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Thursday, 27 February 1975
Page: 880

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - It is with a great deal of pleasure that I nominate my friend, the honourable member for Corio, Mr Scholes, for the position of Speaker of this House. I have no wish to refer to the unfortunate circumstances that brought about this election. If other honourable members of this House wish to do so that is their business. My function is to speak to this House on the virtues of Mr Scholes as the Speaker of the House; about his experience in the Chair which has been witnessed by all of us; about his ability while acting as Chairman of Committees which has also been witnessed by all of us; and about the dignity which Mr Scholes will bring to this office. Many honourable members have sat in this House longer than I. We know from experience the way in which Mr Scholes has performed his duties as Chairman of Committees in this House since the election of the Labor Government in 1972. Those honourable members who were here before then will know that Mr Scholes in his position as a Deputy Chairman of Committees brought to the Chair whenever he occupied it the dignity which is required for the highest office which this House can offer to any person.

I commend Mr Scholes to the House. I have no wish to make any comments about the honourable member for Angas, Mr Giles, a person for whom I have some personal affection. However, in these very serious circumstances personal affections are of little account when one must make a choice. I put it to my fellow members of this House that this choice is a serious one for the person who will occupy the Chair will continue in the traditions of those who preceded him.

Mr Clerk,having said that I would be most remiss if I did not take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the capacity and capability of the immediate past Speaker of this House the honourable member for Sydney, Mr James Cope. (Opposition members interjecting)-

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) -Mr Clerk,I hope that the exhibition which we have just witnessed ceases of now and that no longer will the dignity of this House be called into question by the undignified, behaviour of those who occupied office for some 23 years and cannot accept the proposition of sitting in Opposition where they appear as a disorganised rabble, and this is well known to the people of Australia.

Mr Clerk,the elevation of Mr Scholes to the most august position that this House can offer, as I have said already, will bring with it dignity. I am not suggesting that dignity has not been there in the past; of course it has been there. But it seems to me that what is required as of now- it is impossible to unscramble eggs- is somebody who will take to task those who seem bent upon destroying the dignity of this House and preventing the business of this House proceeding. (Opposition members interjecting)

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) -Those who sit opposite may raise their voices in opposition but they have not done so well in the past. Unless their manners improve, this House will not function in the way that it should. I strongly commend to the House the candidature of Mr Scholes for the office of Speaker.

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