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Wednesday, 2 March 1904

Sir FREDERICK HOLDER (Wakefield) - I submit myself to the will of the House.

Members of the House calling Sir Frederick Holder, he was taken out of his place by Mr. Deakin and Mr. Reid, and conducted to the Chair.

Then Mr. SPEAKER-ELECT, standing on the upper step, said - May I say that I feel very deeply the honour which has been conferred upon me in the House once more calling me to occcupy this extremely important position. When last I was chosen to fill this Chair very few honorable members knew much of me. Their disposition must have been that of hopefulness. To-day I have been once more chosen, but this time by the will and by the voice of those who have some knowledge of what I have done in the office of Speaker. I feel, therefore, that the action taken to-day is even a greater compliment to me than that of three years ago. I can only hope that, with the aid of individual members, and of all parties in the House, I may be able to raise the tone of debate and the reputation of the Chamber to such a level that they may compare favourably with those of any Parlliament in any part of the world. If by our co-operation we can secure the attainment of that result and its maintenance I think we shall have done somewhat for the country we love so well. I need only say, further, that I hope every member, and especially those who are now entering for the first time upon parliamentary life, will ever feel that I am the friend of honorable members. Irrespective of the question which may be under consideration, every honorable member has the right to seek from me such help as may be available in, the preparation of questions for the House, in accordance with the rules laid down by and the practice under our Standing Orders, and. I shall be pleased at all times to facilitate the work of any honorable member in that direction. I tender my most hearty thanks to the honorable the Prime Minister, to the right honorable the leader of the Opposition, and to honorable members generally-.

Mr. DEAKIN(Ballarat- Minister for External Affairs). - Mr. Speaker, it becomes my privilege to address you for the first time by your official title in this Parliament, and desire to congratulate you upon the splendid unanimity with which you have been called to your position. As you have pointed out, your choice by former members of this House was not based upon knowledge. After three years' experience we all share the conviction that the great rights and privileges of Parliament which are to a large extent intrusted to the Speaker could not be placed in better hands. Whilst felicitating you, I feel that congratulation is really due to the House, which has done honour to itself by the choice which it has made in again placing you in the position of the First Commoner of the Commonwealth.

Mr. REID(East Sydney).- I also heartily congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, upon your re-election to your high and honorable office. If I may be permitted to make one more observation I should like, without any disparagement of Speakers of other Legislative bodies to say that as a rather old Parliamentary hand I have especially admired the way in which you, whilst wisely administering the rules of the House, have exercised greater severity towards old offenders like myself than towards younger members.

Mr. WATSON(Bland).- I need add nothing to what has already been stated, beyond congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, and assuring you of the earnest support of every member of the 'labour party in any step that may be considered necessary to maintain the dignity of Parliament.

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