Government losing a vote on the floor of the House

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Government losing a vote on the floor of the House

Posted 29/09/2010 by Janet Wilson

The House of Representatives Practice, states, on p. 318:

“It has been claimed that the loss of control of the business of the House is a matter over which Governments should resign ... During 1962 and 1963, when the Menzies Government had a floor majority of one, it suffered a number of defeats and, although it did not resign, its precarious majority was a factor which led to the early dissolution of the House.“

The votes lost by the Government in 1962 were:
• A closure motion on 21 August 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 194)
• A closure motion on 3 October 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 217)
• Opposition’s dissent from Chairman’s ruling on 27 November 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 307-8)
• An Opposition amendment to the Repatriation (Special Overseas
Service) Bill 1962 on 5 December 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 348-9)

In addition, five votes were lost by the newly-commissioned caretaker government on 11 November 1975. These were motions to adjourn, to suspend standing orders, to close the debate (twice) and a want of confidence motion moved by former Prime Minister Whitlam.

The House of Representatives Practice, provides further information on want of confidence and censure motions.

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