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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 8985

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (13:59): Mr President, I raise a point of order. Unfortunately, due to the timing, I couldn't raise it when I wanted to with the Chair of Committees. In the last division, I sought to have the division separated so that I could support the retention of the Smith bill definition of marriage but also support—if I could loosely call it this—the Paterson bill in relation to the protection of celebrants. I asked the Chair of Committees if we could divide the questions so they could be voted on separately. The chair ruled against me. I was going to ask the chair if she could refer the matter to you for further consideration. My understanding always was that, whilst the Senate by leave agreed to deal with these matters as one debate, any senator has the right to ask for divisions to be done individually. I put that to you not to respond now, but could you review the chair's decision on refusing to allow those amendments to be split?

Senator Wong: On the point of order: it is the case that a senator can ask for a question to be divided, even in circumstances where the Senate has given leave for them to be put together. But Senator Macdonald sought that the question be divided after the division had been called. It is not the case that, once a division is called, there is usually—

Senator Ian Macdonald: That wasn't the ruling.

Senator Wong: Well, the circumstance in which the senator sought that the question be divided was after the division had been called. Obviously, you're entitled, Mr President, at a request of a senator, to consider it. But I make that factual point.

The PRESIDENT: I will take advice from the Clerk and look over the events of that particular division immediately preceding question time.