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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13797

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (14:09): Mr Speaker, on indulgence, before we move on to other matters before the House today can I say it is a great honour to serve in this place in whatever capacity. As I have just been re-elected as the Second Deputy Speaker I want to thank my nominators and colleagues and to thank the House. What is always important in these situations is that the rule of the democracy under which we all live is observed, and I thank those who have shown confidence in me to continue in this role.

It has been a great honour to serve as the Second Deputy Speaker with the now very humble backbencher and former Speaker, the member for Scullin. Harry, you have gained the respect not only of this House but of the population at large across Australia. Wherever I travel I find people have become avid watchers of question time and I think it is because you are in the chair. They have registered that you have a great sense of humour. And I have had people comment to me: 'The Speaker's hair was a bit ruffled today. Were you a bit rough on him?' I say that in good humour, because that is the sort of humour you have had and you have brought to this place a true sense of what it means to be fair in all your rulings. I thank you for the way your door has always been open to me and for the way you have served as the Speaker of the House.

I also have to say that after the recent visit we made to western Queensland and the far reaches of Maranoa I still get mail from people saying, 'When are you bringing the Speaker back again?' Maybe now you might like to consider a visit out there again, because they respected you and appreciated the time you gave to visit as the Speaker in the busy role you had. I thank you on their behalf as well as mine.

I congratulate the member for Chisholm. Member for Chisholm, I worked with you in the last parliament when you were the Deputy Speaker and in this parliament I have appreciated the way you have cooperated on the Speaker's panel. So I respect the work you have done in the past and I certainly look forward to working with you in this parliament.

Mr Speaker, I congratulate you on this high office you now hold. I acknowledge the comment you have just made that your door is open to anyone and that you have already indicated that you want to operate as a truly independent Speaker. I look forward to continuing to work with you as I have in this parliament when you have been the Deputy Speaker. I look forward to continuing that relationship and working in this parliament with you as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. I thank you for the indulgence.