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Wednesday, 14 November 1973
Page: 3351

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) - Mr Speaker,with the greatest of reluctance I move:

That the Speaker's ruling be dissented from.

I would commence by joining with you, Mr Speaker, in referring to standing order 263, which states that no Bill that seeks to alter the Constitution shall be carried unless on the third reading the motion is carried by an absolute majority of the House. No honourable member on either side of the House is in doubt about that point. There is only one way in which it can be tested that there is an absolute majority, and that is by dint of a division.

Mr Sherry - What about a count?

Mr KILLEN - I am indebted to my friend for asking about a count. You cannot have a count unless a division is called for. This is the dilemma in which this House finds itself this evening. Mr Speaker, may I posit this assumption to you: Assume that there were 58 members of the Parliament sitting here prior to the third reading and the question was put by yourself: 'That this Bill be read a third time. Those of that opinion say 'aye', and there was then a chorus of ayes, 58 of them, and you then said: 'Of the contrary "no"', and there was a deathly silence. How do you satisfy the requirements of standing order 263?

Mr Sherry - Come off it.

Mr KILLEN - This is not a matter of coming off it, my dear chap, and rules are to be obeyed. This is the position, Mr Speaker, in which you found yourself, and 1 say this with unfeigned affection for you. You come to standing order 193, which deals with divisions. We are dealing with a very serious matter. We are not dealing with the rules for the hillbillies from the outer Derwent.

Mr Sherry - You would know more about that than I would.

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