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Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Page: 4479


Senator ABETZ (6:31 PM) —by leave—While this motion may well be carried or considered or determined by the Senate, I would suggest, with respect, that the pursuit of this particular motion would not necessarily be in the Senate’s best interest because the former motion that was passed in fact does not, in my submission, represent the will of the Senate.


Senator Conroy —What are you saying, Eric?


Senator ABETZ —What I am saying is that unfortunately one of the Liberal senators was missing for that division and if that senator had been present then the vote would have been negated and we would then not need to proceed to make this particular matter an order of the day for the next day of sitting.

I know, as many honourable senators in this place know, that unfortunately, with activities around this very large building, from time to time people do get waylaid, do not hear the bells, do not hear their pagers. It does become a matter of some embarrassment.


Senator Conroy —I’m not perfect on this!


Senator ABETZ —I must say I am very fortunate, Senator Conroy. In 14 years—


The PRESIDENT —Senator Abetz, address your comments to the chair.


Senator ABETZ —Mr President, I am sure that due to divine intervention it has been very fortuitous for me to claim that over 14 years I have never missed a division. Senator Conroy cannot make that claim and he knows that, with the best intentions in the world, honourable senators sometimes do miss divisions. Therefore, I am giving an indication that we will be seeking a recommittal of the previous vote. While we will not be opposing this particular motion, I think it is appropriate that we give notice to the Senate that we will be seeking a recommittal of the vote tomorrow because the missing senator at this stage cannot be located—hence looking around to see whether the particular senator has in fact returned to the chamber.

Government senators interjecting—


The PRESIDENT —Order!


Senator ABETZ —Mr President, given those particular circumstances, we cannot recommit this evening. On behalf of the coalition, I apologise to the Senate for that inconvenience. I suggest we put the motion before the chair and we then deal with the matter of recommittal tomorrow morning.