {: #debate-7-s9 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Tasmania -- This is an amendment which the House of Representatives might well have abstained from making. There is a great deal in the argument of **Senator Playford** that, provision should be made in a direction contrary to that proposed by the amendment. **Senator Glassey** suggests that it is desirable that there should be only *Electoral* [21 Aug., 1902.] *Bill.* 15231 one count for an election, and that that should be made by the principal returning officer for a district, as has been the practice in South Australia. I do not think that is necessarily an advantageous practice. I will say that the evils we are led to believe would flow from the clause as it left this Chamber are not evils which honorable senators from Tasmania will be likely to anticipate. We cannot, therefore, be said to be speaking in a State-interested fashion. The various centres in Tasmania, which is more densely populated for its size than any of the other States, are in closer communication with the remoter parts of the electorates than is the case in any of the other States. It seems to me that with a system under which the votes recorded at every polling place are counted, and a return transmitted by telegraph, or the quickest means available, to the chief returning officer of the district, and subsequently the papers are sent in and counted in the general count of the division, we have one great advantage which **Senator Glassey** seems to have overlooked, and that is that the two counts serve as a check, each upon the other. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator Glassey: -- Our experience in Queensland is quite the contrary. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- Which count has proved the satisfactory one ? {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator Glassey: -- The main count; great mistakes have often occurred in the other count. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- **Senator Glassey** admits then that the main count has proved a check on the original count, and the amendment' of the House of Representatives will increase the possibility of tampering with ballot-papers and ascertaining the particular political bias of individual voters. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- How ? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- If responsible persons associated with elections are prepared to tamper with papers in order to ascertain the political views of electors, the amendment gives them greater opportunities than will be presented if they are simply to send on the boxes sealed, or supposed to be sealed, to the chief returning officer. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- Are the boxes not sealed ? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- Of course the boxes are sealed, but the chance of tampering with the ballot-papers is increased if the boxes may be kept until the first available opportunity for sending them on to the returning officer. On the other hand, if there be power to open the boxes and count the votes, sending the result on by wire, and the papers are subsequently forwarded, there are two counts, each of which is a check upon the other. Under such circumstances the opportunity for violating the secrecy of the ballot is at any rate not intensified. The practice in South Australia has been to send the boxes to the principal centre, and there count the votes, but **Senator Ewing** has pointed out that in Western Australia many parts of an electorate may be far distant from the chief centre. It is not merely the matter of distance which has to be considered, but also the means of communication. **Senator Playford** has said that the system which has given most general satisfaction is that of one main count, and one count only. No doubt that is a system eminently applicable to a small country with a large number of very populous centres and good means of communication ; but in Australia we have a large territory. It is only in later years thatWestern Australia has been developed, and that State is now being further developed day by day, and many of the polling places are far distant from the chief centres, where the divisional returning officer is located. A clause of this character is not wanted in the case of a small State like Tasmania, where the centres are in close touch, and the evils spoken of by **Senator Glassey** will not be so evident as in a larger country. But we have to take into consideration the desirableness of as early as possible giving the result of the voting, always bearing in mind the possibility that those intrusted with responsible functions may tamper with the ballot-papers or otherwise misconduct themselves. In my opinion the amendment will only intensify the possibility of those evils. As **Senator Playford** says, it is the small, remote centres which should be considered, and the arrangements of the polling places may very wisely be left to those charged with the administration of the Act. Under the Tasmanian Electoral Act there is power for the Governor in Council to appoint, almost up to the last moment, polling places within an electorate, if movements of population demand such a' step. That discretion has been exercised in the past with due regard to the requirements of the peoplegenerally, and surely the appointment of assistant returning officers where they are required may be similarly carried out. I do not think that the number of electors in any particular locality should be the only consideration. Regard should also be had to the means of communication with the main centre, and tothe physical features and boundaries of the division itself. More particularly should attention be paid to the means of communication by road, rail, telegraph, or otherwise; and I earnestly hope that the Senate will insist on the principle that those charged with the administration of the Act shall be given discretion to fix polling places at which returning officers may be appointed. To allow such discretion is better than to fix any arbitrary rule which depends on the number of electors. {: #debate-7-s10 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- I intend to support the amendment of the House of Representatives. I have listened with very great interest to the speeches delivered by Senators Playford and Keating, but it appears to me that they altogether failed to apprehend the reasons of the House of Representatives for making the amendment. **Senator Keating,** especially, argued all round the subject, but never once touched the kernel. We are all, I suppose, exceedingly anxious that every elector in the Commonwealth shall have the fullest opportunity of recording his vote, and that as many polling places as possible shall be fixed. But something more is wanted than the mere opportunity of recording a vote. There must be opportunity to vote without intimidation or fear on the part of the elector that he may lose his billet. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER:
VICTORIA · PROT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- There is nothing of that now. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- **Senator Fraser** knows as well as I do that there is far too much of that kind of intimidation, and, in this connexion; the class to which **Senator Fraser** belongs are the biggest sinners. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator Fraser: -- Moonshine ! {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- I wish **Senator Fraser** would listen while I give him a little straight talk. If the squatters of Australia had not the blood of tyrants in their veins there would be no necessity for placing a provision of this character in the Bill. It is disgraceful that we should be compelled in this way to defend unfortunate men who are compelled to earn their living in the employment of the squatters. We know perfectly well what happened in Queensland at the last election. If there be a dozen men on a station the political opinions of every one are known, and the word goes round before the election day - " If you do not vote for the Government candidate you will not be required on this station after the polling." {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Does that, take place only in divisions where there are less than 100 voters? {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- It can only happen where there are very few electors, and **Senator Fraser** knows that in Queensland, at any rate, a large number of stations are appointed polling places. At stations where, perhaps, a dozen voters are employed, eight votes are, I will assume, recorded for the Government candidate and four for the Opposition candidate, and the station manager knows perfectly well who the four are. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- But under this proposal the votes will not be counted at the station. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- The votes will be counted at the station unless the amendment of the House of Representatives is inserted. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Each station will not be made a division. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- Each station will be a polling place, and without the amendment the votes will be counted there, and then sent on to the chief returning officer. I do not think I am wrong in my reading of the Bill. Clause 164 provides that each assistant returning officer shall in the presence of such scrutineers as choose to be present, open the ballot-boxes received from the polling places. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- And there will be several polling places within each division. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- The idea of certain honorable senators is that the votes should be counted where they are given. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator Playford: -- No ; the votes for all the polling places in the division go to one centre. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- They have to be sent to the nearest assistant returning officer or returning officer. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- It is contended that, owing to the great distances, it is desirable to appoint assistant returning officers in outlying places, so as to prevent delay in ascertaining the result of an election. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- It is the delay that makes it desirable to appoint the assistant returning officers. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- **Senator Keating** contended that the appointment of the assistant returning officers, or rather the formation of divisions in outlying places, would lead to a great deal of unnecessary delay and expense. We have found that in the outlying portions of Queensland a deal of intimidation is resorted to, because the managers of stations know, or think they know, how each individual elector votes. If there are twelve men on a station, and eight vote for the Government candidate, and four vote for the Opposition candidate, the four are often quite well known. But if there are eight ballot-boxes coming in with twelve votes in each, and the ballotpapers in these boxes are dumped down together, I defy any one to say which votes were recorded at any particular polling booth. We want to do away with intimidation, and to promote the purity of elections ; and I am satisfied that the proposed addition to the clause will help to purify our electoral system. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The proposed amendment simply means this : At a number of places where there are only a few electors the ballot-box will be sent by the presiding officer to the nearest assistant returning officer, or to the principal returning officer. I think there are few districts in Australia where there would not be at least 100 electors enrolled. At every place where there- are 100 electors there may be, under this amendment, an assistant returning officer, and the votes at the other small places will be sent to a centre where there is an assistant returning officer. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- There are scores of polling places where there are only 25 voters. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- It may be so, and it is very undesirable that in those places there should be an assistant returning officer, and a separate count. What is proposed is that the practice of appointing an assistant returning officer for every little place where there are half-a-dozen electors shall be discontinued. In some places this practice' has been adopted to such an extent that an assistant returning officer has often been appointed where there has been only a score of voters. The disadvantage to the elector is considered to be that in a small place where every voter is known, and where, very likely, his predilections are known, an assistant returning officer will have an opportunity of guessing how a particular man has voted. At all events, there is a feeling in the minds of some electors that in certain cases there are means by which the way a vote has been recorded can be known. That is one objection to the undue multiplication of assistant returning officers. **Senator STEWART** (Queensland).- The speech of the Postmaster-General has made it clearer to me that it is absolutely necessary if we desire to promote the purity of elections, and to free electors from, the fear of intimidation, that this amendment should be agreed to. If the matter is left to the discretion of the divisional returning officer, he will be troubled about getting the election result known at the earliest possible moment, and will appoint an assistant returning officer at every little outlying polling booth. That is the very thing we want to guard against. Iri some places each man's political opinions are known, and very often if he votes against the candidate whom the " boss " supports he finds himself out of a billet. I know we cannot do away with that absolutely, but we want to minimize it as much as possible, and by supporting the amendment we shall minimize it to some- extent. I agree with **Senator Keating** that a provision of this character is not necessary where the population is fairly dense. Where a thousand men are recording their votes at one polling booth, it is absolutely impossible to . say how any particular man votes, and to visit him with punishment for voting against the wishes of his employer. We give people votes, and we ought to secure that they shall exercise the franchise with as little danger to themselves as possible. {: #debate-7-s11 .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS:
Queensland -- I take it that the object of the Electoral Bill is to enable the voter to exercise the franchise with as little trouble and inconvenience as possible, and another object is to have the votes counted rapidly. I take it that the system proposed by the amendment is the best we can adopt. We ought not to have an assistant returning officer appointed at every squatting station. **Senator Playford** does not want a count to be made at every station. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Does the honorable senator understand that whether an assistant returning officer is appointed for these places or not, the number of votes polled at each booth will always be published, so that the secrecy which he desires will not be secured by the amendment ? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- The honorable and learned senator must know that if there is no assistant returning officer there will still be a polling booth at each of these places. There will be a presiding officer, who will not have an opportunity to" count the votes, but will have to send them on to the returning officer. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator Playford: -- And when they are counted, he will know how many voted for one candidate, and how many for the other. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- He will not be in the same positionis he would be in if the votes were counted at the booth at which they were recorded. I do not think any advantage would be gained by appointing assistant returning officers for places under the limit fixed by. this amendment. On the contrary, I think such a system would be a disadvantage, both in regard *to the* question of expense and the purity of elections. {: #debate-7-s12 .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -I must confess that I am in a difficulty in regard to this amendment, as there is so much to be said on both sides. I agree that every effort should be made to safeguard the secrecy of the ballot, more particularly in scattered and remote localities such as stations and small sugar farming districts, where the electors have suffered materially in this respect. I have known a district on the very coast of Queensland to be cut up for electoral purposes in such a way as to render it necessary for the labour candidate to send a number of voters from Cairns, to vote at one particular booth, in order to protect local residents who supported him. But while we are making efforts to safeguard the secrecy of the ballot, I think we should be careful that we do not provide something which will be more injurious in its consequences to people residing in scattered districts than is the present system. Those administering the Bill might take advantage of this provision and fail to provide polling places for districts with less than 100 electors. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- The amendment does not affect that question. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- I contend that it might possibly have that effect. The Government of the day might plead this provision as an excuse for failing to provide polling places in certain scattered districts where they thought they were not likely to receive support. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- Why does the honorable senator think so? {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Because we had a painful experience of that kind in Queensland, at a time when the honorable and learned senator was a member of the State Parliament. Surely the Minister will recollect the occasion when **Mr. C.** McDonald - now a member of the House of Representatives - was the labour candidate for the representation of Cloncurry in the State Parliament, and asked that a polling place should be provided on the Leichardt, the nearest polling place being 95 miles distant. There were some 40 or 50 miners working there. It was fairly well known to the Government of the day that they would vote for the labour candidate, and they point blank refused to provide a polling place. But be it said to the creditof the men, *they* were so public spirited that they ran the risk of losing their claims and rode 95 miles into Cloncurry in order to record their votes. We have no right to call upon the electors to make such sacrifices. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- Such a sacrifice will not be required under this proposal. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- If the committee are prepared to act on the assumption that the administration of the measure will always be just, they will see nothing in ray contention. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- If that is the contention there is no need for this amendment. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- My fears may be groundless, but I cannot refrain from expressing them. Question - That the amendment be agreed to - put. The committee divided - Ayes ... ... ... 10 Noes ... ... ... 14 Majority ... ... 4 Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment disagreed with. Amendments in clause 9 agreed to. Clause 12 (Divisions). {: #debate-7-s13 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment adding the words "and one member of the House ofRepresentatives shall be chosen in each division." This amendment embodies the principle of single electorates for the House of Representatives. It was understood that the principle of single electorates should be adopted in regard to that Chamber, andI do not know if honorable senators have any opinion to the contrary. Motion agreed to. Clause 1 3 (Commissioners). {: #debate-7-s14 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the word "three" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "one." It will be remembered that the Bill as it left the Senate provided that each State should be distributed into electoral divisions by three commissioners. After considerable discussion in another place, it was resolved, largely on the grounds of economy, that it would be better to appoint one commissioner instead of three. {: #debate-7-s15 .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major GOULD:
New South Wales -- This amendment involves rather an important question. If it has been made only on the score of economy, I am afraid it may prove to be false economy. In dividing a State into electorates, the commissioner has to consider community or diversity of interest, means of communication, physical features, and existing boundaries of divisions, so that there are many matters which require his attention. In one of the adjoining States this work has always been done by three gentlemen, and I should like to hear some reasons other than those which the Postmaster-General has advanced in favour of the alteration. As the amendment relates primarily to another place, I do not feel that I should make a stand against what the House of Representatives desires to be done. Of course, whatever may be done in regard to the distribution will have to be submitted either for the approval of both Houses, or as suggested by the House of Representatives, of one House. {: #debate-7-s16 .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS:
Tasmania -- I think that **Senator Gould** might be given many excellent reasons in favour of the amendment. In addition to the ground of economy, it is desirable that the amendment should be made because it provides an infinitely fairer way of carrying out the work. The Bill as it left this Chamber provided that two commissioners should form a quorum, and that when there were only two in attendance the chairman should have a casting vote. It was pointed out at the time that that was an absurd anomaly - that when there were only two present the chairman would be the absolute master of the situation, and that the other man would be like a fifth wheel to a coach. The clause was simply absurd as it left us, but we could not secure an alteration of it. I think that all the amendments in clauses 13 and 14 are most desirable. Motion agreed to. Remaining amendments in clause 13 and amendments in clause 14 agreed to. Clause 15 (Proceedings at meetings). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- This clause is now unnecessary, and I therefore move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting clause 15. {: #debate-7-s17 .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD:
South Australia -- I ask whether we are 'to understand by this that these commissioners are to report individually, one for each State, and that they are to hold no meetings to discuss matters between themselves. If that is so, I entirely approve of it. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- That is so, and in reply to the honorable senator I may point out that in the clauses that follow he will find in every case it is " the commissioner " who acts. Motion agreed to. Clause 17 (Quota to be basis of distribution). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- In connexion with the amendment omitting clause 17, I desire to point out that it will be found that clause 18 is practically a new clause, and it includes nearly all the matter dealt with in clause 17. If honorable senators will look at clause18 as amended, they will see that it includes a provision with regard to the quota of electors. It provides that the margin shall be one-fifth more or less, instead of one-fourth, as previously proposed. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting clause 17. Motion agreed to. Clause 18 (Matters to be considered in distribution of seats). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The House of Representatives propose to omit the whole of this clause after the word " in," and then to provide that the distribution of the State into divisions shall bemadewithdue consideration to community or diversity of interest, means of communication, physical features ; and a new sub-section is inserted, requiring also the consideration of existing boundaries of divisions. I think that when the matter was previously before the Senate a feeling was strongly expressed in favour of taking that into consideration. Then the clause provides for a quota as a basis of the distribution, and that the margin of allowance shall be one-fifth each way. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting all the words after the word " In," line 1, and inserting in lieu thereof the words' "making any distribution of States into divisions the commissioner shall give due consideration to." , > >Community or diversity of interest, > >Means of communication, > >Existing boundaries of divisions ; and subject thereto the quota of election shall be the basis for the distribution, and the commissioner may adopt a margin of allowance to be used whenever necessary ; but in no case shall such quota be departed from to a greater extent than one-fifth more or one-fifth less. {: #debate-7-s18 .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON:
Western Austra lia -- The provision with respect to existing boundaries of divisions being taken into consideration, appears to have been taken from the New South Wales Act, without any consideration of federal conditions. I presume that the divisions to be taken into account are the federal divisions, and not the State divisions, but, as the clause is printed, that is not clearly expressed. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator Ewing: -- The honorable senator's objection is met by the definition clause of the Bill, which defines an electoral division to mean an electoral division for an election for the House of Representatives. {: .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON: -- That certainly renders the clause quite clear. Motion agreed to. Clause 19 (Notice of proposed distribution). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The House of Representatives propose the omission of this clause. Honorable senators will see that subsequently it is proposed to omit clauses 20 and 21, and the matter contained in these clauses is dealt with in three new clauses, 19a, 19b, and 19c. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting clause 19. Motion agreed to. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- In their next amendment the House of Representatives propose' the insertion of the three new clauses to which I have just referred. They put the matter in a better form than that in which it was previously stated. The notice of a proposed distribution is dealt with in clause 19a, and then there is a provision to deal with cases in which objections are lodged, and the commissioner is required to report upon them not later than 30 days after the first publication of the proposed distribution, and under the following clause the commissioner is required to report to the Minister upon the proposed distribution. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment inserting new clauses 19a, 19b, and 19c. Motion agreed to. Amendments omitting clauses 20 and 21, agreed to. Clause 22 (Report to be laid before House of Representatives). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The amendment made in this clause is one about which there has been considerable difference of opinion. What I have to say upon it will apply equally to the amendments proposed in clauses 23 and 24. The question raised is whether the report and proclamation of divisions shall be submitted to the House of Representatives, the House more immediately concerned in the divisions, or whether they shall be laid before both Houses. {: .speaker-K54} ##### Senator Sir Frederick Sargood: -- Both Houses, certainly. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I see that one honorable senator is prepared to express an opinion already. From an electoral point of view, this is a matter relating solely to the House of Representatives. Of course I am not going to take up the position that it is not the duty of both Houses of the Federal Parliament to carefully scrutinize all legislation that affects either of them. But I think that in elec- . toral matters the business of each particular House should be left more particularly within its own purview. I think the principle has obtained in all countries having a bicameral system of legislation, that in electoral matters one House will not unduly or unnecessarily interfere with the affairs of the other. We do not give up our right to deal with legislation because we are asked here to assent to these amendments ; we take our part in this legislation, and before the Bill can become law it must be agreed to by the Senate. But the question is whether a matter like the division of a State into electorates, solely for the purpose of the election of members to the House of Representatives, is not one which belongs more particularly to that House. The position taken up is that the House of Representatives should have control of all matters connected with the election of its own members. From that point of view it seems to me that the dividing of a State into divisions for the election of members of the House of Representatives is primarily and almost exclusively a matter belonging to that House. Of course there are other questions which will crop up by-and-by, and which I have no doubt honorable senators have in their minds. But I think that in connexion with these proposed amendments we might recognise that they deal with a matter which may be left entirely to the House of Representatives. I therefore move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the words " Both Houses of Parliament," and inserting the words "the House of Representatives." > > **Senator CLEMONS** (Tasmania).- If this were a question dealing only with the form of electoral machinery affecting the other House, I should say at once that we should accept their wishes and decision, but I put it to honorable senators that this is rather a question of the franchise. It is certainly a matter which affects the House of Representatives, but it is not merely a matter of electoral machinery. It is a question as to the electors who shall elect each representative of the other House, and not a question as to the method in which they shall record their votes. That is where I draw a clear distinction. I say that in matters relating solely to the machinery of elections we should, out of mere courtesy, if for no other reason, leave members of the other House to settle their own affairs. But we are here dealing with a question of franchise, and Parliament, and not one House, should decide it. Under the circumstances I think the Senate would not be justified in abandoning its position. I can quite understand that there are occasions on which we ought to extend courtesy to the other House, but this is not such an occasion. ' I am sorry to disagree with the House of Representatives, but for constitutional and other reasons we are bound to maintain our position. {: #debate-7-s19 .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING:
Western Australia -- I think we ought to oppose the amendment. Sp far as I can understand there are two positions : either we must hand over the making of these divisions entirely to a commissioner, beyond the interference of any portion of Parliament, or it should be subject to the control of the whole of Parliament. According to the amendment of the House of Representatives the divisions are made by a commissioner, whose report is laid on the table of the one House in which the States are not adequately represented - a House in which the division of the whole of the electorates can be controlled by two States of the union. The House of Representatives has power to disagree with the commissioner's report, and refer it back to him for further investigation, pointing out to him what are considered to be errors. But we find, further, that clause 24 directs the commissioner to comply with the instructions of the House of Representatives, so that we are not even in half as good a position as that in which we were placed under the Bill originally. Although an attempt was previously made to leave this matter in the hands of the House of Representatives, and not in the hands of the Senate, a discretion was vested in the commissioner. Now, however, by clause 24 that discretion is vested entirely in the House of Representatives. Western Australia or Tasmania might, under the amendment, be divided for political purposes in accordance with the desire of the majority of members who have come from the States of New South Wales and Victoria. I do not for one moment say that is likely to be done, but it was to prevent any such possibility that the States were given equal representation in the Senate. The senators for the smaller States are expected to safeguard the interests of all the State-0, and one inducement held out to the people of Western Australia and Tasmania to enter federation was that they could not be dominated by the larger States. That being so, the representatives of the smaller States would be failing in their duty if they handed themselves over to the tender mercies of the representatives of the larger States. The basis, so far as numbers are concerned, might be varied to a very material extent ; and, therefore, the representatives of the smaller States should see that the protection, of which they were assured, is preserved. The amendment of the House of Representatives will take away from the smaller States a constitutional power, which not only in this, but in other instances, is regarded as the very basis of their protection, and it is our duty to see that no injustice is done. So long as I remain here I shall give up none of that protection. The powers possessed by the smaller States are absolutely necessary to-day, and will be necessary in the future. I am ready to say, however, as a member of the Senate, that I should be very slow indeed to interfere with the electoral divisions for the House of Representatives. Such interference could be justified only by a glaring injustice or manifestly improper conduct; but that is a vastly different thing to giving up the right to protect the interests of the States when necessity arises. {: #debate-7-s20 .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS:
Queensland -- - I regard theattempt to alter the clause as an infringement of the rights of the Senate. There are several sections of the Constitution which bear on this question. Section 1 declares that the legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, consisting of " The Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives." Section 9 provides - >The Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws prescribing the method of choosing senators, but so that the method shall be uniform for all the States. Subject to any such law, the Parliament of each State may make laws prescribing the method of choosing the senators for that State. > >The Parliament of a State may make laws for determining the times and places of elections of senators for the State. Section 24 is as follows : - >The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of the senators. > >The number of members chosen in the several States shall be in proportion to the respective numbers of their people, and shall, until the Parliament otherwise provides, be determined, whenever necessary, in the following manner : - {: type="a" start="i"} 0. A quota shall be ascertained by dividing the number of the people of the Commonwealth as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, by twice the number of the senators, {: type="1" start="11"} 0. The number of members to be chosen in each State shall be determined by dividing the number of the people of the State, as shown by the latest statistics of the Commonwealth, by the quota ; and if on such division there is a remainder greater than one-half of the quota, one more member shall be chosen in the State. Section 29 provides - >Until the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the Parliament of any State may make laws for determining the divisions in each State for which members of the House of Representatives may be chosen, and the number of members to be chosen for each division. I am satisfied that the Senate would not attempt to interfere with the divisions, as suggested to the other House by the commissioner, except where some great injustice would otherwise be done ; and we can conceive cases of injustice. At some time, through the uncertainty of elections, the other Chamber might be so constituted that it would draw arbitrary lines disfranchising a number of electors, and it is our duty, as a body which represents the whole of the States, and especially represents theagricultural, mining, pastoral, and manufacturing interests, to revise the divisions suggested. Parliament, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, have it in their power to prescribe the method of choosing senators, and I should not be at all surprised if, later on, a Bill were introduced into the House of Representatives with the object of cutting up the States into divisions for Senate elections. I cannot understand what prompted members in another place to attempt to restrict the powers of the Senate in this direction. We have not yet in any way endeavoured to intrench on the domain of the House of Representatives. Matters particularly concerning that Chamber have been before us, but we have not interfered in any way, and the other place should have paid us the compliment of allowing us to pass an opinion on electoral divisions which may be proposed at a later date. Motion negatived. Clause 23- >If both Houses of Parliament pass a resolution approving of any proposed distribution, . . . such divisions shall until altered be the electoral divisions. Motion (by **Senator Drake)** negatived - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the words " both Houses of Parliament pass," and inserting the words " the House of Representatives passes. " Clause 24 - >If either House of Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of any proposed distribution, . . the Minister may direct the commissioners to propose a fresh distribution. Motion (by **Senator Drake)** proposed - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the words "either House of Parliament," mid inserting the words "the House of Representatives." {: #debate-7-s21 .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD:
South Australia -- I should not object to the House of Representatives having the power given in these clauses, if it was understood that that power could not be exercised until an Act of Parliament had been passed, and this Chamber thus enabled to express an opinion. Nor do I object to the House of Representatives taking the commissioner's report into consideration, and approving of it or recommending certain alterations ; but, as in the State Legislatures, m division of electorates should have any effect until an Act has been passed by both Houses. There is no objection to the machinery provided for ascertaining the best form of divisions for the election of members to the House of Representatives, but I object to one House, by mere resolution, having the power to redistribute districts. There is no precedent for such a power in any British possession under responsible government. {: #debate-7-s22 .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major GOULD:
New South Wales -- I hold pretty well the same view as that held by **Senator Playford.** One House ought not to be allowed to deal with the division of a State into electorates, but I hardly think it necessary to have an Act of Parliament so long as we retain the provision originally made by this House. That provision will have a tendency to save the time which would "be occupied in passing a Bill through both Houses, and to introduce a measure as suggested would invite Members of Parliament to take a more direct share in the formation of the boundaries of electorates than they ought to have. The very object of appointing a commissioner is to give a person the opportunity of denning boundaries apart altogether from political predilections : and the proposals of a commissioner ought not to be departed from except for very grave reasons. With a commissioner there oan be no charges against either Government or Opposition of gerrymandering. We know that the practice of gerrymandering is -perfectly well known in certain parts of the world. In the United States there is a good deal of it. I do not think that the States of Australia have been absolutely free from a little bit of that sort of thing. *Any* provision which will prevent it is in the light direction. {: #debate-7-s23 .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON:
Western Australia -- It seems to me that clause 24, as it stands, even without the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives, will lead to a very peculiar position. Suppose we reject; as I believe we shall do, the amendment of another place, the clause will provide that if either House of Parliament objects to a proposed distribution, the Minister shall instruct the commissioner to propose a fresh distribution of the State into divisions. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- It is not competent for us to alter that part of the clause now. {: .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON: -- But the clause will not work as it stands. There is also a further alteration required. The word " commissioners " should be " commissioner." {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major Gould: -- That is a point which the Clerk can attend to. Motion negatived. {: #debate-7-s24 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- Amendment No. 24 is of a different character ; therefore it is not consequential. The House of Representatives has inserted at the end of the clause the words " in accordance with the requirements of any such resolution." It seems to me to be reasonable that when a House of Parliament has passed a resolution in favour of a fresh distribution, the commissioner should make his arrangements in accordance with such resolution. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major Gould: -- The commissioner should not be directed in what way he should make his division, but he may be directed to make a fresh distribution. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- Yes. There may be two resolutions which may be in conflict. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment adding the words "in accordance with the requirements of any such resolution." Motion negatived. Clause 26 (Polling places). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment adding the words " Provided that no polling place shall be appointed after the issue of the writ and before the time appointed for its return." This amendment means that it should be known within a certain period before an election what polling places are to be appointed, in order that candidates and scrutineers may know what they are doing. {: #debate-7-s25 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- I am sorry that I cannot support the proposed amendment. If honorable senators will turn to that part of the Bill regulating elections they will find that it is possible for nearly two months to elapse between the issue of the writ and the polling day. Many things may happen during that period, lt has often been found in Queensland that a number of electors were compelled to go down the bay from Rockhampton discharging cargo on polling day. Perhaps they did not get very long notice that they would be required on that day. Under this provision those men would have to choose either to lose a da)''s work or to lose their vote. Under the Queensland law, which is certainly not the most perfect in the world, it was possible to appoint a ship a polling place. That has been done on various occasions. Then men were not inconvenienced by being called upon to work on the day of the election. But this provision will disfranchise a large number of persons. I see no necessity why that should be the case. No injury can be done by the appointment of a particular place as a polling place within a few days of the election. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- When perhaps some candidates have no time to make fresh arrangements. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- This is not a matter that has anything to do with candidates. I am not troubling about them, but about the convenience of electors who ought not to have to' choose between losing a day's work and recording their votes. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Take the case of a sudden alluvial rush. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- In that case thousands of men might be disfranchised. I see a great many reasons why the proviso should not be included in the Bill, and shall vote against it. ' **Senator MATHESON** (Western Australia). - I thoroughly agree with all **Senator Stewart** has said on this subject. I do not see any reason why the least restriction should be placed on the appointment of polling places. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major Gould: -- The honorable senator would see it if he had been longer in politics. {: .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON: -- I have been in politics for six years, and have had a great deal of experience as to the difficulty of getting new polling places appointed. **Senator Gould** must not only consider the State from which he comes. New South Wales is a State in which there is very little movement on the part of the population. It is a settled State. The people have their several occupations, and do not shift about to any large extent. But in Western Australia the conditions are entirely different. There we have a very large population that is not fixed to any given spot. Nearly every man amongst that population may be entitled to vote. When there is ho election in view, nobody bothers much about polling booths and their situation. It is no one's business, and no one asks the electoral officials to appoint a polling place at a certain spot. But directly an election is announced and the writs are out, and people find that they cannot vote where they are living, there is an application for polling booths. Under this clause, as amended, even though the Government might be willing to give a number of electors facilities for voting they would be unable to do so. This is a matter which we could safely leave to the returning officer as it stood in the Bill originally. That officer should exercise his own judgment. I do not see that any inconvenience would arise to anyone if that were done. Every candidate is as anxious to give facilities for voting as the voters are desirous of obtaining them, because he thinks that the greater the facilities for voting, the greater chances he has of their voting for him. Candidates always assist as much as they can to obtain polling places. They think it makes them popular. It is very desirable that every elector should have every facility for voting, and in a State where the population moves about, as ifc does to a large extent in Western Australia and Queensland, it is most undesirable that the power to appoint new polling places should be limited. Another matter I would point out is that the proviso in clause 28 should really follow clause 26: {: #debate-7-s26 .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'KEEFE:
Tasmania -- T cannot understand what object is to be gained by adding the proposed proviso to clause 26. Surely if the matter were left to the discretion of the Governor-General in Council, no new polling place would be provided unless it was absolutely necessary. I know of cases where a great injustice might be don to a number of electors under this provision. Some weeks may elapse between the issue of a writ and the time appointed for its return. Imagine a case where a big contract is being carried out, and where a number of men are suddenly taken to work upon harbor works or railway works. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major Gould: -- All of whom could vote by post. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'KEEFE: -- They could, at great inconvenience to themselves, whereas if this proviso were not added, there would be nothing to prevent a new polling place being appointed. I oppose the motion, and trust that the committee will reject it. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- In order to avoid any complication, I propose to ask the committee first to accept the first part of the amendment - "Provided that no polling place shall be so appointed." Then I shall move to insert the words "or closed" after the word " appointed." {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- That will not meet the objection. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I only propose to deal with the matter in that way so that if the committee is in favour of the amendment generally, that made in clause 2S may be negatived. As to the main objection which has been raised, I think that sufficient weight has not been attached to the provisions in the Bill for voting by post. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- But they are not to be indiscriminately encouraged. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- Under the Bill, an elector may vote at any polling place in .his division, or he may vote by post. That being so, we think no ill-effect is likely to result from limiting the time during which a fresh polling place may be appointed. I admit the force of a great .deal of what has been said as to the needs of a shifting population, but I can see that it would be a positive evil to leave it open to an Executive to appoint fresh polling places right p to the day of election. Pressure would e brought to bear by candidates, and it would be thought that an invidious distinction was being made if the Executive said - " We will appoint a polling place here, but not there." We think it better that the time for the appointing of polling places should be strictly limited to the date of the issue of the writ. That would be fair to all parties, and do no injury to the electors. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- Make it up to the date of nomination. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- That might be only a few days before the date of elections. When the writ is .issued it should be known to all parties where the polling places are to be appointed. I think this is rather a wise provision. {: #debate-7-s27 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western Australia -- I should like the Postmaster-General to give **Senator -Matheson** an opportunity to move for the omission of the word " appointed" with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "closed." If the honorable and learned senator looks at the clause he will find that it will be a complete jumble if the further amendment suggested by him is carried. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- But I propose to add the words, " or closed," after the word " appointed." {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It would be impossible for us to vote on such a proposal, as we are divided on the question of whether or not any .polling booth should be closed after the issue of the writ. We merely wish to strike out the word "appointed," so as to substitute the word " closed." If a motion to that effect is submitted by **Senator Matheson,** we shall be able to test the question of whether clause 26 is the best place in which to make this amendment, and whether we should make any provision to limit the appointing of polling places. In common with a number of other honorable senators, I am in favour of allowing polling places to be appointed after the issue of the writ. At the same time we contend that the provision declaring that no polling place shall be closed after the issue of the writ should be inserted in clause 26, and not in clause 28. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- I am willing to allow the course suggested by **Senator Pearce** to be followed. Motion, by leave, withdrawn. Motion (by **Senator Matheson)** proposed - >That the amendment be amended by the omission of the word "appointed." {: #debate-7-s28 .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING:
Western Australia. -- I draw a distinction between the appointing and the closing of a polling place after the issue of a writ. I do not think it is desirable that polling places should be closed after the issue of the writ, but I can conceive a position in which it would be very desirable to create fresh polling places after the issue of the writ. The first intimation which the public receive as to the polling places is given by the issue of the proclamation. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator Playford: -- No; the electors have their names on the rolls for various polling places for years. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -. - If this provision were omitted the position would be the same as in Western Australia. On one occasion when I was nominated for the Swan, the Government of the day were not favorable to my candidature. In the old centres of population there were numerous polling places, but in newly settled districts the Government carefully omitted to provide them. The issue of the proclamation was the first intimation that I received of this. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- It was then too late to move in the matter? {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- It would have been with such a provision as this, but it was not so under the Western Australian law. I obtained petitions from various places setting forth that there were 50 or 100 electors who considered that they were entitled to have polling places provided there. The result was that polling places were provided. That would not be possible under this proposal. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The polling places might be appointed weeks or months before the issue of the writ. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- Not necessarily. No one can tell with certainty where the polling places will be until the proclamation, comes out, and that proclamation is usually published simultaneously with the issue of the writ. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major Gould: -- As a rule it is published before. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- I know that in many settled places no change is made for years in regard to polling places, but in countries such as Western Australia, where the population is constantly shifting, it is necessary to make changes for every election. This year we might have a population of a thousand or more at Broad Arrow ; next year the population might be 50 miles away. In nine cases out of ten the proclamation would be published, either simultaneously with, or immediately prior to, the issue of the writ, and there would not be time to obtain the registration of fresh polling places, no matter how strong the claims for their creation might be. This will be an indirect means of enabling the Government of the day to control centres at which votes will be polled, and to assist or damage the candidature of particular individuals. {: #debate-7-s29 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales -- The speech to which I have just listened has furnished me with ample justification for supporting this proposition. **Senator Ewing** has pointed out the very great danger to which our electoral machinery will be subjected if we strike out the amendment, by stating that in Western Australia it was possible for him on one occasion to obtain additional polling places after the issue of the writ. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- For the convenience of the electors. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- Very well. **Senator Ewing** - who, of course, is no worse than any one else - might find out on the eve of an election that there were a number of electors in one particular corner of a certain electorate, and get a polling booth appointed there. His friends, having been forewarned of what was about to take place, would thus be able to take advantage of it. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Would not his opponents be able to to do the same? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- No. **Senator Ewing** and his friends would know a month beforehand what he intended to do, but the Government would not be approached until a day or two before polling, {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Can we not trust the Government? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -The honorable senator who asks me that question has already given us an instance in which a Queensland Government disfranchised 47 electors who intended to vote for labour candidates. I would not trust a Government, and I want to put our electoral machinery beyond suspicion of any tampering on the part of a Government. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator Ewing: -- A candidate would not be able to secure the appointing of a new polling place unless there was a sufficient number of electors to justify it. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- The object of the amendment is that every elector shall have imple notice. If we allow polling *places to* be created up to the day of election, many people will know nothing of them. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- It may be so in some oases, but in many other instances all the electors will know of the creation of a booth. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I am referring particularly to the scattered pastoral districts of New South Wales, where it would be impossible to make known to all the electors the creation of a polling booth a week before the day of election.For these reasons I propose to support the amendment made by another place. {: #debate-7-s30 .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- I hope the committee will not agree to this amendment, because it is a very unfair proposal, and is calculated to do a great deal of harm. **Senator Millen's** statements about the sitting member having an undue advantage in being able to keep secret, up to the eleventh hour, any movement for the appointment of a polling booth does not apply, because even if a polling booth is appointed at the eleventh hour on a station, surely the whole of the hands employed there will know of it before they are called upon to exercise the franchise? The extreme danger is that the writ for an election and the proclamation appointing the polling places are issued on the same day. In the selection of polling places the old polling places are considered, as well as the recommendations of the returning officer for the creation of any fresh polling place, or the closing of any old polling place. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- And he is impartial, of course. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- This is another of those cases in which we have to depend absolutely upon the impartiality of the returning officer, but, though I am sorry to have to say it, actual experience has shown that all returning officers are not impartial. Many of us have had occasion to bring up the question of the partiality of returning officers in the State Parliaments, and I have a recollection of **Senator Drake** taking a part in the debates upon such occasions. The honorable and learned senator has severely condemned the partiality of some returning officers in the course of his political career. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- I have no recollection of that. I should like to see *Hansard* for it. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- I know that the honorable and learned senator assisted myself in connexion with a Charters Towers case ; he assisted the present leader of the labour party in Queensland, **Mr. Browne,** in connexion with a Croydon case, and the present member for Kennedy in the House of Representatives in connexion with the case to whichl have previouslyreferred. A strong conservative like **Senator Millen** would probibly under all circumstances be prepared to trust the Government, though I would not do so. We have to consider that even the most honest Minister administering the Electoral Act will be dependent upon the old polling places recorded in the office, and the recommendations of the returning offi- cer. It does not always follow that the returning officer for one election will be the returning officer for the next. It must be remembered that this does not apply only to scattered districts, but to the larger electorates and big centres of population. I know of a case of this kind : The centre of an electorate containing a large number of voters was, of course, appointed a polling place, and another place only 3 miles distant from the centre was also appointed a polling place, and it was found to work very well. When the writ for a new election came out, the place 3 miles distant from the centre was not appointed a polling place, though there were 500-odd electors at that particular place. It is easy to say that they could go the 3 miles to the main polling booth and record their votes there, but when it is considered that they had to work from eight o'clock in the morning till five o'clock in the evening before they were given an opportunity of recording their votes, it will be seen that they could not be expected to go that distance to record them. In addition to that, an extra 500 voters coming to the central polling booth would cause such a rush that they could not all record their votes in the stipulated time. In the centering of a large number of votes in a few places, the time within which the votes have to be recorded is another element which requires to be taken into consideration, and in large centres of population it may be necessary to have three orfourpolling places instead of one central polling place in order to facilitate the recording of votes. If we lay down a hard-and-fast rule, such as is here proposed, it will not matter what new facts come to light for the guidance of those in authority : the Act will expressly provide that no alteration to meet them can be made. It is possible that facts may be brought before the notice of the authorities which would cause them to appoint additional polling places if they were known before the issue of the writ and the proclamation of the polling places, but no discretion is allowed under this proposal. In addition to the power of the authorities to proclaim any polling booth after the issue of the writ, I should like it to be provided that, even if the returning officer or the candidates contesting the election do not recommend the creation of 'a fresh polling place, a petition from a certain number of electors should be considered sufficient to secure the proclamation of a fresh polling place. In the conduct of elections the aim and object of the authorities should be to suit the convenience of the voters and the candidates. I do not say here that I do not care anything at all about the candidates. I think they should be considered as well as the electors, and the object should be to give such facilities for the recording of votes as will suit the convenience of electors and candidates. {: #debate-7-s31 .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY:
Queensland -- I must oppose this amendment, because my fairly long experience of elections in Queensland convinces me of the value of having the power vested in the hands of the returning officer and the Minister administering the Act to appoint polling places after the issue of the w rit. The Minister in charge of this Bill must know that that has been found to be a most valuable provision in Queensland. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- We have not had voting by post in Queensland. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- Voting by post can only be done at a post-office, and electors may in many cases be 20 miles from a post-office. One of the difficulties connected with our legislation here is due to a want of experience in some quarters of the back-blocks of the different States. Fortunately for me, I have travelled a good deal in the back-blocks, and I have represented a place 1,300 miles from the seat of Government, where electors would in many places have to go 20 or more miles .before they could get to a post-office. Honorable senators, of course, speak from a knowledge they have of their own States, and the facilities there afforded to electors to record their votes. I am sorry to say that in many instances adequate facilities were not afforded to the electors of Queensland. We have cases of townships springing up rapidly where 40 or 50 voters may be gathered together a long way from their homes, and from .older settlements. In order to deal with such circumstances it is wise that we should retain a provision under which candidates or electors concerned may apply to the Government for the appointment of a polling place which will give them facilities for discharging their citizen rights. I am at a loss to know how these matters could have escaped the attention of honorable members in another place, many of whom must have had some experience similar to my own. **Senator Playford** and some other honorable senators are prepared to take a reasonable view of this matter, and to be guided by the statements of those who have experienced these difficulties in the past. I have had again and again at election times to apply for the proclamation of certain places as polling places. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- And perhaps the other fellow had only to ask once. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator GLASSEY: -- That may be. Certain evils may possibly arise, but it would, . I think, be a great advantage to have the provision we seek for in this Bill. I strongly oppose the amendment, knowing the difficulties it will create in such States as Western Australia and Queensland if it is agreed to. {: #debate-7-s32 .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS:
Queensland -- Honorable senators seem to fear that if the Government of the day are allowed to appoint polling places after the issue of the writ very great harm will be done. My experience is that the appointment of polling places after the issue of writs has always been in the interests of the general community. To allow the Government of the day to fix in camera the polling places to be proclaimed throughout the various States, and to allow no opportunity for revision is much more likely to lead to unfair practices. If any injustice is done by the Government, they can always shield themselves behind the Act, and say - "We are not allowed to appoint any fresh polling places now, because the writ has been issued." If in the absence of this provision a manifest injustice were pointed out by the Government, they would refuse to appoint a polling place at the risk of the rejection of some of their members. The Elections Act in Queensland is not a very democratic measure, but there is a clause in it which appears to me better than this. It provides that- - >The Governor in Council may, from time to time, appoint places for the taking of a poll for any electoral district, and every place so appointed shall be notified in the *Gazette,* provided that no such appointment shall be valid unless such notification is so published three clear days before the day of nomination for the election. . Honorable senators will notice that the Governor in Council is authorized to appoint polling places "from time to time," and the reason for that is, that from time to time it is found that injustice may be done to bodies of electors if certain places are not appointed as polling places. If the Governor in Council were in Queensland, compelled by law to issue his list of polling places, and to abide bythat list as published with the issue of the writ, very great injustice would be done in many cases. Honorable senators may point out that under this Bill, provision is made for voting by post, but many electors may not care to go to the trouble of going through the formula necessary to vote by post. **Senator DAWSON** (Queensland). - I should like to know the position of the Minister in charge of the Bill. Does the honorable gentleman consider himself bound absolutely to the amendments of another place, or is he amenable to reasons which may be offered in opposition ? In answering those who are opposed to the amendments of the House of Representatives, the Postmaster-General's only argument . was that in the event of sudden changes taking place provision had been made for voting by post. But voting by post does not cover numbers of cases which have been cited this afternoon, and no effort has been made to cover them. In connexion with voting by post, there is sure to be considerable delay. Changes in population are very rapid, particularly on gold-fields where gold is easily won. Sometimes thousands of people will move from one electorate to another in the space of a week or less, and under such circumstances voting by post would not be allowed. In this matter a certain amount of discretion will no doubt be exercised, and those intrusted with the duty of issuing certificates will be careful to make due inquiry, and satisfy themselves that an applicant cannot possibly vote in any-other way. That, of course, all means delay, and the only persons who will benefit from the system will be those who are permanently resident in a certain place, but who, owing to special circumstances, will not be able to personally record their vote on the day of election. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- This seems to be really a matter of balancing advantages and disadvantages. The object of appointing polling places is to enable electors, as easily as possible, to record their votes, and those places must be arranged in a way absolutely fair to all parties. The polling places are fixed on the advice of the returning officer, who is supposed to be - and who, we all hope, is - absolutely impartial. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- The returning officer is not always impartial, and when he is, he is sometimes stubborn. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- In Queensland, after the writ has been issued, candidates generally approach the Government and ask for further polling places, very often in the interests of one candidate or the other. Is it likely that under pressure from importunate candidates, the allotment of polling places will be any fairer than it is when made on the issue of the writ ? If not, the disadvantage must be with those who are least likely to get the ear of the Government, because if there is any impartiality the scale is likely to be weighed in favour of the Government candidate. It is much fairer that the recommendation of the returning officer, when the writ is issued, should be regarded as final. A candidate ought not to be encouraged to ask for the appointment of fresh polling places. A Government who desired to be absolutely impartial might grant polling places wherever they were asked, thus involving a great deal of unnecessary expense. The Government think that as such liberal provision has been made for providing polling places, and as electors have the alternative of voting by post, it is not so necessary as formerly to arrange for extra facilities after the issue of the writ. {: #debate-7-s33 .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
New South Wales -- It is impossible to discuss the proviso to clause 26 without also discussing that to clause 28, and in those two provisos we have the nearest possible approach to actual justice and fairness. I have had some experience of elections, and it is easily conceived that it is much better to provide the polling places before the actual hour of conflict, in which party and personal feelings run high. We have heard only one side of the story as to the inconvenience, but, on the other side, I can see great inconvenience which may arise through wrong being done. The provision supplies a failbasis for honorable dealing between candidates. **Senator DAWSON** (Queensland). - I regret very much that the Government are stubborn in this matter, and that they are encouraged in their wicked way by prominent members of the Opposition. It is, indeed, a pleasant thing to see so happy a family, but how long that happiness may last *Ilansard* will reveal in the future. This is a question of much importance, and a little discussion will not be wasted. The remarks of **Senator Neild** do not at all answer my objection, and the reply of the Postmaster-General is also inadequate. To say that the party in power may be partial in the administration of the Act, if there be not this proviso, is to say something with which we can all agree. At the same time it must be remembered that if a Government act in an unjust - or dishonest manner their conduct may be criticised on the floor of the Chamber, and that before any benefit can be derived from the dishonesty, the indignation of the electors may find a vent. According to the proposal of the Government, new polling booths cannot be appointed, no matter what fresh reasons or facts may be laid before the returning officer; no alteration can be made, although, it. may be, 20,000 voters are inconvenienced. That, in my opinion, is a perfectly absurd state of affairs. The only information to guide the authorities in the fixing of the polling booths is information gained some three years previously, and, of course, that is ridiculous in a growing community such as that of Australia. I have mentioned several classes of workers who are likely to be disadvantaged, and I may add that large and useful body of men who are engaged in supplying the goldfields with timber. They generally make one trip each day, and on the day of election they are probably miles distant, and simply because of a fear that the party in power may act unfairly, these men are to be deprived, of their votes. In Queensland not long ago, as the PostmasterGeneral may remember, a railway contractor, shortly before the elections, removed employes into another electorate ; but after the issue of the writ further polling places were established and. these men were able to record their votes. I hope the good sense of the committee will cause the proposal of the Government to be rejected. **Senator HIGGS.** (Queensland). - When this question was discussed by the House of Representatives, **Mr. Watson** moved an amendment providing that facilities should be provided at any point 20 miles distant from a polling place, on receipt of a petition from ten electors residing within 10 miles of the place where the additional voting place was desired. That proposal the Acting Prime Minister met by stating that the Government would lay on the table, some time before the general election, a list of places at which it was proposed to have polling booths, so that the members might place this list before their constituents and find outwhether there was any disability. That is all very well so far as this Government is concerned. They might intend to do that, and honorable members might know weeks or months beforehand where the polling places were to be all over Australia. But an Act of Parliament must be read according to its provisions. Tha legal members would tell us that we must take what a section says, and not what we think the Legislature meant. This clause states that the Governor-General in Council shall issue a list of polling places, but it does not say that he shall issue that list any time before the election. He might issue it only at the time of the issue of the writ if the Government desired that to be done. There should be some elasticity about the clause, so as to enable a number of electors to get a polling place fixed in a certain locality if they so desired. Otherwise a group- of electors might be overlooked by the chief and the assisting returning officers, and by the Government itself. **Senator Major GOULD** (New South Wales). - The honorable senator, who has' just resumed his seat has instanced a state of affairs that I do not think- would be likely to occur. He thinks that the polling places would not be named until the writ was issued. I take it that the ordinarycourse that would be followed would be that as soon as the divisions were proclaimed the Government would issue a proclamation stating what were to be the various polling places in the division, and would appoint such places as were con- ' sidered necessary. That would be done some time before the issue of the writ, and there would be an opportunity to apply for ' other places to be appointed. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- After the issue of the writ *1* {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Major GOULD: -- No ; after the proclamation of the polling place. I believe that every electorate in Australia contains a large number of polling places that have already been determined upon, and 'will be the polling places at future elections unless they are cancelled in the meantime. Whatever is done must be done openly. But we are told that it will be very inconvenient for a number of people if they cannot get a new polling place fixed even after the writ has been issued. It seems to be forgotten that the electors have the power to vote by post. It may be said that it takes some time to vote by post, but it also takes some time to fix a new polling place. I am sure it. would not be contended that if the polling was to take place on the 15th of the month it should -be possible to establish a new polling place on the 14th of the month. That would be unreasonable, because it would not give sufficient time to the electors generally to know that the new polling place had been established, and would be the means probably of playing into the hands of one candidate. I quite agree that every possible facility should be given to electors to record their votes, but we cannot go to the length of requiring a returning officer to go round and ask every elector to vote as a favour. There is too much of the feeling that it is a trouble to go any distance whatever to record a vote. We cannot have a polling place for every individual elector. There is at present a sufficiency of polling places, but if they are not sufficient, let them be increased before the issue of a writ in any particular constituency. If I thought the balance of advantage was in favour of the amendment, I would support it, but I think the disadvantages, preponderate, and that there are sufficient means afforded for every elector to record his vote if he so desires. **Senator PEARCE** (Western Australia). - We have just listened to a speech from one who has lived for many years in a quiet suburb of one of our largest cities, and whose mind has become so crystallized into that line of life that he is unable to grasp the nature of the life of a great many people in the far distant parts of Australia. The honorable and learned senator very often talks about the importance of the primary industries of this country. On this occasion he is going to inflict a grievous injury upon a great many people who are engaged in one of our great primary industries, namely, mining. I could take the honorable and learned senator to a town that has had a population of 1,000 people, but within a week or two a new gold rush has broken out 50 or 60 miles away, and the greater number of the people have left. In such a case perhaps there is no polling place for 50 miles from the scene of the rush. ButSenator Gould would say that the minersought to have sufficient patriotism and energy to walk to record their votes. Let it be remembered that these are the men who are making this country. The best class of people we have - whether they be farmers or miners - are the men who are opening up the back country. Yet **Senator Gould** says that because these men have the hardihood and pluck to go out into the back districts 50 or 60 miles from a polling place, they should be put to all sorts of trouble and inconvenience if they want to record their votes at election time. There can be no possible means of corruption if we carry this amendment. Who is going to commit a corrupt practice under this provision? What can the candidate do ? All he can ask is that a certain place shall be declared a polling place as soon as circumstances have brought a given number of electors into that particular locality. How can there be any corruption in that ? Nor can there be any corruption on the part of the electors. They can only say that they desire to have a polling place near to where they are living. If there is any corruption on the part of the Government in fixing such polling place, a charge will be brought against them in Parliament, and they will be answerable for their actions. Who, then, can carry out the corrupt practices that have been hinted at? Certainly not the Government, nor the candidates, nor the electors. It seems to me that those who are opposing the amendment do not understand the conditions that exist in some parts of this Commonwealth and the inconveniences to which men are put. When a new agricultural area has been thrown open by the Government in Western Australia, we have had there a population of 100 people within a few weeks. That might be the case after the issue of a writ. Will it be said that, because so many people have gone to a particular area between the time of the issue of the writ and the day of election, they should have to travel 40 or 50 miles on election day if they wish to record their votes Those who oppose this amendment ought to show where the corruption can come in, and who can suffer any inconvenience by making it possible for new polling places to be declared. I cannot see a single objection to it. Take the case of men employed on public works and on railway construction. There may bo a railway camp consisting of 400 or 500 men at a certain place. In a fortnight's time that camp may be 40 or 50 miles away, and as many miles from the nearest polling place. Yet, because these men are engaged in such work, they are to be deprived of a vote unless they are prepared to travel 40 or 50 miles. This Bill is well designed to meet the convenience of city and suburban people, but why should we not also meet the convenience of men who follow migratory occupations? I hope the committee will make the alteration proposed. **Senator DAWSON** (Queensland).- **Senator Gould** asks me whether I would be a party to the Government having power to proclaim a polling booth right up to the eve of an election. I certainly would not. But there is a difference between giving them that power and the power to proclaim a' polling booth after the issue of the writ. The time between the issue of the writ and the polling may be two months, and a great deal may happen in that time. The case put by **Senator Pearce** is a forcible one in regard to men engaged in migratory occupations. It seems to me that the Government, in order to solve the great unemployed problem, would say to those who are worrying the State Treasurer, and finding active employment for **Mr. Fleming** - "If you want to vote you will have to remain in the army of unemployed. If you go to the mallee country we will disfranchise you." It would also operate in another way. It is well known to those who are acquainted with the mining industry, that gold-fields rise and fall from time to time. Charters Towers may be prosperous to-day, and Croydon may be depressed, with the result that a large number of men leave Croydon for Charters Towers in order to follow their occupation there. At some other time the position may be' reversed. These travelling miners would be disfranchised in the event of an election, simply because they had gone from one electorate to another in the same State. Surely **Senator Gould** has noticed that under this Bill an elector cannot vote outside his own division, and can he not imagine a case in which after the issue of a writ, a large section of the population might move, say, from Flinders into the neighbouring electorate of Kennedy ? Some hundreds or thousands might shift in that way according to the inducements offered. Under this provision. the Government would have no power to create a fresh polling booth, and these electors would not be afforded a proper opportunity to record their votes. I have already pointed out a case - and I could give **Senator Gould** many others - in which polling places used for one election were removed on the issue of the writ for the next. Such changes have been made, not because of any lack of population in the districts affected, but because the returning officer has not considered the booths necessary ; sometimes they have, been due to the dishonest practice of the person in authority, who, for party purposes, has not thought it desirable that certain booths should remain. In many instances, notification of the change has been made only upon the issue of the writ. In some cases we have succeeded in getting the old booths restored, but under this provision we should not have an opportunity to do so, because it is distinctly set forth that under no circumstances shall the Government have power to appoint a polling place after the issue of the writ. It is absurd for **Senator Gould** to say that an elector knows before the issue of the writ where the booths will be situate. It is only when it is too late that he learns that a change has been made, and that the privilege which he formerly enjoyed has been taken away. I hope that the good sense of the committee will lead them to reject the amendment made by another place. Question - That the word proposed to be omitted stand part of the amendment - put. The committee divided. AYES: 7 NOES: 14 Majority ... ... 7 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment of the amendment, agreed to. Motion (by **Senator Drake** agreed to - That the amendment be amended by the insertion of the word" closed " after the word " so." Amendment, as amended, agreed to. Amendment in clause 27 agreed to. Amendment in clause 28 disagreed to. Clause 33- All persons qualified to vote at any election for the Senate or House of Representatives, or who would be qualified so to vote if their names were upon a roll, shall be qualified and entitled to have their names placed upon the electoral roll for the division in which they reside. {: #debate-7-s34 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
QUEENSLAND · PROT -- The House of Representatives has omitted the word "reside" at the end of the clause as it left this Chamber, and inserted in lieu thereof the words- "live, but no person shall be qualified or entitled to have his name placed upon more than one roll, or upon any roll other than the roll for the division in which he lives. Provided that any senator or member of the House of Representatives shall, if he so desires, be entitled to have his name placed on, and retained on, the roll for any division he represents instead of the roll for the division in which he lives. It will be necessary to move an amendment in the proviso, inasmuch as a senator will represent a whole State, and not a division. I move - That the amendment be amended by the omission of the word " or," line 5, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " shall, if he so desires,' be entitled to have his name placed on or retained on the roll of any one division of the State he represents, instead of the roll for the division in which he lives, and that any" - Then the amendment will run on as passed by another place. {: #debate-7-s35 .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD:
South Australia -- I see no necessity for the course proposed by the Postmaster-General. I should imagine that in every case an honorable senator will reside in his own State ; and why should he be allowed to remove his name from the roll for the division of the House of Representatives in which he resides to the roll for some other part of the State *1* There is no necessity for it. There is no object to be gained, so far as the Senate is concerned. Of course there is something to be gained so far as the provision relates to members of the House of Representatives, because by causing his name to be removed from the roll of the district in which he resides to that of the electorate which he desires to represent a member would be able to vote for himself. I do not know why the House of Representatives have asked that such a privilege should be allowed, but as they have done so, I have no objection to it. I think the words " senator or " should be struck out of the amendment. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Why should we not have the same right as members of another place? {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- We should have to go into another State in order to exercise it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Why should honorable senators from Western Australia, for ex ample, be disfranchised simply because they have been compelled to reside here for the last twelve months ? {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- But this provision would not help honorable senators so situated. . It would not necessarily give them a vote for Melbourne. Electors are qualified only to vote for the districts in which they reside, but according to this proviso, Members of Parliament will be able to vote in the districts which they represent. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- If the words "or State were inserted I should be able to retain my vote in Western Australia. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- This is only to enable an honorable member to remove his name from the roll of the State in which he resides to some other other place in which he may happen to be. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- It does more than that, because it provides for the retention upon the roll of a name which might otherwise be struck off for absence. The honorable senator will see that the name is to be placed upon the roll, and " retained." {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- That is a point I had overlooked. It appeared to me that the clause was intended only to meet the case of a man representing a particular division, and desiring to have his name on the roll for that division, although he resided in another division. I see that the clause goes a little further, and enables him to keep his name on the roll. There is, however, this awkwardness about it, that it only enables him to have his name, placed on the roll in a division in which he has ceased to reside, and it does not enable him to have his name retained on the roll in the place where he does reside. The clause is exceptionally badly drafted, if the intention is to carry out the view expressed by **Senator Pearce.** If we get our names placed upon the rolls for divisions which we represented before, we shall be entitled to have them retained there ; but that provision is absolutely impossible so far as senators are concerned. A senator cannot shift "from one State into another, and in the majority of instances he will represent the whole of the State in which he has been in the habit of residing. If we desire that honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives, who are compelled to live for a considerable portion of the year out of their divisions or States, shall not be disfranchised, we must insert words which will clearly indicate that that is our intention, and it is certainly not clearly indicated b)7 this clause. {: #debate-7-s36 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- 1 am sorry that the drafting of this amendment does not meet with the approval of **Senator Playford.** If the honorable senator has grasped the idea of the clause, I shall be glad if he will draft an amendment to give effect to it, and allow us to criticise it, because I can assure him that a considerable amount of difficulty has been experienced in drafting this amendment in order to express exactly what was aimed at. The first object is perfectly clear to every honorable senator. What we desire is that no member of the Senate or House of Representatives shall be disfrancished by reason of living out of his particular electorate. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator Playford: -- Then we should say so in plain words. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I wish the honorable senator would suggest the plain words. With regard to a member of the House of Representatives, presuming him to be living at present out of the division which he represents, we say in this clause that his name may be placed on or retained on the roll of the division which he represents, instead of the division in which he lives, and that is perfectly clear. When we come to deal with the case of a senator, we find that he represents the whole of a State, and supposing him to be living in some division outside of that State, we have to provide that he may have his name upon the roll of the State. There is, however, no one roll for a State, but a roll for each division of a State. Who is going to decide the division upon the roll for which his name shall appear, if not the senator himself? Who is going to put his name upon any one particular roll ? Supposing the State is divided into 20 or 30 different divisions, and we provide that the senator is to be upon the roll for one of those divisions, in order that he shall not be disfranchised as a senator ; who is to say upon which of those rolls his name shall appear1 ? If there is no one to decide that, is it not better that we should leave it to the senator himself ? That is what this amendment proposes. The wording of the clause may perhaps be a little complicated and involved, and while I admit that it might possibly be expressed more plain])-, it is to me clear enough .that it says, with regard to a senator, that he may have his name placed upon the roll for some division in his own State. An honorable senator attending here from Western Australia is entitled to have his name enrolled as an elector of Western Australia, and no ' one has a better right than himself to say upon which roll in Western Australia .his name shall appear. It is provided in .this clause that his .name shall be placed or 'retained on the roll for any one division in Western .Australia instead of the roll for the division in which he lives. {: #debate-7-s37 .speaker-K54} ##### Senator Sir FREDERICK SARGOOD:
Victoria -- This amendment covers two rather distinct sub jectsWhat we are at present discussing is really the second portion of the amendment, dealing with the privileges to be given to senators and honorable members of the other House. The first portion of the amendment proposes to omit the word "reside" and insert the word" "live." There must be some reason for that, and I should be glad if the Minister would inform us what it is. The word " reside " is more nearly related to the word "domicile" than the word " live." Perhaps the Minister, as a legal member of the committee, will explain the reason for the amendment. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I can give the honorable senator the immediate reason for the alteration, though perhaps I shall not be able to tell him the original reason for it. The immediate reason is that the term "live" has been substituted for the term " reside " in the Franchise Act. We must of necessity have the same word in the Electoral Bill. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- What is the definition of it ? {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- **Senator Dawson** starts another difficulty. I cannot tell him. The proper time to have raised that question, was when the Franchise Bill was before us. We used the word " live " in the Franchise Bill which has now become an Act, and we must adopt the same term here. I am not prepared to give an exact definition of the word " live." I believe there have been several definitions of the word "reside," but I am not prepared to express an opinion whether the word "live" means exactly the same as the word " reside." It may be a subject for litigation by-and-by, "but I think we are now committed to the use of this new term. **Senator PEARCE** (Western Australia).I wish to raise another point upon this very interesting clause. I raise it for the purpose of allowing the Federal Parliament to be consistent. We have provided for woman's suffrage in our Franchise Act. The exigencies of our public life compel honorable senators representing distant States not only to live here for twelve months, but to bring their wives here also, unless they are prepared to live apart. "Under "this clause it is proposed to allow a senator to retain his right to vote, but his wife will be disfranchised. I think that to be fair to the opposite sex, and to be consistent, seeing that we are giving women a vote under our franchise law, if an honorable senator is allowed to vote in his own State, though public business necessitates his residence in some other State, his wife should be given the same right for the same reason. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- But the wife may be the senator. {: #debate-7-s38 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- We will not contemplate that difficulty until it arises. At present the husband is the senator, and if we are to have sessions such as the present, the wife will be disfranchised. I think that a simple amendment inserting the words "or their wives" would meet the case. I see no reason why the wife of a senator or of a member of the House of Representatives should be disfranchised simply because the exigencies of public business necessitate her living away from the State in which she would have the right to vote if she resided there. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- It is not so much the right to vote with which we are concerned here, but the safeguarding of the position of a senator or a member of the House of Representatives. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I agree that the object is to safeguard his position, but, as **Senator Drake** has himself pointed out, we might have female senators in the future, and their position would not be safeguarded, because they would not be electors. {: #debate-7-s39 .speaker-K6M} ##### Senator CLEMONS:
Tasmania -- I had intended to pursue the question raised by the alteration of the word " live " for the word " reside," but I feel that the PostmasterGeneral has raised an objection which is almost insuperable in explaining that both Houses have committed themselves to the term "live" throughout the Franchise Act. I should like to say briefly that, in my opinion, the word " live " is a most undesirable word to use. "Life "is used in contrast with "death," but that is not our difficulty here. What we require is a word that is in contrast with "absence," and for that reason, if for no other, we should use a word like "reside." I do not think we should use the word " domicile," as there are one hundred and one decisions upon that word. " Live " is certainly an inappropriate word. If **Senator Drake** were to waive the question of harmony with the Franchise Act, and use the word " reside " in this Bill, it would improve it. {: #debate-7-s40 .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS:
Queensland -- I have had some difficulty in coming to a conclusion as to what will be the position of members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives under this clause. I understand that it is proposed that absence upon public business, such as that in which we are at present engaged, shall not debar us from becoming candidates for our States in the event of a dissolution of Parliament. I find that under the Constitution, until Parliament otherwise provides, the qualification for a candidate for the House of Representatives or for the Senate is that he shall be an elector, or be qualified to be an elector. In the first place place, we must be qualified to be electors, and according to the Franchise Bill, we cannot be so qualified unless our names are on the electoral roll. Representatives of Queensland are to all intents and purposes living in Victoria, but I do not want to put my name on the Victorian electoral roll. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- - The proviso says that a senator may put his name on an electoral roll for the division he represents. **Senator PLAYFORD** (South Australia). - A clause ought to be in such plain language that " he who runs may read ; " and when I read this clause I did not gather the meaning as it has now been explained. I had an idea that the clause was intended to help some members of the House of Representatives who represented a district in which they did not reside, and who wanted an extra vote in case of a close election ; but, of course, I saw the absurdity of regarding the position of senators from that point of view. "What we desire is to meet the case of a few members of both Houses who, owing to the fact that they represent distant States, are practically resident in Victoria, and desire to have their names retained on the rolls of the States or divisions which they represent. It would be better to make this clause express clearly what we mean, by simply providing that any senator or member of the House of Representatives who lives out of his State shall, if he so desires, have his name placed on the rolls for that State. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- A member of the House of Representatives is not living out of his State, but out of his division. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- A member of the House of Representatives is living out of his State ; he represents his State as much as does a senator. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- The desire is to give a representative the right to have his name on the roll for the division he represents. {: .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD: -- Our desire is to prevent confusion, and we ought to explain what we really mean. The clause conveyed a wrong impression to my mind, and we ought to make the meaning quite clear. {: #debate-7-s41 .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING:
Western Australia -- I quite appreciate the object **Senator Playford** has in view, but I think it could be accomplished by striking out the words " instead of the roll for the division in which he lives." {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- But it must be made quite clear that a member's name must not be on any other roll. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- Under the Constitution no man can have more than one vote. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- If the words were struck out as suggested, the proviso might override the provision in the Constitution. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- The proviso could not override the provision in the Constitution that no distinction shall be made between men in the matter of votes. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- We do not want to do anything which may have the appearance of being unconstitutional. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- I do not think that the omission of the words would give that appearance. I, like other representatives of distant States, live in Victoria, and, as a matter of fact, I have been struck off the Western Australian rolls because of the absence of my residence qualification. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- According to the proviso the honorable senator may be placed on the roll for the State he represents instead of on the roll for that in which he lives. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- The federal f ranchise is founded on residence in a particular place, and it is clear that the representatives of a distant State cannot comply with that condition. Under the proviso such a senator will have to establish residence before he can be placed on the rolls, and I see no necessity for the words which I have suggested should be omitted. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- The desire is to make the point quite clear. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- But difficulty and doubt are being created without any object, so far as I can see. Motion agreed to. Amendment, as amended, agreed to. Clause 34 (Lists for formation of rolls). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the words " and thereafter every three years." The three years' provision is not necessary, because the work of preparing the lists will be going on continuously. Motion agreed to. Clause 35 (Statistical officer to furnish information). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- In this clause the House of Representatives has inserted the words " or municipality " after the word " State," so as to give municipal officers power to furnish information in connexion with the formation of rolls. {: #debate-7-s42 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
New South Wales -- The clause, as amended, does not state that any officer in the service of a municipality may furnish information, but that "all police, statistical, and electoral officers" may do so. I am not aware that municipalities have police, statistical, or electoral officers in their employ. . The officer of a municipality whose services would be most useful is the clerk, and he is not specified. Would it not be better to say - "or other officer in the employ of the municipality" ? {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I think the clerk of a municipality would be ah electoral officer. If so, the terms of the clause would cover such an official. But I doubt whether it would be wise to extend the scope of the revision so as to make it cover all municipal officers. {: #debate-7-s43 .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Will the term "municipal" apply to divisional boards and shires ? {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator Drake: -- A shire is a municipality, but a divisional board is not. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- It would be well to make the clause read, " State or municipality or other local governing bodies." That would make it wider. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The amendment suggested by **Senator Dawson** would not make the clause clearer, but it certainly would make it wider. Of course, the term " local governing body " would include a municipality, but possibly the term " municipality " would not cover all local governing bodies. I move - >That the word "municipality" be omitted, with the view to insert in lieu thereof the words " local governing body." Motion agreed to. Amendment, as amended, agreed to. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The next amendment in this clause has been made by the House of Representatives for the purpose of making it clear that the information may be obtained for the purpose of revising lists as well as of preparing them. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment inserting the words "or revise." Motion agreed to. Clause 36 (Lists to be publicly exhibited). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- The amendment made by the House of Representatives in clause 36 involves the question of where the lists shall be exhibited. As the clause left the Senate the places mentioned were "police stations, post-offices, and other places within the division as the Commonwealth electoral officer directs." The House of Representatives has inserted the words "State schools." That means that the lists must be exhibited at State schools, and does not leave that matter within the discretion of the officer. {: .speaker-KLW} ##### Senator Glassey: -- Would it not be well to say " State or provisional schools'"! We have not many State schools in some parts of Queensland, but we have a great many provisional schools. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- It is doubtful whether a State school is not a provisional school . It is true that a distinction is made in Queensland, but under this measure divisional schools will be regarded as State schools, because what is meant here is a school under the State. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment inserting the words "State schools." Motion agreed to. Clause 40 (Special court of revision). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- Clause 40 has regard to the constitution of the court of revision. It requires that a returning officer must be a member of the court, and that a police, stipendiary, or special magistrate must sit with him, or, failing such a magistrate, that two or more justices of the peace are to sit as members of the special court. The difference made by the amendment of the House of Representatives is, that instead of all justices of the peace having the right to sit as members of the special court, certain justices will be selected and authorized by the Governor-General. I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the words " residing within the division," and inserting in lieu thereof the words " who are authorized by the Governor-General to sit as members of a special court of revision." {: #debate-7-s44 .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON:
Western Australia -- I strongly object to this amendment. It is a most invidious thing that the GovernorGeneral should be empowered to select certain justices to sit as members of revision courts. The Governor-General can know nothing about the qualifications of a justice of the peace, and will have to be guided by the members of his Cabinet who come from the State affected. Justices of the peace are placed upon the bench by State Governments, and, except for misconduct, are scarcely ever removed. Consequently we get a sprinkling of all parties and classes among them. Now it is suggested that the Governor-General shall make a selection of those particular justices who are favoured by the Ministry in power, and that those are to be the only justices empowered to sit upon the bench. If justices are good enough to administer justice for a State, they are good enough to sit as members of courts of revision. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- It must be borne in mind that we are now dealing with Commonwealth matters. In this case justices are to be asked to exercise functions directly in connexion with the 'Federal Parliament. It is necessary to have justices in all parts of Australia to sit upon these courts, and it is not reasonable that the Federal Executive should not have a say in the selection of the justices authorized to discharge these functions. Otherwise "the justices authorized to discharge Commonwealth functions will have been authorized to do so by a power other than that of the Federal Executive. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- No : they will be authorized by this measure. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- Seeing that the justices will be discharging purely Commonwealth functions, I think that the GovernorGeneral in Council should have the right to select them to perform the duties committed to them under this measure.It is well known that justices of the peace are appointed in the States for a variety of purposes, and to discharge a variety of functions. Many justices of the peace never sit upon the bench, whilst others give up a great deal of time to this particular branch of their public duties, and perform very useful service. It does not seem unreasonable, therefore, that the Governor-General should have the right to select the justices who may be regarded as specially fitted to act as members of the court of revision. **Senator HIGGS** (Queensland). - If this amendment is not agreed to, some provision should be made to prevent justices of the peace who may also be candidates from acting as members of the court of revision. In Queensland, many justices of the peace who were also Members of Parliament, used to take a prominent part in the proceedings at courts of revision, and it was found necessary to provide in the Elections Act in that State, that any candidate for election who took part in the proceedings of a Court of Revision would be liable to a penalty not exceeding £20. If the amendment is agreed *to* it may be taken for granted that the Governor-General will not select as members of the court of revision justices of the peace who are also candidates. Motion agreedto. Amendments in clauses 41, 42, 43, 45, and 47 agreed to. Clause 57. (Addition of new names). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -Imove - >That the amendment, inserting new paragraph *"(c)* Lists, prepared by the Commonwealth electoral officer in each State." be amended by the omission of the words, " Commonwealth electoral officer in each State," with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, " returning officer for each division." It is the returning officer for each division who prepares the lists. **Senator MATHESON** (Western Australia.) - Whilst thoroughly approving of this amendment, I desire to point out that when I proposed to alter the Bill in this way, when it was previously under discussion in this Chamber, the Vice-President of the Executive Council said that it was absolutely . unnecessary to make such a provision. I am glad that my view has been supported by the eminent legal members of the House of Representatives. There is no doubt that this paragraph is rendered absolutely necessary by the Constitution, and that the Bill would have been unworkable without it. Motion agreed to. Amendment, as amended, agreed to. Amendments in clause 60 agreed to. Clause 64 (Limit of time for transfer). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the clause. It is considered that there is no necessity for a provision that no application to transfer shall be registered within three clear days prior to the date for taking the poll at any election. **Senator PEARCE** (Western Australia). - I would point out that clause 67 gives the right of transfer up to the date of the issue of the writ only, and I suggest that we should insist upon this clause in a modified form. The reason why the House of Representatives objected to transfers being given up to within three days of the election was that in the case of an election in a city constituency the rolls might be swamped by the transfer of electors from adjoining constituencies in which no contests were taking place. We might reasonably provide for registering transfers up to the date of nomination. This would prevent the manipulation of votes in such a way as to transfer party supportfrom electorates in which no contests were taking place into others where keen party fights were being conducted. If, on the other hand, we go to the extreme of preventing electors from having their transfers registered after the issue of the writ we shall limit their convenience too much. We have provided sufficient safeguards against electors recording their votes more than once, and we should afford every facility for the transfer of votes after the issue of the writ - when interest in political matters is in many cases first aroused - up to the date of nomination. What possible harm canaccrue if we give an elector the power to transfer his vote up till the date of nomination *1* Seeing that we have already provided that a voter can exercise the franchise in *one* division only, I am disposed to think that we should adhere to the clause in its original form. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- - I should have drawn the attention of the committee to some other clauses in the Bill which have not-yet been reached, and in which amendments havebeen made which remove all the objections referred to by **Senator Pearce.** Itwill be seen that, if we agree to the amendment made by the other Chamber, clause 64 will be unnecessary. Then clause 67 states - >Claims and applications for transfer received by the returning officer or registrar before the issue of the writmay be registered after theissue of the writ, but otherwise no addition to or alteration of the roll for any division shall be made between the issue of a writ for an election in the division and the close of the poll at the election. It will be seen, therefore, that any application for a transfer must be received before the issue of the writ, so that the objections urged by **Senator Pearce** do not apply. Motion agreed to. Clause 65 (Alteration of rolls). {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendments inserting the word "obvious" after the word "any," omitting the words "in spelling" and inserting in lieu thereof the words " or omission " This clause contains certain provisions relating to the alteration- of the rolls, by the returning officer or electoralregistrar. In the form in which it left this House, the returning officer was empowered to correct any mistake in spelling. The other Chamber has altered the clause so that he is now empowered to correct " any obvious mistake or omission," which words cover a wider area. Motion agreed to. Motion (by **Senator Drake)** agreed to - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the word " residence," in paragraph (a), and inserting the words " place of living." Amendments in clauses 67,72, 74, 77, 78, and 80 agreed to. Glause 86 - >If any objection is not established, the court may award to the person objected to a reasonablesum, to bepaid by the objector, for costs ; but no costs shall be awarded against an officer if the court is satisfied that in objecting the officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds. Motion (by **Senator Drake)** proposed - >That the committee agree to the amendment omitting the word " reasonable " and inserting the words "not exceeding £5," after the word " sum." {: #debate-7-s45 .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
New SouthWales -- Whilst this appears to be a very fair provision, which will enable the Court of Revision to mulct in costs any person who lodges a frivolous objection, I think that the clause in its. original form was better, and that £5 is rather an excessive fine to inflict. ' SenatorDRAKE.-In extreme cases I scarcely think that a fine of £5 would be deemed excessive. Any person who makes a . frivolous objection may put an elector to very great trouble and expense in protecting his rights, and, therefore, I think that the clause is preferable in its present form. Motion agreed to. {: #debate-7-s46 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- I move - That the committee agree to the amendment inserting the following new clause : - " 98a - No person who is at the date of nomination, or who was at any time within fourteen days prior to the date of nomination, a member of the Parliament of the State shall be capable of being nominated as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives." This is a provision which imposes certain restrictions upon persons who may be nominated for election. I am informed that some of the States have enacted legislation providing that members of the Commonwealth Parliament shall not be eligible to become candidates for the States Parliaments. I do not say that this provision has been inserted as a sort of reprisal ; I merely mention the fact that such legislation does exist in several of the States. No doubt, under ordinary circumstances, it would be almost impossible for any individual to efficiently discharge the dual duties which would attach to him as a member of the Commonwealth and State Legislatures. I presume that the object of providing a disqualification of this kind is to ensure that a candidate shall not be a member of a State Parliament when he is nominated for a seat in this Parliament, in which case he would have the option of sitting in either. Very few individuals, however, would attempt such a task. There has been considerable discussion upon the clause in another place, and I hope that my proposal will be accepted. {: #debate-7-s47 .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS:
Queensland -- I have not altered my view regarding this clause. I think it is narrow and illiberal. Had such a provision been operative when the first elections for this Parliament took place, I am certain that it would have been very differently constituted. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator Fraser: -- That might be a very good thing. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- I dare say that is the opinion of some Victorians, but I do not know that Queenslanders hold the same view. I believe that four out of five of the exmembers of the States Parliaments who now hold seats in the Commonwealth Legislature would have declined to become candidates had they been compelled to risk their seats in the States Legislatures. This provision is liable to give outsiders the impression . that members of the Commonwealth Parliamentwish to diminish the opposition which is likely to be shown to them when they next have to face the electors. As far as the Senate is concerned, I hardly think that any candidate will have a chance of being returned to it unless he has had parliamentary experience, and it is too much to ask a State member to resign his seat before he can become eligible for election. I know a State in which if a member of the Opposition resigned his seat in order to contest an election for this Parliament, the writ to fill the vacancy thus created would be at once issued. If, on the contrary, a Government supporter desired to run for a Commonwealth electorate, the issue of the writ would probably be deferred till after the election had taken place, thus giving him an opportunity, if defeated, of retaining his position in the State Legislature. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator Fraser: -- That would be impossible under the law. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- Not necessarily. The writs for the Federal Parliament are to be issued on a certain date, and nominations may be made from seven days to a month later. Theelections may take place seven days after nomination, so that a period of about three weeks would be covered. It would be quite possible for a State Government to hold over the issue of a writ until after the federal elections had been decided. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- The issue of a writ in that way is generally provided for by Act of Parliament. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- But there is at least a month allowed. My view is that this clause will, if carried, restrict the choice of the electors. If we do our duty to the electors and desire to seek reelection we should have sufficient confidence to face any opposition, whether it be that of a Minister of the Crown or of an ordinary member of a State Parliament. I believe that some honorable senators are under the impression that certain State Ministers of the Crown will attempt to secure seats in the Federal Parliament, but that they would not do so if it were necessary for them to resign their seats in the States Houses before becoming candidates. I think the fear is groundless. I do not know of any member of the Queensland State Ministry who is patriotic enough to come down here and do his duty as a member of the Federal Parliament. When the first Federal Cabinet was formed, the greatest difficulty was experienced in securing a member of the Queensland State Government to join it. Some of the prominent men of Queensland, including Ministers of the Crown, who were most indefatigable in their efforts to induce the people of Queensland to enter the Federation, were not prepared to assist in the work of the Federal Parliament after the inauguration of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator Fraser: -- They could not neglect their business. I know cases in which that was so. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- Then I venture to say that they will not be prepared to neglect their business in order to take part in the next federal elections. Therefore, the opposition, if any, from this quarter will be confined to ordinary members of the States Parliaments. Although there are excellent members of this Parliament who have had no experience in the States Legislatures, I hold that a man is far better equipped for the performance of his duties here if he has served an apprenticeship in a State House. If we pass this clause, a State member will be called upon to resign his seat before becoming a candidate at a federal election. A State member might be induced to come forward by the presentation of lengthy requisitions, only to be defeated. He might be misled by his enthusiastic friends. It might suit certain persons to endeavour to get rid of a State member by such a subterfuge. They might induce him to stand, knowing that his seat in the State Parliament would be filled, and that he would have no chance of election to the Federal Legislature. We must ask ourselves plainly what is the object of this clause. What can it be but a desire to make the Federal Parliament a close corporation for those who already constitute it ? {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- What ! With a sixteen months' session ? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Senator HIGGS: -- I do not think we are likely to have another session of such length. I believe that we shall probably be here for six or eight months at a time, and I do not think that any member of a State Parliament will be able to undermine the position of a member of this Legislature who does his duty. Surely there is a certain prestige attaching to the position of a member of this Legislature which should assist him "in his return if he desires to seek re-election. Some honorable senators have an idea that, while they are away from their States attending to their parliamentary duties in Melbourne, certain State members are undermining them - that by various means they are currying favour with the voters in a way that will lead to the dethronement of more than one federal legislator and to the return of ex-State members. Perhaps it may be so in regard to members of the House of Representatives. A State member may be making himself popular in a ' particular electorate, with -a view to become a candidate for the Federal Parliament. " But it would . be impossible for him to secure the expenditure of Government moneys on roads and bridges throughout the whole of a State, and as the State is polled as one electorate for the Senate, we need have no fear in that respect. There is a principle at stake in any event, and that is that if we pass this clause we shall restrict the choice of the electors. This matter may not be particularly interesting just now to the general public. Probably those interested in it consist only of State members who desire to become members of this Legislature and members of the Federal Parliament.' But I understand that quite a number of people have been laughing at the position of the State members. To use the words of the Victorian Treasurer, this clause is one of the chickens that have come home to roost. Certain State members were quite willing to vote against Federal members becoming members of the State Parliaments, but when the next election comes round, I venture to say that the general public will find that it is a disadvantage to be confined in this way in their choice. If I had been called upon to resign my seat in the State Parliament before contesting the elections for the Senate I should not have done so, and honorable senators would not have had the benefit of my world-wide experience, and of my speeches on the Tariff. That is one reason why honorable senators should not pass this clause. I do not think that the course proposed is a dignified one to adopt. As a matter of principle the clause is wrong, and I shall vote against it. {: #debate-7-s48 .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'KEEFE:
Tasmania -- I was one of those who, when the Bill was last before us, opposed an amendment moved by **Senator Neild,** which was much the same as this. I think that the clause goes too far, aud that some modification might well be accepted. If it provided that no member of a State Parliament should be capable of sitting as a member of the Federal Parliament it would go quite far enough. I agree with **Senator Higgs** that we should be wanting in dignity if we passed this clause, and that it would have the serious effect of restricting the choice of the electors. I speak as one who is not a member of a State Parliament, and therefore I cannot be charged with bias. I recognise that the electors have rights which must be considered just as well as those of members, or intending members, of this Parliament. The clause savours too much of a desire to guard the interests of members as against those of the electors. While we should make it impos.sible for a man to hold a seat in the Federal as well as in a State Parliament, we should do all that we can to widen the choice of the electors. If the clause were altered in the way I have suggested, I should support it', but as it stands I am opposed to it. I believe the electors should have a right to bring, out any candidate they desire, whether he be a member of the State Parliament or not, and that a. State member should not be asked to resign his seat before contesting a federal election. This Parliament should not have laid itself open to the charge of retaliation. If the clause applied only to members of the State Parliaments, for which members of the Federal Parliament are debarred, from standing, before resigning their federal membership, it would not be so bacl. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- There is only one State Parliament which has not raised that bar. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'KEEFE: -- I can quite understand the electors of that State feeling aggrieved by this clause. In the interests of the electors themselves, this is not a fair provision to make. {: #debate-7-s49 .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON:
Western Australia -- I feel that this is a most illiberal clause. Of course there can be no doubt that it is an act of retaliation against the States Legislatures which have passed a similar provision. I understand, however, that members of several of those Parliaments propose, if possible, to rescind, the provision which debars members of this Legislature from standing for State Houses; but whether they do so or not, I uo not think we ought to condescend to retaliate in this way. When the measure debarring a Federal member from standing, for a. seat in the State Parliament came before the Western Australian Legislature I opposed it strongly, but without success, and although I am afraid this clause will be agreed to, it will not have my support. I think that, in any event, it might be considerably modified, and I move - >That the amendment be amended by the omission of the words " or who was at any time within fourteen days prior to the date of nomination. " The clause would then read - >No person who is at the date of nomination a member of the Parliament of a State, shall be capable of being, nominated as a senator or as- a member of the House of Representatives. That would into line with existing. State legislation, and even those who sug-gest that we ought to retaliate would not say that we should go further than the State Legislatures have. gone. I do not desire to be misunderstood in this- matter. I. move the amendment: in order to have the clause amended if. possible. If the amendment is agreed to, I shall then be prepared to vote against the clause as amended, because I desire to see it struck out altogether. My difficulty is that I fear we should not be able to carry a motion to disagree with the clause. {: #debate-7-s50 .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING:
Western Australia -- I quite agree with previous speakers who have said that this clause is illiberal in its present form. I had an amendment drafted to the same effect as that moved by **Senator Matheson.** The position I take up in the matter is that, the intention expressed by five of the Legislatures of the various States has been to the effect that it is undesirable to have federal members struggling with State members in election contests. Seeing that Western Australian representatives are supposed to be returned to the Federal Parliament, and particularly to the Senate, first of all, to safeguard the interests of their State they should live at harmony with the members of the State Parliament. That, so far as I can understand, is the only reason why the members of- the State Parliament of Western Australia prohibited members of the Federal Parliament from standing, for their seats. They think it is not desirable .that members of the Federal Parliament should be entering, into political conflicts with their colleagues in the various States Parliaments, if I may so term them. I think the Western Australian Parliament has been right in that. The moment a. federal, member desires to enter into conflict with his colleagues in a State Parliament he should follow the principle that has recently been approved by five of the States Parliaments of the Commonwealth, and should cease to be a member of one Parliament before he -seeks election for another. The same principle is applied as being desirable as between members of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate; If I disagree with the action of one of my Western Australian friends in the House of Representatives the Constitution says, that I shall not oppose him unless I am prepared to resign, my seat here first. In the- same way, if he disagrees with me he cannot oppose me until he has resigned his seat in the House of Representatives. Then, in 'the Constitution of the various States, the same principle is in force. It is, at all events, in force in Western Australia, where a member of the Upper House cannot stand as a candidate for election to the Lower House. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col Neild: -- Or anywhere else. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- I am speaking, of what I know, and I am glad to find that the Constitution in Western Australia is not singular in that respect. When we have the same principle approved by the various States of the Commonwealth in. their Parliaments assembled, why should we depart from it? Let honorable senators remember that this is a principle which has controlled British Parliaments for years past ; it is not a thing of to-day, and, therefore, it is not a principle of retaliation, nor is it the outcome of legislative enactments recently passed by States Legislatures. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- Yes; it is. The inclusion of this clause in the Bill is due to them. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- I am talking not of the inclusion of this clause, but of the principle upon which members of one legislative body in a State are prohibited from contesting a seat with a member of another legislative body in the same State. SenatorO'Keefe. - This clause was not in the original Bill. {: .speaker-JYQ} ##### Senator EWING: -- The honorable senator must see that I am not dealing with this clause, but with the principle that underlies it, and that principle is one which has been followed for a very long time past. It is admitted to be highly undesirable that members of one Parliament should be struggling, at the polling-booths with mem1 bers of another', while they still retain their seats. I agree with **Senator O'Keefe** that the clause as it stands is illiberal. It is an endeavour to introduce into this Bill a principle which has never been approved before. It is an endeavour to make these gentlemen, resign before they nominate, and until they nominate they are not candidates. I think, therefore, that **Senator Matheson's** amendment ought to be carried, and I am prepared to vote with him to remove the words compelling members to resign fourteen days before the day of nomination. That will leave the provision just as it has been left in. all the various States Constitutions ; just as it has been approved of by the people of Australia in the Commonwealth Constitution, and just, as I believe, the various States in the Commonwealth have approved of it in their recent legislation. I do not believe for a moment that they have passed such a provision for the purpose of preventing competition for their own seats. They have done it simply because they have thought it undesirable to have a conflict of this kind. I think it right so long, as I am a Member of the Federal Parliament that I should attend to my own business as a Member of this Parliament, and should not meddle with the State Parliament in connexion with local matters. The moment we, as federal members, begin to put our fingers into the State pies we shall have trouble unlimited. I think it wise that a Member of the Federal Parliament should endeavour to divorce himself as far as possible from interference with merely local State affairs. The Constitution contemplates that, and affirms that it is undesirable that we should be interfering in the same sphere. Therefore, in carrying out the provision of this clause, subject to the amendment to which I have referred, we shall be carrying out all that the Constitution contemplates, all that the various States Constitutions provide for and approve, and all the principles that recent State legislation in five out of the six States of the Commonwealth has affirmed. **Senator MILLEN** (New South Wales). - There is only one remark which I should like to make in regard to the proposed new clause, which I intend to support. It has been said that it will limit the choice of the electors. I would remind honorable senators that there are several limitations upon the choice of electors in this Bill. The very qualification of a candidate is a limitation. But so far as this limitation is concerned, it seems to me to be a very proper one. We have a limitation, whether in law or practice I am not prepared to say, which is that a civil servant who wishes to become a candidate for Parliament must first resign his position in the civil service. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- A wholesome rule, too. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- A very excellent rule. I regard the proposed new clause as being on all fours with that. I know that the present leader of the free-trade party, **Mr. Reid,** was called upon to resign a position he held in the Treasury before he ventured to seek the suffrages of the electors of East Sydney. It would be a preposterous thing if officers in the civil service were competent to become candidates for Parliament. {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- Why ? {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- I do not propose to answer the question, because *it* seems to me to be so obvious that members of the civil service should refrain from participating in active politics if we are not .to have here the conditions which prevail in American politics. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Because whatever is, is right. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN: -- No; but because that which is proved to have worked well for a long time is justified. I do not propose to occupy time in dealing with the absurdity of permitting public servants, without resigning their positions, to become candidates for Parliament. A member of a State Legislature is a servant of the electors in the same sense that we are, and if he wishes to seek another position which may bring him into conflict with the Parliament of which he is then a member, he should first of all resign the position which he occupies. It has been stated that five of the States have passed legislation of this kind. I am not prepared to believe for a moment that in doing so they were animated by anything but a sound regard for the principle I have stated. I should not like to think that they were animated merely by a desire to protect the seats of their own members. I think that, as has been pointed out by **Senator Ewing,** there lias been sound principle underlying their action, and they have considered that it is extremely undesirable that a member of one Parliament should become a candidate for a seat in another, just as the Constitution of every State Parliament recognises that it is undesirable that a member of one House should become a candidate for a seat in the other.I do not know whether it has occurred to honorable senators that,' unless this or a similar clause is adopted, it will be possible for any one holding the position of a Minister of the Crown in a State Legislature to become also a member of the Federal Executive. Of course there is a provision in the Constitution that within three months after accepting office here he is required to find a seat, but within that three months, unless some such clause as this is adopted, he could be at the same time a State and a Federal Minister. There would be nothing to prevent him being the Premier of a particular State and at the same time a member of this Chamber or of the House of Representatives. Are honorable members prepared to say that that would be desirable, or that it is an unfair limitation upon the choice of the electors if we say that such a state of affairs shall not be brought about *1* If the principle is a sound one as applied to a Minister of the Crown in a State Parliament, it is equally sound as applied to an ordinary member. With regard to the restrictions placed upon us by the States Parliaments, I do not know whether honorable members have taken the trouble to look them up. I do.not propose to read them, but there is a remarkable unanimity, both in the language employed and in the directness with which they have stated their wishes in this matter. Tasmania does not appear to have gone quite so far as the other States, but the difference is a nominal one, and the State Parliaments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania may be said to have prohibited a federal member from becoming a candidate for either of their legislative Chambers. It should be stated that these laws passed by the various States have not been arrived at hastily, or in any illconsidered manner. I know that, in my own State of New South Wales, the principle has been affirmed in the State Parliament on several occasions. I cannot, in accordance with my views of my duty as a State representative, conceive that I am called upon here to fly in the teeth of the opinion expressed so frequently in my own State, and registered on several occasions in the Parliament of that State. {: #debate-7-s51 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Tasmania -- I should be sorry indeed to see the committee go back upon the decision arrived at when a motion similar to this was submitted to us when dealing with this Bill on a previous occasion. A motion of this character was submitted, and when it came to a division I think there were only two honorable senators who found themselves in favour of it. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT **-Col. Neild.** - It would be as well if the honorable and learned senator looked up the history of the matter. He will find that there was no division. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I think **Senator Neild** just cleared out of ( the chamber to avoid the division, or rather it was in consequence of his clearing out of the chamber that no division took place. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col Neild: .- I do not think that the honorable and learned senator should make remarks of that kind. His memory should tell him that he is making a statement which is not true. I am sorry his memory is so faulty. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- I am sorry that the honorable senator should find any necessity for getting into a heat over this matter. So far as I, and I think others, remember, he was associated with a motion requesting the committee of the Senate to accept an amendment of this character, and when the crucial moment came the honorable senator was not, as I believe, ready to support his motion. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- - Does the honorable and learned senator always desire to see the Senate stand to its previous resolutions ? {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- Not necessarily, but I think that in this case it is very desirable that honorable senators should adhere to their previous decision. I think that another place, in agreeing to an amendment of this character, must have been motived to a certain extent, cither consciously or unconsciously, by the fact that in several of the States Legislatures a disability has been imposed upon federal members who might desire to represent constituencies in the States Parliaments. I do not think it is our duty to indulge in anything that may be characterized as reprisal. Whatever may be the strict letter of the Constitution, and of the powers vested in us, as to imposing disabilities on certain persons in elections for this Parliament, we should do nothing that will in any way derogate f rom the right of every elector to have the widest possible range of choice. Let the States Parliaments impose what disabilities they may on Federal members, that is no argument why we should indulge in anything which savors of reprisal. **Senator Millen** has referred to the possible case of a State Minister of the Crown standing for a Federal constituency, and has pointed out that such a candidate would have a great advantage over others. The advantage may be admitted, but I do not concede that the position of a representative in a State Parliament affords any analogy to the position of a man who is in the permanent service of a State. I see no analogy in this connexion between a State Minister and a civil servant, a man who holds an executive, though not a legislative position - who occupies a position of a permanent character, either during good behaviour or under the terms of a Civil Service Act. A legislator derives his position simply from the choice of the people, and he occupies it for one, or it may be several Parliaments. At any rate, the position is occupied not as ordinarily a permanent one is, but only during the concurrence of two circumstances - his desire to remain in the position, and a simultaneous desire on the part of the electors to keep him there. We must not deny to electors the right to select any elector who chooses to present himself as eligible for the position of Commonwealth representative. The whole scope of the Constitution is that every person whohas the right to vote for the more numerous. House in the Parliament of any State shall have the right to vote for both Houses of' the Federal Parliament, and, further, that every elector shall be eligible for election to. the Commonwealth Parliament, not necessarily for the State in which he resides, but for any electorate throughout theCommonwealth. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -Col. Neild. - That is not so. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING: -- That is the spirit of the Constitution. I am not professing to quote literally, but that was the principlewhich the Convention intended, to, as far as. possible, imbed in the Constitution. If we now agree on a proposal such as that submitted by the other House we shall be 'departing from the principle which has been recognised throughout the Commonwealth, and indulging in a reprisal that is unworthy of the Federal Parliament. The restrictions which have been imposed on Federal members by certain of the State Legislatures have already been referred to, and **Senator Millen** was good enough to say that Tasmania had, perhaps, not gone- sofar as some of the other States. Most honorable members will, I think, be willing to admit that in most of the little matters which have involved friction between the States and the Federal authorities, Tasmania has always "played the game." It would be very undesirable to pay too much regard to the particular case which has been cited as an illustration of the evils which may arise, owing to the absence of such a provision as is now proposed - the particular case of a Minister of the Crown. If a man occupies a Ministerial position in one of. the States, why should he be asked to resign, and relieve himself of the discharge of his duties simply in order to ask the electors to say whether, in their opinion, he is desirable or eligible to represent them in the Commonwealth Legislature *1* It may be that the electors would think him fit to represent them in the Senate or the House of Representatives, but at the same time be of opinion that his energies and ability could be better employed in the State Legislature. Why, under these circumstances, should a man be asked to resign his position in the State Parliament? When the Senate considered this matter previously, attention was drawn to the attitude of some of the States Legislatures, and the result of the discussion was that the Senate almost unanimously opposed anything in the nature of imposing disabilities on electors simply because for the time being they happen to occupy responsible positions in the State. The circumstances have not in any way altered, or, if they have, it can only be to the extent of causing us to indulge in reprisals ; and the Senate would do well to maintain the attitude assumed when the question was last before us. {: #debate-7-s52 .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- It has already been pointed out that five out of the six Legislatures which go to make up the Commonwealth have declared in favour of the principle submitted to us by the House of Representatives. The sixth State, Queensland, has not expressed an opinion one way or the other, and as a matter of fact, a man, at the present time, may be a member of both the Queensland Parliament and the Federal Parliament. There was absolutely no necessity for Queensland members of this Senate to resign their seats in the State Parliament: at any rate they were not called upon by law to do so. {: .speaker-K6D} ##### Senator Staniforth Smith: -- **Senator Ferguson** is still a member of the Queensland Parliament. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- **Senator Ferguson** is a member of the nominee Chamber in Queensland. Of course he is still a member of the Queensland Parliament, and I do not think that a very desirable position. **Senator Ferguson** cannot do his duties here and also in the Queensland Parliament. By agreeing to the amendment of the House of Representatives we are not limiting the choice of the electors. The clause does not say that a member of any State Parliament shall not be elected to either of the federal Houses, but provides only that a member of the State Parliament shall resign his seat on becoming a candidate for the Federal Parliament. One honorable senator after another has described the proposed clause as most illiberal. No doubt the trading public regard the Minister for Trade and Customs as very illiberal because he will not allow general smuggling, though other people regard such illiberality as very desirable at the present time. If a State member who becomes a federal candidate were allowed to retain his seat he would enjoy an unfair advantage over other candidates. He holds a particular position, and would risk nothing, seeing that in every one of the States there is payment of members, and in that way his expenses would be paid by the taxpayers. {: .speaker-K7R} ##### Senator Styles: -- And a State member has a free railway pass. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Federal members also have free railway passes, but their salary does not go on during a federal election. {: .speaker-K7R} ##### Senator Styles: -- But outside candidates have no free passes. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- That is so. It appears that we are giving to State members an unfair advantage, which, according to the recent action of the States Parliaments, they do not desire to possess. {: .speaker-JZ9} ##### Senator O'Keefe: -- In Tasmania outside candidates have free passes. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Supposing all the States of the Commonwealth were to follow the liberal example of Tasmania, that would not square the account as between a State member and an outsider, in view of the fact that payment of members covers expenses. I certainly shall vote for the amendment or **Senator Matheson.** {: #debate-7-s53 .speaker-K6J} ##### Senator CHARLESTON:
South Australia -- On a previous occasion I spoke and was prepared to vote against the inclusion of a similar clause, and I am still opposed to the principle underlying the proposal. We should not place restrictions on the candidature of any person. I shall vote in the first place for the amendment of **Senator Matheson,** and whatever be the fate of that amendment, I shall vote against the clause. I earnestly hope the committee will remain firm to the opinion expressed on a previous occasion. {: #debate-7-s54 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- We have in the proposed clause excellent evidence of how far the most democraticallyminded individuals become conservative when they enter Parliament. We have heard a great deal from several senators about the great principle which underlies this clause, but to my mind there isonly one principle discoverable - namely, that of self-preservation. We want to erect round ourselves a ringed fence. . We do not want any intruders in the field, but to keep this Parliament a close preserve for ourselves. In that, I am sorry to say, we appear to be following the bad example set by the States Parliaments. What was the motive which actuated the States Parliaments ? It was the fear of federal members - the fear of the higher prestige obtained by members of the Federal Parliament and that the latter would prevail when met in the arena Honorable senators say that this clause has not been inserted in a retaliatory spirit. It appears to me, however, that that is the. spirit displayed, no matter how much honorable senators may protest. We stand on the apex of Commonwealth Government. We are the supreme legislative machine of Australia, and we ought to show the inferior machines a good example, and be above all narrow-minded littleness. We should not give way to the prevalent conservatism. As the Commonwealth Constitution has granted the franchise to all the people of Australia, so we ought to throw open representation in this Parliament as freely as possible to every person. **Senator Ewing** has dealt very fully with this question as a principle which has been long established. Where has it been long established *1* We have not had a federation in Australia until .now, so that it could not have been established here. Great Britain is not a federation, so that there is no precedent there. I do not know what is done in Canada, bu t I hope they have not adopted this narrow-minded idea of debarring certain persons from standing as candidates for the Dominion Parliament. **Senator Dawson** has mentioned that unless a State member resigned his seat he would be in the position of having his railway pass, and the State would be paying a portion of his election expenses, while he was contesting the federal election ; and in that way, it is irged, he would be in a superior position' to his opponents. My idea is that the State ought to pay the travelling expenses of candidates for Parliament. When a man offers his services to the public as a representative, if he can get a sufficient number of electors to support him, the State should pay his travelling expenses by rail during the period of his candidature. This should be done, not in the interest of the candidate, but in the interest of the State itself. 4.3 h 2 If the cost of elections be increased, it is made more and more difficult for poor men to enter Parliament. Instead of raising barriers .against poor citizens, we should try to level them down. Instead of taking a backward and reactionary step like the present, we should try to go forward, improving our political machine, enlarging our ideas, liberalizing our views, and placing ourselves in line with modern notions. I condemn -what is proposed on democratic principles. This is the very same style of conservatism as we find in Great Britain. Members of Parliament there object to payment of members for the very same reason as this clause has been inserted in the Bill - because they know perfectly well that nine-tenths of them would be swept away as by a tempest if payment of members were instituted. Being desirous of saving their own skins, they object to payment of members. Why have many of the electors hitherto objected to the franchise being lowered, and to others than themselves being empowered to vote *1* For the very same reason again - because they were afraid that the new power that would be created would operate to their disadvantage. We perceive the very same kind of conservatism operating in this case, and I very much regret that it is as rampant in this Federal Parliament as in the States Parliaments. I had hoped that we should rise to -a level higher than anything previously achieved in Australia. I regret that, instead of that, we are falling lower. We are levelling down rather than levelling up. We ought not to adopt this dog in the manger clause. Nothing but fear of their own skins animated the House of Representatives in putting the provision in the Bill - nothing but a desire to retain their seats. There was no consideration for the public, or for the common good, or for what was desirable in the interests of the elector. The electors appear to have been ignored- altogether in this connexion. The whole trouble appears to be about what is going to happen to the members. My conception of government is that it ought to be . conducted in the interests of the people. What is best for the people ought to be done in every instance. How can it injure the electors if a member of the State Parliament is permitted to stand as a candidate for the Federal Parliament without resigning his seat ? Who will be injured *1 .* Not a single soul in the Commonwealth. If he fails, the State in which he resides is not put to the expense of another election, which would be the case if he were compelled to resign. If he succeeds, he can proceed to the higher Parliament, and vacate his seat in the lower. If, on the other hand, the amendment inserted in the Bill be passed, the choice of the electors will be restricted. It is all very well for **Senator Dawson** to say that this clause would not prevent any man from becoming a candidate ibr the Federal- Parliament. I wish to ask the honorable senator this question : If he had had to resign his position in the Queensland Parliament before he could become a candidate for the Senate, would he have done so ? I do not think he would. I am certain that I should not. " A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." That operates all round. I trust that in the interests of the public, and of the electors of the Commonwealth, this clause will not be agreed to. I hope that the Senate will treat it as it treated a previous attempt to graft the same idea upon our electoral law, and will throw it out. **Senator DAWSON** (Queensland).- In answer to the question asked of me by **Senator Stewart,** I should like to point out that this is the first Federal Parliament, and is in an entirely different position from any subsequent Parliament. When I was elected there were different circumstancesoperating than will operate in regard to any future Parliament. I can ease the mind of the honorable senator to this extent - that had it been the law at the time I was elected that I should resign my seat in the State Parliament before I could become a candidate for the Federal Parliament, I certainly should not have done so. It so happens that I had ' no desire whatever to become a candidate for the Federal Parliament, and my experience since becoming a member of it has convinced me that my original impression was the correct one. I have had about as much of Melbourne as I want, and about as much of federal politics as I care to have. I know now .that I should have been better in health and better off in pocket if I had remained in Queensland. But what I want to know is : where does the disability -to the elector come in, and where is he limited in his choice by the adoption of the proposal before the committee *t* We do not prevent the electors from selecting any man who is qualified to become a candidate for federal honours. AH that is demanded of him is that he shall start from scratch the same as any one else. Let there be fair contests between candidates, and do not let us create a special set of circumstances for the benefit of certain candidates. **Senator Stewart** knows perfectly well that candidates for election to State Parliaments are not encouraged to come out unless they have a reasonable prospect of success. The law is that a deposit has to be lodged by a candidate. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -Col. Neild. - That is a restriction, surely. {: .speaker-JTV} ##### Senator DAWSON:
QUEENSLAND · ALP -- Of course it is. It is an intimation to the intending candidate that he must satisfy himself that he can command a certain amount of support to justify his candidature or otherwise he will be penalised. That is not wrong, because elections cost the State money, and it is in order to safeguard the Treasury that a deposit is ' demanded from the candidate to guarantee that he will have a -reasonable amount of support to justify his candidature before he offers himself for election. It is on precisely the same principle that we ask the State member to take some risk. It would be quite easy for a State member, having his seat in the State Parliament reserved, to come along for any sort of reason and offer himself as a candidate, if only to harass or embarrass another candidate, unless some such guarantee as this were required. **Senator Stewart** says that he believes in the Government paying the travelling expenses of candidates. But he is not proposing that all candidates shall have their travelling expenses paid, . but that a particular little coterie, simply by the accident of occupying a certain position at the time, shall not only have their travelling expenses paid, but shall also be receiving a salary at the same time. In the State of Queensland, during the months when an election contest is in progress, a State member would be receiving £25 a month to assist him in carrying on his candidature. I say that that is monstrous. Even if the committee believed that it was a correct principle for the Federal Government to pay the travelling expenses of all candidates seeking federal honours, still it would not be right not to pass this clause, because it only provides that certain candidates shall not be placed at an advantage in comparison with others. {: #debate-7-s55 .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
New South Wales -- I do not care to give a silent vote upon this question. Sent here, as I am, to assist "in representing an entire State, I do not feel I should be justified in voting against a principle which has been deliberately enacted by that State through its Parliament, the principle that a member of one parliament shall not become a candidate for a seat in another. In New South Wales a limitation as to candidature for seats in the State Parliament by members of the Commonwealth Parliament has been placed upon the statute-book, and although an attempt was made last night to reopen the matter in the Legislative Assembly in Sydney, it seems to have proved . a most melancholy failure. Attention was directed to the question, on a motion for the adjournment of the House, by a gentleman who has not been a member of any Parliament for more than three months. The only supporter of his proposal appears to have been 'a gentleman who was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the Federal Parliament. The New South Wales Parliament has decreed that a certain embargo shall be placed upon members of this Parliament, and I do not think that I should be justified in voting against a provision which is the counterpart of that contained in the State Act, I think there is a great deal of truth in the proposition that it is undesirable to limit the choice of the electors ; but this is done b3'our Constitution, and honorable members are showing rather an excess of virtue in making a great deal of fuss about the limitation proposed in this Bill. The provision for a money deposit by candidates is quite as severe a restriction as that now proposed. It is a restriction upon- the whole community, and not upon a small number of persons. We place restrictions upon some of the most eligible men in the whole of the Commonwealth, namely, the members of the public service. With the greatest respect for the members of the various States Parliaments, I think it is quite possible to find in the public service gentlemen as highly fitted in every way to become useful members of the Commonwealth Parliament as are members of the States Legislatures. I was rather struck with the cheerful virtue of my honorable friend **Senator Charleston,** who stated that he intended,, as he had done on a previous occasion, to raise his voice against the proposal. But I cannot find in *Hansard* any record that the honorable senator ever opened his mouth on the subject, and I hope that the honorable gentleman, when he finds that he did not pledge himself during the former debate, will be prepared to vote now in a direction opposite to that which he has indicated. {: .speaker-K6J} ##### Senator Charleston: -- I should have voted if the honorable senator had not run away. {: .speaker-JXT} ##### Senator Lt Col NEILD:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT **-Col. NEILD.** - I did not run away. I am not in the habit of running away. I think it is sufficient to say that I shall support the new clause. J am not doing this by way of retaliation, and if those honorable senators who are opposed to the motion have such splendidly virtuous grounds for their action, it is hardly worth their while to throw mud at those who take a different view. The Commonwealth Constitution, which was most elaborately prepared, enacts in the most emphatic manner that a member of one House shall not be eligible as a candidate for a seat in the other Chamber. That is a restriction' on the choice of the electors. It might be very desirable for some members to exchange places at times, but the Constitution prevents this. Why was that provision ' inserted *1* There must have been some good purpose in view. There, was no question of reprisal, or fear, or anxiety to " save their own bacon," to induce the framers of the Constitution - not one of whom had a certain knowledge that he would be elected to this Parliament - to insert that clause. There is no reason why the provision now under discussion should not bear equally good fruit. {: .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE: -- I think it is generally admitted that there would be something objectionable in the. spectacle of Members of the States and Federal Parliaments entering into an electoral contest. It would not be calculated to promote that harmony which we hope will continue to exist between the Federal and States Parliaments. This feeling may have animated the members of the States Legislatures in providing that members of this Parliament should not be eligible as candidates for election to the States Parliaments, and they should regard our action as the natural complement of their own. I cannot help thinking that the provision that any person who was, within fourteen days prior to the date of nomination a member of a State Parliament, shall not be capable of being nominated for a seat in the Federal Legislature is more far-reaching than similar Legislation by the States. If the provision is allowed to remain in its present form it might be looked upon as a reprisal by the members of the States Parliaments, who might be tempted to further extend the disqualification of members of this Parliament. I am inclined, therefore, to accept the amendment proposed by **Senator Matheson.** We shall then bring ourselves into line with the legislation in five of the States. As has been pointed out, the remaining State has had no opportunity of indicating what view it will take of the subject. **Senator MATHESON** (Western Australia). - We have been informed by **Senator Neild,** that the Constitution never contemplated that members of the States Parliaments should offer themselves as candidates for seats in this Parliament ; but the exact contrary is the fact. There is a special provision in the Constitution that States Ministers shall be permitted to retain their salaries as such while they are sitting in the Federal Parliament. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- For three months. {: .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON: -- Not for three months,, but for all time. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- That provision was inserted by a number of men who were personally interested, and yet they all declared that their action was not dictated by personal interest. {: .speaker-KSQ} ##### Senator MATHESON: -- I do not care what motives actuated those who framed the Constitution.- We have to deal with it as it stands, and I contend that it was distinctly contemplated that members of the States Legislatures should - be permitted to sit as Members of the Federal Parliament. Section 44 expressly provides that the receipt of salary as a State Minister shall not disqualify any person from sitting as a member of the Federal Parliament. It is perfectly clear that clause 98a would limit in the most undesirable way the freedom which is expressly extended by the Constitution. I have satisfied myself by looking at the Constitution, that we have power to make this provision, but, if we do so, we shall take a step which will be regarded as retrograde in all parts of the world. I do not care to assist in bringing any such reproach upon this Chamber, and I shall, therefore, vote in favour of retaining the freedom which at present exists. {: #debate-7-s56 .speaker-K7R} ##### Senator STYLES:
Victoria -- It may be pointed out that most gentlemen who have had experience in State Parliaments will be able, by nomination day, to judge whether or not they had any chance of election to this Parliament. If they thought they had no chance they could retire instead of nominating. **Senator Stewart** has referred to me as a democrat, and I hope that I always shall be one. At the same time my democracy is rather different from his. He speaks of this as a conservative proposal. I hold that it is of an exactly opposite nature. The honorable member seeks to handicap all outside applicants for a seat in this Parliament by compelling them to compete with those who have a great advantage over them, not because of their superior ability, but because of other circumstances. His assumption is that all political talent is concentrated in the States Parliaments. I hold a different view. There are many able men who would never think of becoming candidates for the Commonwealth Legislature if they had to oppose those who possess great advantages because they hold positions in the States Parliaments. In future elections members of this Parliament will labour under a further disability, particularly in States which embrace large areas. For example, in Queensland the State member is in a position to canvass the federal electorates whilst Commonwealth members are attending to their parliamentary duties. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The more closely they attend to their federal duties the less chance they will have of being re-elected. {: .speaker-K7R} ##### Senator STYLES: -- **Senator Stewart** must know that there are two classes of candidates who will have a very good chance of being elected as members of this Parliament. One class comprises members of the States Parliaments, and the other consists of wealthy individuals. The poor man who is outside of Parliament - and poor men generally are democrats - would have very little chance of being returned if he contested an electorate against a wealthy candidate. He would have absolutely no show against even a nonentity who held a seat in any of the States Parliaments. Yet that is the sort of democracy advocated by **Senator Stewart.** He would close the doors of 'the Federal Parliament against hundreds ofable men who have no means at their command. I hope that he will reconsider his position, not only in his own interests, but in the interests of many hundreds of poor but able men in the various States. {: #debate-7-s57 .speaker-K0X} ##### Senator PLAYFORD:
South Australia -- It appears to me that we very frequently talk about the interests of the public when we are thinking about our own personal interests. It is very singular to find a number of gentlemen anxious to deny to members of the States Parliaments all the privileges which they themselves possessed when they were candidates for this Parliament. Evidently their action is prompted by motives of self-preservation, which is the first law of nature. Why, only two of the representatives returned to the Commonwealth Parliament by South Australia were at the time of their candidature outside of the State Legislature. I am quite willing that the members of the States Parliaments shall enjoy the same advantages that I possessed when I was a candidate for the Senate. I fail to see why we should interfere in this matter. Why should we not give the electors the widest possible choice? We should never have heard a word about a proposal of this sort had it not been that a great many members of this Parliament are afraid of the opposition of members of the States Legislatures. With them, it is purely a question of self-preservation. I say, let the electors make their own choice. The disqualification proposed was certainly not contemplated by the Constitution. If the States Parliaments have been so foolish as to pass a law preventing members of the Commonwealth Legislature from contesting seats for the States Parliaments - a thing which is not very likely to occur under any circumstances - that does not justify us in copying their example. I should prefer to see the clause in the form in which it is proposed to amend it, but I shall vote against the entire provision. I trust that the committee, which upon a former occasion was unanimous, will not give way in this matter to the other Chamber, and thus restrict the choice of the electors. Amendment of the amendment agreed to. Question - That the amendment as amended be agreed to - put. The com mittee divided. Ayes .... ... ... 10 Noes ... ... ... 11 Majority ... ... 1 Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment, as amended, disagreed to. Amendments in clauses 105 and 106 agreed to. {: #debate-7-s58 .speaker-JXO} ##### Senator DRAKE:
Protectionist -- I move - >That the committee agree to the amendment inserting new clauses 108a and 108b. This amendment embodies two new provisions which are intended to deal with possible contingencies not previously dealt with in the Bill. One of those contingencies is that of a candidate dying after nomination. In this connexion clause 108 a provides that if after the day of nomination, and before polling day, any candidate dies, and the candidates remaining do not number more than those required to be elected, they shall be declared to be elected. The other is to provide for the case of a partial or total failure of an election. That is to say, it provides that where, for some reason or another, no candidate is nominated or returned, or an insufficient number of candidates is nominated or returned, a writ shall issue forthwith for a supplementary election. {: #debate-7-s59 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- I regret that I cannot agree to the proposed new clause 108a. It appears to be satisfactory on the surface, but when it is examined it will be discovered that under it a very great wrong might be committed. Take the case of a constituency for which two members have to be returned, and for which three 'candidates, each candidate belonging to a different political . party, are nominated. If the candidate put forward by one party died, the candidates of the other two parties would bc declared elected without the third party having an opportunity to replace their man. I do not think that is fair. As I heard an honorable senator say to-day, the clause holds out a direct inducement for people to poison a candidate, or drown him, or spirit him away in some fashion. I trust the committee will not agree to it. Motion agreed to. Progress reported. Senate adjourned at 10.3 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 August 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.