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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr SPEAKER - I wish to inform the House that notwithstanding that the Bill has been passed on the third reading on the voices, because it is a Bill to amend the Constitution it requires to be passed by an absolute majority. I will therefore order that the bells be rung. Ring the bells.

The bells having been rung-

Mr SPEAKER -Lock the doors.

The lights in the chamber havingfailed-

Mr SPEAKER -The sitting is suspended until the ringing of the bells.

Sitting suspended from 9.33 to 10.18 p.m.

Mr SPEAKER - I inform the House that I propose to ring the bells again. When the power failed we were at the point where the Bill had passed the third reading but for the purposes of recording an absolute majority it was necessary to ring the bells for 2 minutes. I am in the hands of the House. I think it would be appropriate to ring the bells for the 2 minutes, but if the House does not want that to happen I am prepared to forego it. I see there is a full attendance here.

Mr Lucock - Mr Speaker,I just ask a question about something of which I have just thought. Would it be possible by a motion to suspend the Standing Orders for the 3 remaining Bills to be passed together?

Mr SPEAKER -No. That would not be possible.

Mr Lucock - You are counting the same numbers.

Mr SPEAKER - That would not be possible. The Clerk has called on the second of the constitutional amendment Bills. I will not ring the bells for 2 mintues. I propose with the concurrence of the House, to appoint, not tellers, but 4 persons to record the votes of 'aye'. The question before the House is 'That the Bill be read a third time ' in respect of which we must establish whether there is an absolute majority. I appoint the honourable member for Griffith -

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - Mr Speaker,may we have the doors locked, please?

Mr SPEAKER - The honourable member for Burke has made a good point. Lock the doors. I am reminded by the Clerk that there is only one sheet on which the names can be recorded. Therefore I regret that I cannot appoint 4 recorders of names. I can appoint only two. I appoint the honourable member for Griffith and the honourable member for Hunter to record the names of those who vote aye.

The following names were recorded- (Mr Speaker-Rt Hon. B. M. Snedden Q.C.)

During the recording of names-

Mr Chapman - Mr Speaker,the honourable member for Wakefield is knocking at the door.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member for Wakefield can make it clear tomorrow- or next Tuesday- that he intended to vote.

Mr Burr - With due respect, Mr Speaker, I point out that the bells have so far been rung for the House to resume but the bells have not been rung for a division in which case the honourable member for Wakefield may be entitled to enter the chamber.

Mr SPEAKER - I have ruled that the recording of the names of the persons in favour of the motion will proceed. The whole of the House is in favour. What we need to do is to establish that there is an absolute majority.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mr Speaker,in consideration of the dilemma of the honourable member for Wakefield, I put it to you, sir, that the House traditionally locks the doors in the case of a division. Since there is no division of opinion there is no division and it seems to me there is no case for locking the doors.

The recording of names continuing-

Mr Hayden - Mr Speaker,I do not believe that you checked when we returned to the House to establish whether all of the people here are supporting the proposal before the House. I have a sneaking suspicion there may be one or two among us who not realising what has happened do not now support the Bill. It may well prove that the Queensland Premier will challenge in the High Court your decision to proceed in this way and all of the progress we would hope would be made will be destroyed.

Mr SPEAKER - Is there a dissentient voice in the House?

There being no dissentient voice and the recording of names being completed-

Mr SPEAKER -As 108 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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