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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13792

Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (13:27): Very briefly, on behalf of the crossbenchers—although the member for Melbourne may say some short words also—I would like to acknowledge the service of the former Speaker. Everyone who was here at 3 am to see section 88 pulled out at such an ungodly hour would agree that it was one for the purists, an example of the technical skills of the former Speaker as well as the personality of the man.

I was recently on a Q&A panel on ABC with William McInnes, who, I think, did a better interpretation of Harry Jenkins than anyone in this chamber could do. Quite often we look at personality with regard to the role; however, it is those technical skills that make the job and over the past year, in what has been a challenging parliament, those technical skills have been on full display and are the mark of the man.

As far as events of today are concerned, we are all counting numbers and wondering exactly what did happen overnight. I am assured that it is a voluntary move.

An opposition member: Who gave you that assurance?

Mr OAKESHOTT: The former Speaker gave me that assurance. But we are all watching closely. It does change numbers and it does change dynamics. There are still issues such as private health insurance, poker machines and a whole range of other issues that we as a parliament need to deal with throughout 2012. I hope that agreements currently in place remain in place and that this is a parliament that does want to do reform for the future.

Concerning the Speaker in the chair now, based on latest mail, I not only welcome an independent Speaker in the chair, I gather that I also welcome a new Independent member in this parliament. I congratulate you on the role that you are taking on and wish you all the best in sticking to the standing orders and making this place operate as objectively as possible.