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Hands off Speaker - Andren.



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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

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30th November 2001

Hands off Speaker - ANDREN

Ordinary Australians should be outraged at suggestions that a Government friendly Speaker should be appointed to the House of Representatives, according to Independent Federal Member for Calare Peter Andren.

“Suggestions that incumbent Speaker Neil Andrew has been too tough on Government members is laughable,” Mr Andren said.

“Just because he gave Tony Abbott the flick from Parliament for one hour, Coalition members have spat the dummy, and now want a yes-man or woman in the job.

“Neil Andrew has done a reasonable job under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

“He has treated Government Ministers with far more leniency than they often deserve and if anything has been far more severe on Opposition members.

“The Prime Minister betrays his control of the position of speaker by saying the next Speaker will be chosen by the party room.

“I thought the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were supposed to be nominated on the floor of the Parliament and voted for by all members?

“This is yet another show of contempt by the Government of the day for parliamentary processes, and underlines the domination of Parliament by the Executive.

“I believe Neil Andrew is as close as we can get to an independent Speaker under the current system.

“What we need is a truly independent umpire, perhaps a retired judge, but that would take a constitutional change.

“In the absence of real reform, the elected Speaker should be free to warn or evict any member, including Ministers without fear of being undermined by a Prime Minister or Minister who fails to get his own way.

“Unless the Speaker is allowed to Act independently the unsavoury uproars called Question Time will only continue to diminish Parliament in the eyes of the public,” Mr Andren said.

For More Information: Peter Andren 02 6332 6229 or 041 961 2891.