Thursday, 17 February 2022
Suspension Of Standing And Sessional Orders
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent government business order of the day No. 45 being called on for debate immediately.
The government have said that they want this debated. Well, bring the debate on and let's have it now!
The DEPUTY SPEAKER : Is the motion seconded?
On a point of order, under standing orders, the people who called for a division, if they then don't vote the way they called, are named. Otherwise we end up with a ridiculous situation with people calling divisions just for sport or out of habit.
Order! Manager of Opposition Business, would you like to take me to that particular provision, please—and in the Practice, if you've got it?
The simple way of dealing with this is—I wasn't here in the chamber when a division was called for. Ordinarily, when there's an insufficient number of people—namely, four or fewer people—the division is not actually continued with.
Thanks, Mr Speaker. If it helps as well, page 280 of House of Representatives Practice says, under 'Requirement to vote a certain way':
Members calling for a division must not leave the area of Members' seats and must vote with those Members who, in the Speaker's opinion, were in a minority when the Members called 'Aye' or 'No'.
It makes it very clear.
Well, page 280 of Practice also requires me to have called for tellers, which I hadn't done yet. But standing order 128 also states:
Members calling for a division must not leave the area of Members' seats—
it doesn't say which seats—
and they must vote with those—
Honourable members interjecting—
The member for Lingiari?
No? It's very hard to tell. I thank the member for Lingiari, and I thank those members opposite for their support of the member for Lingiari. But this goes to a broader point. When I am, as the Speaker, ruling on an issue like this, it is reflecting on the chair when I get smart-alec comments or—
Well, I'll try and direct my eyes more broadly when I'm saying this, then. There's so much I could say. You're reflecting on the chair. Members are reflecting on the chair when they are calling into doubt or question any considerations that I'm making, so I'd ask members to be mindful of that, please. Now, returning to standing order 128, it says:
Members calling for a division must not leave the area of Members' seats and they must vote with those Members who, in the Speaker's opinion, were in the minority when the Members called 'Aye' or 'No'.
The simple fact of the matter is that I, as the Speaker, am not in the chair all the time. As we know, we have deputy chairs and deputy speakers and Speaker's panel members. I couldn't possibly know who called for the division. In any event, we've wasted enough of colleagues' time. There is no-one voting for the ayes. Under standing order 126, if only one member calls for a division, the division does not proceed. Clearly, this division does not proceed when there is no-one on the ayes.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order. On other occasions, where you haven't been able to hear who made an objection on something like that, you have asked people to come forward if they were the person. There are two people, at least, who called for a division, and I would be surprised if, at the very least, the Leader of the House does not answer the question as to who called the division if you asked, which is what the ordinary process has been.