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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2195

Senator STEELE HALL (South AustraliaLeader of the Liberal Movement) - Mr President,I do not want to delay the Senate for any length of time, but I want to correct the arithmetic of one or two honourable senators who have claimed that certain Opposition senators have voted for the Government at certain times, and of course I have been the butt of those remarks. Senator Jessop claimed, I think yesterday or the day before, that I have voted for the Government on 49 occasions when the Opposition has not done so. I have taken some trouble to examine the journals of the Senate, and I have found that the record should be put straight in relation to the Opposition as a whole and the way in which it has either supported or not opposed Government legislation. I tender this factual information for the benefit of the Senate.

So far this session the Senate has passed 57 Government Bills with the approval of, or certainly without the disapproval of, the Opposition. There are 7 voting procedures connected with the passage of each Bill. Therefore, the Liberal-Country Party Opposition, as a bloc, has voted for, or at least has not opposed, Government measures on 399 occasions. However, expressed as votes by individual senators, this represents 11,571 occasions on which the 29 members of the Liberal-Country Party Opposition have not opposed the Government. If Senator Missen, who is trying to interject, studies the record he will find that there are 7 voting procedures connected with the introduction and the passage of each Bill. He will also find that the same standard of approach was adopted by Senator Jessop in arriving at the proposition that I have voted for the Government on 49 occasions when the Opposition has not done so. I do not alter the standard of approach which Senator Missen and his colleagues have adopted. There is no differential in the standard of approach in working out the voting pattern.

In my case there have been an additional 49 occasions on which I have given individual votes in support of Government Bills. I therefore have not opposed or voted for Government legislation on 399 occasions, plus 49 occasions, making a total of 448 occasions. In order to find the number of occasions on which the LiberalCountry Party Opposition has voted for the Government, one has to multiply the votes of the 29 Liberal-Country Party senators by the number of Bills by the number of procedural matters which are decided by vote. On 11,571 occasions the Liberal-Country Party Opposition has voted for the Government.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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