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Friday, 15 December 1905

Mr SPENCE (Darling) - I wish to make a personal explanation. Earlier in the evening I inadvertently voted on a question in regard to which I had paired with the honorable member for Maranoa. I was in the Library when the division was called for, and the bells rung, and, on entering the Chamber, naturally seated myself on the same side as the Minister of Home Affairs, since I was supporting the Government. Before I discovered the fact that the question involved the recommittal of a clause affecting the Court of Disputed Returns, the tellers had been appointed, and, although I was reminded of my mistake by the honorable member for Riverina, it was then too late to leave the Chamber. I had previously said to the Government whip - " I think I am paired ; " but he had replied - "No, you are not," not knowing of the arrangement with the honorable member for Maranoa, which I had forgotten, and which, through our own fault, had not been recorded. I feel annoyed at having made this mistake, and desire to offer my apology to the honorable member for Maranoa for having broken the pair, which I regard as a serious thing to do. The division, too, was a very close one, and without my vote would have been a tie ; but I think that thehonorable member for Canobolas will not object to mv saying that, althoughhe voted for the recommittal, he did so not knowing that the clause proposed to be inserted in the Bill had been discussed earlier in the day. He voted on the recommittal to allow debate, but was himself opposed to its insertion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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