Senate debates

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Pairing Arrangements

9:30 am

Photo of Paul CalvertPaul Calvert (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! Last night Acting Deputy President Senator Murray undertook to refer to me the voting intentions of senators who have informal pairing arrangements. This followed a speech by Senator Ian Macdonald in which he indicated that he had such an arrangement with Senator Brandis. Senator Macdonald tabled a letter to the Government Whip to that effect. It is a longstanding rule that pairing arrangements are not a matter for the chair. The recording of senators’ voting intentions should be a matter for agreement among senators, notified to the whips. In cases such as the private senator’s bill before the chamber, I am aware that some senators who knew they would be absent may have made a private arrangement with a colleague voting differently so that the colleague voluntarily absents himself or herself from the chamber when the vote is put.