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Thursday, 1 March 1973
Page: 138

Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) - 1 should like to raise one point concerning the time taken when there are 2 divisions close together, as happened this morning. In these instances there is a division on the motion that the question be put, followed immediately by a division on the original motion. The total time taken this morning to decide what was in effect one division was 1.7 minutes. This is a deplorable situation. This morning the bells rang for 2 minutes and counting followed for about 6 minutes, after which there was a fraction of a minute before the next question was put. On occasions such as this all honourable members are still in the chamber, but it is necessary to ring the bells for another 2 minutes - the new proposal is for 3 minutes - before the count takes place on the second division.

I suggest that the method of counting used in this place is quite preposterous. We have this ridiculous method of checking every name. I have no doubt that as the Whips become more conversant with the names of new members and can identify them more readily the time involved in counting will be reduced by 1 or 2 minutes. Nevertheless, it will still be a very long job. Even at the end of the last Parliament about 4 minutes was taken each time to count a division. If there are 2 divisions, one immediately following the other - for example, a division on the motion to apply the gag followed by a division to resolve the motion before the Chair - at least 15 minutes will be required. Some method should be found by those whose responsibility it is to devise methods to increase the efficiency of the House, to improve on that. I do not care what method is adopted, but it must be possible to find a more simple way of counting a division even if it is necessary to do away with traditions that have existed since Federation such as the alleged granting of VIP aircraft for leaders of the Australian Country Party.

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