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Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Page: 28


Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) (5:25 PM) —On behalf of the government, I offer our congratulations to both the member for Fisher, Mr Slipper, and the member for Maranoa, Mr Scott, on their election as Deputy Speaker and Second Deputy Speaker. Mr Speaker, as I said in my congratulatory remarks to you, it is the intention of the government on all occasions to honour the spirit of the parliamentary reform agreement. That agreement was predicated on a discussion about the role of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker and how that could work. One of the elements of that agreement was that if the Speaker was from a political party then the Deputy Speaker should be from a different political party, and I am pleased to see that that result has been achieved.

I will not repeat the kind words of the member for Banks and the member for Werriwa about the member for Fisher, but I will add that he is obviously a person with the attributes and capabilities to do the job of Deputy Speaker. I have been in the chamber when he has been in the chair and presiding over this parliament. I recall on one occasion in quite a difficult debate which got a bit willing that he was able to keep the chamber under control and to keep the business of the day moving. My congratulations go to our new Deputy Speaker and I am sure he will do a very able job.

The member for Maranoa is a very well-liked member of this parliament and he is known as someone who strives to do the best for his constituency on all occasions. As a member of the executive, particularly as Minister for Education, I had a number of very productive discussions with him on the question of how we can best serve the needs of children in schools right around the country, including children who get their education through distance education. I think he is known in this place as a man of integrity and as a gentle man. Maybe he will have to be a little less gentle in the chair in this parliament, but as a government we offer our congratulations to him for being elected Second Deputy Speaker.