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Thursday, 21 February 1985
Page: 14

Mr BRAITHWAITE(5.04) —It is a privilege for me to nominate Clarrie Millar. There was some confusion when I nominated Percival Clarence because that, of course, assumes a new member of the House. But when I mention Clarrie Millar he will be remembered with much affection and recognised very easily by honourable members as the man with the good haircut. In nominating Clarrie Millar as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker I do so in the confidence that Mr Millar would have the full support of our Opposition parties and certainly the respect of those members of the Government who, in opposition, were able to judge the fairness and impartiality of the honourable member when he presided as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker in the thirty-first and thirty-second Parliaments from 1977 to 1983. Mr Speaker, I believe it is imperative that the occupants of the two highest offices in this chamber-that is, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker-become creatures or servants of the whole chamber and not just one political branch of it. To be so elected through a contest within the House can only strengthen the hand and the authority of those Presiding Officers.

For those honourable members who might feel that my friendship with my fellow Queenslander, Clarrie, would make suspect my comments on his nomination, I would like to draw on certain references by distinguished ladies and gentlemen that were expressed in this House in 1983. For instance, the honourable member for Henty (Mrs Child), the nominee from the Government side, had this to say about the honourable member for Wide Bay:

The honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) occupied this office in the last Parliament and justifiably earned the respect of honourable members on both sides of the House.

Those were her words. I wish also to quote what the Special Minister of State (Mr Young) had to say:

I also say to Clarrie Millar: It is true, we on this side of the House had a great deal of respect for you while you were in the chair.

He went on to say:

I thought you were a glowing example . . .

I go to a higher authority, the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) himself, who on that occasion said:

I want him--

that is Mr Millar--

to know that we on this side of the House identify ourselves with all the laudatory comments that were made in respect of him by those nominating and supporting him. He is, in the best sense of the word, a real gentleman. He has both our respect and our affection.

These remarks leave little more for me to say. Mr Millar distinguished himself as the Chairman of Committees in two parliaments, and his rulings were always given through a thorough knowledge of the Standing Orders, common sense, his competence and his fairness. He would not be directed in what he should do in the chair by the political masters of this House. Mr Millar sought to maintain the dignity and reputation of this House by exercising that competence and fairness because, above all else, he has a firm belief in the Westminster system. In the proper traditions of Westminster, I ask supporters of the Government to consider carefully the nomination of Mr Millar. To have Clarrie Millar occupy the office of Chairman of Committees would demonstrate to all the people of Australia that this Thirty-fourth Parliament has commenced on the basis of recognising ability above political bias.