The Division Bell is used to describe a call to the house of parliament
in the Australian
legal systems. When a major decision has to be made (e.g. the acceptance, or rejection of a new bill
), the division bell is rung. All the members
of parliament eligible
then rush from their chambers
into the house
(the place where parliament runs) to cast their votes. When the division bell stops, the doors to the house are closed, and no one else is admitted until the vote is cast.
It's called the division bell because once within the house those for and against physically move to different sides of the house.
Politicians take this seriously. For example, Mark Latham, a young Australian politician was recently caught when the division bell rang with his baby under his care. He couldn't find anyone to take care of the baby, so he took the baby with him.