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Tuesday, 19 May 1970

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr FAIRBAIRN - Yes, I have. Some newspapers have reported me as failing to vote on the Labor amendment of the honourable member for Dawson on Friday after 1 had announced that I would vote for it. For example the 'Age' reports:

Mr Fairbairndeclared in Parliament that he would vote for the Opposition on the censure motion. But when the vote came Mr Fairbairn walked from the chamber and abstained.

At a later stage the same article states that I could have crossed the floor and my honour would have remained intact. This and other reports, I believe, stem from a misunderstanding of the admittedly complex voting procedure. What happened was this: The honourable member for Casey moved an amendment to the Labor censure amendment. In the result, the vote from which I abstained was not taken on the Opposition amendment but on the later amendment of the honourable member for Casey. This amendment, moved by the honourable member for Casey and carried, replaced the Labor censure amendment, and became the motion which was then carried. If honourable members look at the record of votes on page 2328 of Hansard they will see that the first division is headed (Mr Howson's amendment)'. The second division is headed '(Mr Howson's amendment)' while the third division is headed the amendment (Dr Patterson's) as amended.' Finally I wish to make it clear that I committed myself to support the Opposition's amendment, and I would have done so if it had been voted on.

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