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Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Page: 22


Mr PRICE (5:05 PM) —I nominate Mr Harry Jenkins, the member for Scullin, as Deputy Speaker. I count him amongst my friends, yet this proposal is not clouded by friendship. I consider it a privilege to nominate him. Harry Jenkins is a distinguished member of this chamber, having been elected in 1986. He has served as Deputy Speaker, chairman of committees and Second Deputy Speaker. He is the longest serving and best qualified amongst the serving chairs of this chamber. He is a person of sober habits, but very approachable, who takes an interest in all members. He has loyally served and been schooled by two Labor Speakers and three coalition Speakers, no matter how unexpectedly brief or long the latters' terms of office have been.

Mr Jenkins uses his extensive knowledge of standing orders and precedent to bring good order in this House, and he uses his ample reserves of politeness, tact and good humour to enforce those standing orders and precedents. In fact, his rulings are grounded in the standing orders. This of itself can sometimes be a novel approach. When all else fails, he is very firm. I believe that he has conducted himself as a presiding officer with great distinction and to the satisfaction of all on both sides of this House. He cares deeply about this parliament and its traditions, but he is also prepared to embrace change so that it can best meet the needs of members and the expectations of the people we seek to serve. I can vouch for the fact that Mr Jenkins has not crisscrossed this country in pursuit of this high office. Nor has he gladhanded, cajoled, hectored or even badgered any coalition members, let alone members of the Labor Party or Independents.

I believe he has conducted himself as a presiding officer with great distinction. It is in his nature that he allows his outstanding record to speak for itself. Every member of this House, from the newest members to the holders of high office, has an equal vote and responsibility to elect the Deputy Speaker. In fact, it will be the only chance members get to vote in this House on these matters. I urge all honourable members to cast their vote for the best and most experienced candidate, who will fulfil the role of Deputy Speaker with distinction. In my view, that person is without doubt Mr Jenkins. I commend him and his candidacy to all honourable members and I trust that all honourable members will exercise their votes wisely and in his favour.