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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13741

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (09:05): We have just had something very unusual happen in this parliament and, on indulgence, I wish to acknowledge the importance of the occasion which we have just witnessed—an occasion of which we had no notice. I say that without any criticism whatsoever of anyone. It is a remarkable thing for this parliament to witness, out of the blue like this, the resignation of a Speaker—a Speaker who has served this parliament with distinction for the last four years.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!

Mr ABBOTT: I would like to say on behalf of the Liberal and National parties that Speaker Jenkins has been an adornment to this parliament in the chair. He has conducted himself in the chair with good humour, with impartiality, with forbearance and with patience. For that, he has our thanks and our enduring respect. Someone who has been one of the really superior Speakers of this parliament has left the chair—and, while we do wish him well in his retirement from the Speakership and we do wish him well in his re-entry into the internal debates of the Labor Party, one must assume that something extraordinary is happening inside the Labor Party for the Speaker to resign his office to go back into those debates.

I simply wish to say, to mark this momentous occasion, that former Speaker Jenkins does have our respect and our gratitude, and whoever is to take his position will have our support and our encouragement.