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Wednesday, 27 September 1972
Page: 1197

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) - Mr President, my question is addressed to you. Firstly has your attention been drawn to the fact that many of the clocks in Parliament House show a different time from others? The difference is as much as 5 or 10 minutes. Secondly, will you investigate the cause of this difference, because it creates some confusion? Thirdly, will you see whether it can be rectified?

The PRESIDENT - I can answer the honourable senator's question straight away because this has been a matter of interest to me. It is also a matter which is being reviewed now by the Joint House Committee. 1 suppose all honourable senators are aware that there are about 700 clocks in Parliament House. They are timed from a master clock and for some reason to do with electrical currents which I profess never to have understood throughout my lifetime, some bugs get into a particular clock and it gets out of control so far as timing is concerned. That is why honourable senators sometimes find these variations.

Should any honourable senator notice that a clock is out of phase, as it were, 1 would be grateful if he would draw it to the attention of, say, the Usher of the Black Rod. It is a simple procedure to slip in a new clock - it takes only about 5 minutes - and get the system back to normal. It would be helpful to myself as President and to the Joint House Committee if, in the interim period while the Committee is deciding whether to put in a new system - and this is under consideration - honourable senators would inform the relevant Senate officers of these errors. The cost of the present system has become very great because these clocks have been installed since 1927 and the. maintenance rate is fairly high. That is a second consideration in examining whether we should replace these 700 clocks with another device. I repeat that that proposition is currently being studied. I hope that what I have said will satisfy the honourable senator.

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