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Thursday, 16 October 2003
Page: 21655

Ms PLIBERSEK (3:07 PM) —Mr Speaker, at about 10.15 this morning the Deputy Speaker called a one-minute division subsequent to a previous division, despite the fact that he admitted that there was intervening debate between the two divisions. He used the excuse that the debate was short and unintelligible. Could you advise us whether a new precedent has been set—that the Speaker or a deputy may decide how long to ring the bells, subject to the length of the intervening debate or whether he or she considers it intelligible?

The SPEAKER —If there were any disputes with the proceedings of the House at any time, but particularly during the morning, it ought to have been raised at that time.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order! I am responding, I would have thought, in good faith to the member for Sydney's reasonable question to me. I am not aware of having said anything that should have been deemed provocative. I simply indicate that matters such as she has raised ought to have been raised at the time. In addition to that, I have every confidence in the Deputy Speaker's management of the House.

The SPEAKER —The member for Blaxland will be aware of the fact that he skates on very thin ice with a comment like that.