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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3060

Mr YATES (Holt) -This is a matter of great parliamentary significance and with your leave, Mr Speaker, I should like to ask one question of you.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable gentleman may proceed.

Mr YATES - The critics of the proposal which this committee will examine have suggested that once Mr Speaker takes the chair he should remain in the chair parliament after parliament. This generalisation which has been made must be wrong. It is well understood that you, Mr Speaker have 'but the eyes to see and the ears to hear what the House doth command'. Therefore if the House does not choose the person who thinks he is going to be Speaker but selects another member to take the chair, that is the prerogative of the House. That prerogative cannot be overruled and must never be overruled. There is no prescriptive right for a Speaker to remain in the chair. It is the prescriptive right of all honourable members to choose their Speaker. I think the national Press made a mistake in relation to this matter and I should like your views as soon as possible because it is so important. It is the overriding factor in the whole issue.

Mr SPEAKER -I do not propose to permit debate on this matter at this stage. I did not interrapt the honourable gentleman because he has served in the House of Commons under the Westminster system. What he says is correct. I expect the committee to report to me and, through me, to the House. I think the committee will put in clear terms that the service of the Speaker is for the period during which the House supports him but that his appointment should be for about five to seven years.

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