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§ 126. “General Elections of Members.”

The writs for general elections of members will be issued by the Governor-General in Council, through one of the Ministers of State. They will be directed to Returning Officers appointed by the Governor-General in Council, and will contain all the instructions and authority usually embodied in documents of this description, prescribing among other things the date for the receipt of nominations of candidates, the date for the holding of the elections, and the date for the return of the writs.

“At the beginning of a Parliament, the Return Book, received from the clerk of the Crown, is sufficient evidence of the return of a member, and the oaths are at once administered. If a member be elected after a general election, the clerk of the Crown sends to the Clerk of the house a certificate of the return received in the Crown Office; and the member must obtain a certificate from the Public Bill Office of the receipt of that certificate for production at the table, before the Clerk of the house will administer the oath.” (May, 10th ed. p. 165.)

Writs for vacancies.

33. Whenever a vacancy happens127 in the House of Representatives, the Speaker shall issue his writ for the election of a new member, or if there is no Speaker or if he is absent from the Commonwealth the Governor-General in Council may issue the writ.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The clause in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was substantially to the same effect, except that the Speaker, unless the House was not sitting, was only empowered to issue the writ “upon a resolution of the House.” In Committee, Dr. Cockburn moved the omission of these words, but this was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd. [1891], pp. 641–3.)

At the Adelaide session, 1897, the clause was introduced in the same form. In Committee, Sir George Turner moved the omission of the words “upon a resolution of the House,” and this time the amendment was agreed to. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 734–5.) At a later stage the clause was consequentially amended. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 1197–8.) At the Melbourne session, amendments were made before the first report and after the fourth report.

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