LISTEN: 'Malfunction': O'Dowd misses Coalition's historic lost vote

A "MALFUNCTION" with paging systems was the reason why Flynn federal member Ken O'Dowd missed one of the three votes the Government lost to Labor on Thursday.

In what has been dubbed as a "stuff up" and an embarrassing end to the first week in Parliament, three procedural votes were lost to Labor after several Coalition MPs were missing from the House of Representatives.

Ken O'Dowd announces funding to widen the Capricorn Highway to 4 lanes between Rockhampton and Gracemere.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd missed one of the three lost procedural votes in Parliament this week. Chris Ison ROK210616croad4

Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd missed the first vote, but he said he did not leave the house.

Mr O'Dowd was in a meeting "discussing trade delegations" in his office at 5pm, shortly before the first division was called.

"I did not leave the house.

"I thought the bells were for the house closure, which is normally the case at 5pm."

Usually a Government Whip would page or message Mr O'Dowd, but he said there was a malfunction with those systems.

Listen: Ken O'Dowd talks about the "stuff up" in Parliament this week:

At 5.10pm Mr O'Dowd's office was called, and he was told to go to the House.

The defeats saw Turnbull's majority government become the first to lose a series of procedural vote for the first time since 1962.

Among the absent MPs were Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

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He believed confusion arose after a member of the opposition was seen leaving the house, leading others to believe the sitting was over.

He said it was "an old trick that has been played before".

"I missed the first division but I did get to the other ones," Mr O'Dowd said.

"I'm glad it happened early in the first week of Parliament because I'm sure Christopher Pyne and the whips won't let it happen again.

"Everyone including the whips were surprised.

"I'm not sure what happened with our paging and messaging systems … But I think there will be strict measures in place."