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Tuesday, 4 May 1993
Page: 35


Mr SNOWDON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education and Training) —Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment. I second the motion that the honourable member for Scullin (Mr Jenkins) be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. I do so bearing in mind the words of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) this morning when he commented on the position of Speaker. If my memory serves me correctly, he said that the key quality of the person who holds the position of Speaker is integrity. Other qualities which he saw as important are flexibility and commonsense. In the time that I have been in this Parliament, they are the qualities which have been the hallmark of the honourable member for Scullin's contributions thus far, whether as a backbencher participating in debate in this Parliament; as the Chairperson of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Community Affairs; prior to that as Chairperson of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Publications; or in his involvement in the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment, Recreation and the Arts or the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. During that time he has demonstrated those admirable qualities marked by the Prime Minister as being so important to the office of Speaker: integrity, flexibility, and commonsense.

  In that sense, I see him as a person who is very well suited to take the position of Deputy Speaker. His involvement in the politics of the Labor Party perhaps improves his qualifications immeasurably because, as members on this side of the House will know, he has had the arduous task of steering his way through as chairman of the Left caucus. That in itself can be a challenging responsibility. He has carried out that responsibility with the dexterity, footwork, commonsense and objectivity required for the position of Speaker.

  However, there is one area of his life which deserves some comment: he is a person of great loyalty—to his family, his party, the Parliament and Fitzroy Football Club, which in itself deserves a badge of honour.

  The honourable member for Cowper (Mr Nehl) is a person of stature. He is a person whom I respect and who, I am sure, has the respect of many honourable members on this side of the House. But I would say to him that he should put his sword back in the sheath since I implore him to support the nomination of the honourable member for Scullin as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees.