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Wednesday, 23 May 2001
Page: 26928

Mr KELVIN THOMSON (6:48 PM) —I conclude by repeating that if the parliamentary secretary genuinely believed what he just told us we would not have this bill here at all. If he genuinely believed that the existing legal framework was sufficient to crack down on these schemes, this legislation would not have been introduced in the first place.

Question proposed:

That the motion (Mr Slipper's) be agreed to.

The bells being rung—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. J.A. Crosio)—The question before the chair is that the Senate amendment be disagreed to. We have still got 10 seconds to go before we lock the doors, but I will appoint the tellers: the honourable members for Corangamite and Mallee—lock the doors—and the honourable members for Maribyrnong and Port Adelaide for the noes. The members for Corangamite and Mallee for the ayes.

The House divided. [6.53 p.m.]

In division

Honourable members interjecting—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I am sorry, the minister will have to remove herself or the count is invalid.

Honourable members interjecting—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I did clearly say `Lock the doors' after I gave indication. There were 10 seconds to go when I appointed the two tellers. I said, `Lock the doors.' For the honourable minister for forests, I am not a minister; I am a deputy chair.

Mr Tuckey —The requirement is that no member can enter the premises after the doors are locked. I ask you to consult the Clerk on that. If the door is not locked, a member has a right of entry, and the door was wide open.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Again I say there were 10 seconds to go when I said that the doors would be locked. When I appointed the tellers I asked the doors to be locked.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I cannot hear you, I am sorry.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! I am still listening to the member for Farrer.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —The honourable member for Farrer is indicating, as other speakers have indicated, that obviously the staff were in error. I am not accepting that. The clear indication was that the doors be locked.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The Chief Opposition Whip does make a point. I had appointed the tellers. I had indicated the doors to be locked. I am not blaming anybody for it. Whether it is the standing order or not, I as the chair at the moment here in the House have requested the minister remove herself from the parliament because the doors were locked and the tellers were appointed and the count had begun.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I am sorry. Can I please hear the Leader of the House. I cannot hear what you are saying.

Mr Reith —It may assist you to know that I saw the minister walk through the door—the door was open—and there had been no compliance with your direction that the door be locked. Under those circumstances, any member is entitled to walk into this chamber. The fact that you had given a direction which had not then been complied with is not the responsibility and cannot be—because it is not within the knowledge—of the member who is entering the chamber. Under the standing orders, you would require a member to leave. The fact is that the member entered the chamber because the door was open.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Again, I take on board what the Leader of the House has stated, but he also referred to the standing orders. The standing orders are very specific. At the conclusion of four minutes, the Deputy Speaker in the chair orders the doors to be locked. In this case I had ordered the doors to be locked, I had appointed the tellers and the tellers had commenced the count. The tellers were appointed. If one of the attendants failed to respond to my instruction, the minister is therefore I still believe—even taking into account standing orders—ineligible to have her vote recorded in this debate. And that is my ruling. I am not going to take any more points of order. If you wish to dissent from my ruling, please do so. It is very clear in the standing orders—and I will repeat myself again. Once it is issued, appointment of tellers, a count had begun and an instruction to close the doors, it is the obligation then for no-one else to enter here, and the standing order only refers to at the conclusion of four minutes the doors be locked. I am not taking any more debate. If the minister chooses to disagree, take a dissent from what I am saying.

Honourable members interjecting—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —The doors were locked when I indicated there were 10 seconds to go. I then requested the doors be locked. I had appointed the tellers. The count had begun. Again, I request that if the minister for sport does not choose to remove herself from the parliament she will not be counted in the vote. I have appointed the tellers for the ayes and the noes and I ask that the count be commenced.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Is the Chief Government Whip dissenting from my ruling?

Mr Ronaldson —Your direction is to the person on the door, not to the minister. The minister is quite legitimately in this chamber. Your direction is not to individual members of this House; it is to the attendant at the door. The member is therefore quite entitled to be in the chamber when she quite lawfully entered the chamber when she came in for the division.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —I am sorry, but this is where the point is. You can put your hands up to leave the room if you wish. The point is: I am sitting in the chair, I gave instructions to lock the door, I appointed the tellers; and I will repeat the standing orders say that, at the conclusion of the four minutes and the locking of the doors, no member shall enter the House. In the event that a staffer had inadvertently not completely locked the door and a member has come into the House, no matter what side of the House, that member is ineligible to have their vote recorded. I have asked the tellers to commence the vote. There will be no more debate. I have given a ruling. If you wish to dissent from that ruling, you may do so. At the moment, the tellers are in the middle of the count and I think, to help and assist the numbers in the House, it would be better if the tellers could get on with their job.

Honourable members interjecting—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —There will be no points of order. The count is on. Please resume your seat. I am taking no further points of order. I am sorry, I don't wish to do that to the honourable member, because if we are going to continue with points of order I too will say what happened—I saw it. There is a new attendant on the door, and that new attendant, out of courtesy, opened the door to allow the minister to come in. That is the correct thing to happen. I am taking no further points of order from the chair. I will request the tellers to complete their count. The door was locked and the door was opened out of courtesy.

The count having been completed—

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The result of the division is ayes 72, noes 58; the decision therefore resolves in the affirmative.