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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3435

Mr SPEAKER - The question is:

That the Bill be now read a third time.

As this is a Bill to amend the Constitution, the provisions of section 128 of the Constitution must be observed.

Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, I point out that the doors are open.

Mr SPEAKER - The doors do not have to be closed. Although there is no dissentient voice and a division has not been called for, it is desirable that the names of those honourable members present agreeing to the third reading should be recorded. I appoint the honourable member for Wide Bay and the honourable member for Bonython as tellers for the ayes. The ayes will pass to the right of the chair.

Mr Snedden - Mr Speaker, are you not appointing tellers for the noes?

Mr SPEAKER - There was no dissentient voice. There is no call for a division. I cannot appoint tellers unless a division is called for.

Mr Snedden - The doors are not locked.

Mr SPEAKER - The doors would have been locked if a division had been called for.

Mr Anthony - Mr Speaker, is it possible for one of the Clerks to act as a scrutineer in the counting to see that the numbers are counted fairly.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I think the Leader of the Australian Country Party would know that every division is checked by the Clerks of the House. He should know better than to ask such a stupid question.

Mr Anthony - Normally there are 2 counters on each side and one acts as a scrutineer. I do not think your remarks were appropriate, Mr Speaker.

Question put -

That the Bill be read a third time.

Members voting in favour of the third reading.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! As 64 honourable members have agreed to the third reading I certify that the third reading has been agreed to by an absolute majority as required by the Constitution.

Bill read a third time.

Mr Sinclair - Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Would you explain to me the reason for the difference in the taking of the vote last night to that taken today? Does it mean that the vote taken today is different in its implication to the one taken last night? The Votes and Proceedings of the House show that last night there were 2 third readings of the Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Election) Bill 1974.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party would know that last evening I stated that the Speaker has no alternative but to record the number of honourable members in favour of the third reading of any Bill to alter the Constitution. It must be recorded that there is an absolute majority. Irrespective of what happened before, it is of no consequence.

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