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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 3212

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) -I believe I owe it to the Senate and certainly to those of my colleagues on this side to indicate that on the occasion of the first vote I was in my office throughout. I was writing letters and it was not until I went downstairs to the office of the Government typist to ask her to type out the letter which I had been writing in my office that I heard the announcement of a division in this chamber. Mr Deputy President, I assure you and the Senate that the bells did not ring in my office. As a consequence the Government lost the division.

Senator Cavanagh - They took advantage of it.

Senator DEVITT - I am not saying anything about that. I think it my responsibility and duty to report the happening to the Senate. I can recall on past occasions since I came to this place similar circumstances and an opportunity was given then for a further vote. I think it was an occasion when Senator Davidson was in the Library and did not hear the bells. We, as the then Opposition, accorded to Senator Davidson an acceptance of the explanation which he made to the House and again submitted the measure to the vote. I earnestly suggest that that practice be followed on this occasion in the light of the circumstances.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Immediately the matter was mentioned to me and the suggestion was made that the bells had not rung in a particular room I arranged for an officer of the Senator to check this matter. When I have a report from him I will report to the Senate.

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