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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11661


Mr KELVIN THOMSON (Wills) (21:21): I second the motion. Anna Burke became the member for Chisholm upon the retirement of Michael Wooldridge. She has proven to be a very diligent and conscientious local representative who is well liked by her electorate and who has steered Chisholm quite some distance away from its former status as a swinging or marginal seat.

She became Deputy Speaker after the 2007 election and served as deputy to Harry Jenkins during the life of the previous parliament, a task that she performed with considerable flair and distinction. The 2010 election and the unusual circumstances of the hung parliament led to her taking a break from Deputy Speaker duties. She sat next to me in the chamber during question time and would occasionally offer her observations about question time and the characters who inhabit it, but to the best of my knowledge she never sent any text messages or emails containing her thoughts, which was both prudent and prescient of her.

Late last year she was restored to the Deputy Speaker position and earlier this year she found herself in the very unusual position of being asked to carry out the duties of the Speaker, particularly at question time, while remaining Deputy Speaker. For some of us who believe in the concept of higher duties, this was a little bit unusual, but Anna carried out this role with good humour and with great dignity.

Given this background of service to the parliament, she is the obvious person to succeed the member for Fisher as Speaker and I think that no-one in the House, having heard the member for Chisholm or seen the member for Chisholm in action, will be surprised that government members are nominating her for this position. I hope that she will have the support of the opposition and of the whole House, both in the election process and in carrying out her duties as Speaker for the remainder of this parliament. She has demonstrated beyond all doubt that she has the knowledge, the experience, the sense of fairness and even-handedness and the temperament to carry out this important role.

Like the member for Capricornia, I note the role that her husband, Steve, and her children have played in her life. I know this will be a very proud moment for them and that, like other families in this place, they have experienced considerable sacrifices in supporting Anna's political career. I wish her family all the best in regard to this as well. Finally, after what we have been through in the last few months this House could use a little healing and I think we all have an obligation to make that happen and that Anna is just the right person to lead us in accomplishing that.

The Clerk: Does the member accept the nomination?

Ms Burke: I accept the nomination.

The Clerk: Is there any further proposal? There being no further proposal, the time for proposals has expired. I declare that the honourable member proposed, the member for Chisholm, has been elected as Speaker.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!