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Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Page: 31

Mr PYNE (5:42 PM) —This has been a red-letter day for the parliament. The Speaker, from the Labor Party, has been elected at the urging and support of the opposition. It took, I think, two weeks for the Labor Party to support the current Speaker; the opposition supported him from the first moment that the election was over. And the Deputy Speaker has been elected at the nomination of the Labor Party, even though the Deputy Speaker is from our side of the House. So it is a red-letter day.

The former Deputy Speaker, the member for Chisholm, has not been elected by anyone. I pass on my condolences to the member for Chisholm, Anna Burke, who was a very good Deputy Speaker in the previous parliament and seems to have fallen between all the cracks. I pay tribute to the role she played in the 42nd Parliament as the Deputy Speaker. I am sorry for her that her own party saw fit, instead of supporting her for Deputy Speaker, to support a member of the coalition.

We on the coalition side are delighted that in the 43rd Parliament we have ended with both the Deputy Speaker and the Second Deputy Speaker positions, another mark for a red-letter day. In the 43rd Parliament the coalition holds both the deputy speakership and the second deputy speakership and has also maintained the constitutional validity of the standing orders by making sure that a deliberative vote has not been taken away through a contrivance or artifice proposed by the Labor Party. I note the Leader of the House has tabled the Solicitor-General’s opinion and I seek leave to table the shadow Attorney-General’s opinion. I seek leave to table the critique of the Solicitor-General’s opinion as well, which I am sure he will be happy to accept.

The SPEAKER —Is leave granted?

Mr Albanese —Leave is indeed granted for Brandis on Brandis, Mr Speaker.

Mr PYNE —So it should be. The opinion provided to the coalition by the shadow Attorney-General makes it quite clear that entering into a contrivance or an artifice to deny a deliberative vote would have been open to challenge in the High Court. But that will not be the case because the coalition did not go down that constitutionally unsound route. The Solicitor-General did indeed cast an opinion of his own and the shadow Attorney-General, George Brandis SC, provided an excellent critique which showed that the spin that the government put on the Solicitor-General’s opinion was not in fact what the Solicitor-General had proposed at all. So, in congratulating the new Deputy Speaker and the Second Deputy Speaker, can I say that we will work constructively to make the parliament work—of course we will. On behalf of the 5½ million people who voted for the coalition, we will also be holding the government to account. That is the job that we have been elected to do. The independents decided to support the Labor Party and in doing so cast what I regard as a bad government that is getting worse back into office. We as an opposition will do our job, one that the independents have cast us into, by holding the government to account and the Deputy Speaker and the Second Deputy Speaker, both being loyal members of the coalition and in fact of the Liberal and National parties, will help us to do so, maintaining their deliberative votes and ensuring that this very bad government is held to account.