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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27042

Mr PRICE (3:33 PM) —Mr Speaker, about the same incident but not about the doors, on pages 25906 and 25907 in Hansard, Madam Deputy Speaker asked on three occasions that the member for Lindsay leave the chamber. If I may refer you to pages 289 and 290 of House of Representatives Practice, Barlin edition, there is precedent for members being given permission to absent themselves from a division. Could I ask on my own behalf and perhaps on anyone else's behalf: what is the situation during a division when a Deputy Speaker requests any honourable member to absent themselves from that division?

Mr SPEAKER —The obligation on all honourable members at all times is to do as the chair instructs or, if they feel some gross miscarriage of justice has been exercised in the process, to move a dissent from the chair's ruling if appropriate. As I said, I have discussed this matter with a number of people. I have no doubt that the member for Lindsay genuinely thought that she was entitled at the time to be in the chamber. I am also aware of the fact that the Deputy Speaker, wisely having witnessed the events and having been aware of the sand running through the clock, instructed that she not be counted. I have no intention of taking any further action in this instance and, furthermore, it would be a very difficult situation for all members of the House, let me boldly suggest, if the occupier of the chair were to determine that discipline should be exercised in some retrospective way.