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Monday, 14 September 1987
Page: 23

Mr LEO McLEAY —At the outset, I wish to congratulate you, Madam Speaker, on your election as the Speaker of this House. In particular, I would like to thank you for the friendship that you have shown me in the last 18 months when I was your deputy. As you know very well, that is a friendship which is reciprocated very much. I thank my two friends the honourable member for St George (Mr Dubois) and the honourable member for Barton (Mr Punch), who nominated me, for the nice things that they said. I also thank the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Donald Cameron) for ensuring my re-election. I also thank the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard) and the Leader of the National Party of Australia (Mr Sinclair) for their words.

It was interesting to hear a number of honourable members speak this morning about the late Bill Snedden's idea of a Speaker taking the life of a parliament. One might need to correct history a little in view of the fact that some of this morning's speakers forgot to mention that Bill Snedden said that, if the government of the day of which the speakers this morning were members had adopted his proposal, he would not have stood for that position. Perhaps those who said this morning that they thought a Speaker should take the life of a parliament should have taken that up at the time when they were part of the Executive Government and had a majority in this House. I thank the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Millar) for the assistance he has been to me as the Chairman of Committees in the last 18 months. Clarrie Millar has been of great assistance in advising both me and the Deputy Chairman of Committees and I hope to be able to rely upon his advice in the future. I hope that he will be one of my Deputy Chairmen over the next three years.

I thank the House for the honour it has paid my constituents and me because the electorate of Grayndler, as my two nominators said, is probably one of the poorer electorates in Australia. For a person who came from such a background to hold the office of Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives is important to me and to many of the people who live in the electorate I grew up in. I know they see it as an honour that their member of parliament has held the office for 18 months and will hold it for the next three years. I have enjoyed the last 18 months, Madam Speaker, and I know you have enjoyed the last 18 months as Speaker. When we were elected to our positions 18 months ago we both said that we would be fair and firm. I reiterate, particularly to the honourable member for Moreton, that I intend to be fair and firm.

The honourable member for Moreton fills a very useful role in this House, as did his predecessor. One of the problems with the national Parliament at present is that there are not many members left who can stand up and make a very outrageous speech and then come up to one later and say, `I did not really mean it, mate'-they believe it and you believe it-and one can shake hands. Jim Killen could do that and the current honourable member for Moreton has learned that art quite well, though I think tomorrow I will read Hansard to check whether I do really forgive him for most of the things that he said.

I thank the House once again for the honour it has paid my constituents and me. It is very gratifying to me as well to have my family sitting in the gallery. I do not know what nine-year-old boys, such as my youngest son, think of the shenanigans of the honourable member for Moreton. Maybe his is the sort of act that we need to clean up here in order to bring a little more decorum into the House. I thank everyone very much. Madam Speaker, I thank you once again for your friendship and loyalty and assure you of my friendship and loyalty. I think that we will make a reasonable duo for the next three years.