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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr SPEAKER -As this Bill is one to amend the Constitution, the provisions of section 128 of the Constitution must be observed. I therefore direct that the bells be rung. I would suggest that honourable members remain in their places for the time being.

The bells having been rung-

Mr SPEAKER - I draw the attention of the House to the fact that because this Bill is a Bill which relates to an amendment of the Constitution it is necessary that it be passed with an absolute majority. It has been the practice in the past to prove that it has an absolute majority by calling for those who vote 'aye' to pass to the right of the Chair and those who vote 'no ' to pass to the left of the Chair. As I interpret the mood of the House, everybody would vote 'aye'. In those circumstances everybody being on the right of the chair would make it an impossible task for the tellers. On the other hand I have to require the House to tell me whether there is a dissentient voice because under the terms of the law there is an opportunity for those who are dissentients to state a case which will be circulated in a referendum. The question, which I have put already and which I must put again is: 'That the Bill be now read a third time'. All those of that opinion 'aye', to the contrary 'no'. I ask whether there is a dissentient voice in the chamber. There being no dissentient voice, I think it would meet the convenience of the House if I ruled that members remain in their place in order to be counted by the tellers for the 'ayes'. I appoint the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) and the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) as tellers for the 'ayes' to record the names.

The following names were then recorded-

Mr Speaker -Rt Hon. B. M. Snedden, Q.C.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! As 1 10 members have agreed to the third reading I declare that the third reading has been agreed to by an absolute majority as required by the Constitution.

Bill read a third time.

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