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Thursday, 21 February 1985
Page: 3

Ms FATIN(12.00) —It is my privilege today to second the proposal that the honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) be elected as Speaker of the Thirty-fourth Parliament. I do so knowing that during his previous term of office he earned the respect of members on both sides of this House for the degree of authority and solemnity which he brought to the office of Speaker.

Mr Clerk, the honourable member has an awesome record of involvement in the political life of this country. His 24 years of State and Commonwealth parliamentary service show a consistency on his part as to what constitute the fundamental issues. He has shown a concern about Commonwealth-State relations and constitutional reform which has led him to stress the need to bring the Australian Constitution into the twentieth century.

More than 20 years ago he spoke of the need to arrest the environmental devastation which industry was inflicting on our cities and countryside. His championing of the twin goals of peace and disarmament has won him enormous respect both within the Australian Labor movement and in the wider community. The concern which he has always voiced about young people and the quality of education in this country will, I know, be of particular relevance during 1985-the designated International Youth Year.

We are living in a time of rapid social change-a time when values and priorities are shifting, perhaps a little too fast for the comfort of many in our society. We have seen some disturbing figures during the last few days about the community's perception and knowledge of politics, politicians and our political institutions but it gives me and many of my colleagues great hope to see the emphasis which the honourable member for Scullin always places on maintaining the dignity of the proceedings in this House. Public perception of the integrity of this place rests not only on the legislative program of the government but also on the conduct of the House. During the Thirty-third Parliament the honourable member for Scullin furnished us with numerous examples of the way in which his respect for the role of Speaker invests the proceedings of this House with qualities which command the respect of the community at large.

Mr Clerk, the diligence, effectiveness and compassion with which the honourable member for Scullin carried out his duties as Speaker during the previous session of Parliament lead me to suggest that it would be in the interests of members on both sides of this House to elect Dr Jenkins for a second term in the certain knowledge that he will always conduct the business of the House with dignity and integrity. It is my pleasure to second the nomination.